Joint Media Release - Statement on northeastern Syria

Media release
10 Oct 2019
Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Women

The Australian Government is deeply troubled by Turkey’s unilateral military operation into northeastern Syria.

Actions of this nature will have grave consequences for regional security and could significantly undermine the gains made by the international coalition in its fight against Da’esh, which remains a serious threat to regional peace and security despite its territorial defeat.

It will cause additional civilian suffering, lead to greater population displacement, and further inhibit humanitarian access.

While Turkey has legitimate domestic security concerns, unilateral cross-border military action will not solve these concerns.

We have expressed this view directly to the Turkish Government.

The Government remains in close contact with our US, European, Middle East and other allies and security partners, including through our Embassies and other officials.

We urge restraint and call on all parties to the conflict in Syria to avoid escalatory or opportunistic actions that cause further instability and humanitarian suffering.

The Australian Government notes that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been steadfast partners for the international Coalition in the fight against Da’esh, and have borne a significant share of the sacrifice.

They have also helped the international community by providing security support at Internally Displaced Persons camps.

The full implications of the Turkish military operation on these camps and the people residing in them are difficult to assess at this early stage and will depend, in part, on subsequent actions taken by Turkey and the Kurds.

The Government remains concerned for the Australians in these camps but, as we have previously stated, the situation is dangerous and unpredictable, and we will not put Australian officials and the public in danger.