EU calls on Turkey to halt military action in Syria

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European Union officials have called on Turkey to halt its military action in Syria after Turkish forces shelled positions held by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) over the weekend.

Responding to a question on the announcement made by Turkey and Saudi Arabia that they could intervene in Syria, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Feb. 15 that Ankara’s actions violated the decision reached on Feb. 12 in Munich to reach a “cessation of hostilities.”

“Only a few days ago, all of us, including Turkey … decided on steps to de-escalate and have a cessation of hostilities,” Mogherini said Feb. 15 in Brussels.

“Having trends on the ground that go in the opposite direction obviously is not what we expect,” Mogherini said.

Turkey’s army shelled Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) targets, the military wing of the PYD, which Ankara has dubbed as a terrorist organization on the grounds that it is an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), after the group seized an air base north of Aleppo, further complicating the conflict on NATO-member Turkey’s southern border.

Washington, which does not see the YPG as terrorists, backs the group in the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and a row has been simmering between Turkey and the U.S. over the different designation of the group.

Meanwhile, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders, whose country holds the EU’s rotating presidency, said “we have the plan for a cessation of hostilities and I think everybody has to abide by that,” the Associated Press reported.

Asked about Russia’s remarks that they were in a new Cold War with the West and what that meant for the EU, Mogherini said, “I have not seen a climate of Cold War in these last days.”

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