European, Turkish leaders agree on fighting terror 'in all its forms'

European, Turkish leaders agree on fighting terror
# 04 December 2019 00:35 (UTC +04:00)

Turkish, German, French, and British leaders agreed on Tuesday to continue the fight against terrorism in "all its forms," while helping refugees return voluntarily to Syria, said a statement from the British Prime Minister's office, APA reports citing Anadolu Agency.

"The leaders said they would work to create the conditions for the safe, voluntary and sustainable return of refugees [in Syria] and that the fight must be continued against terrorism in all its forms," said the statement by a 10 Downing Street spokesperson following a quartet meeting of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the host.

The leaders discussed the situation in Syria, Libya, and counter-terrorism issues, as well as the broad strategic, economic and defense partnerships between their countries, and agreed on further deepening these, including through NATO, the statement said.

During the meeting, the four leaders agreed that the humanitarian access -- including across the border -- must be ensured in Syria.

They also agreed that a UN needs assessment "should form the basis for getting aid" to people in need in northeastern Syria, the site of Turkish anti-terror operation launched in October.

In launching the operation, Turkey is seeking to rid the region of YPG/PKK terrorists so a safe zone can be created to pave the way for the safe return of some 2 million refugees. Turkey has urged Western leaders to support the operation as well as to help the refugee resettlement through aid.

The statement added that they found common ground on stopping all attacks on civilians in Syria, including those in Idlib, an opposition stronghold in northern Syria, and extended their support to the Syrian Constitutional Committee process and the importance of the UN Security Council Resolution 2254 framework, which calls for calls for a cease-fire and political settlement in Syria.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have been killed and millions more displaced by the conflict.

Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.


On Libya, the leaders reiterated their support for Special UN Envoy Ghassan Salamé “to move forward a Libyan-owned political process, facilitated by the United Nations and supported by the Berlin Format," the statement said.

Since the ouster of late leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya, one being in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and another in Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.