The Republic of Cyprus is deeply concerned over the continuing Turkish military operations in Afrin, northern Syria, and, the reports of a high civilian death toll, arbitrary arrests and incidents of looting inside the city of Afrin.
During the last days, the majority of the population of the city of Afrin, which is predominantly Kurdish in population, has been evacuated under threat of attack from Turkish military forces. This adds to the already dire humanitarian situation in the area, with United Nations agencies reporting a displaced population in or from Afrin district in the hundreds of thousands.
UNSCR 2401, which calls for a nationwide cessation of hostilities throughout Syria for at least 30 days has to be fully and immediately implemented by Turkey, along with full respect of international humanitarian law and human rights law. Access for international humanitarian organizations, urgent delivery of humanitarian assistance to the displaced persons and their safe and voluntary return to their homes in the city of Afrin must be ensured as a matter of urgency.
The Republic of Cyprus reiterates its strong condemnation for the illegal Turkish invasion in Afrin in north-western Syria which only aims at enforcing Ankara’s geopolitical agenda in the region through military force. Cyprus stresses the need for respect of the territorial integrity, unity, independence and sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic.
The Syrian crisis cannot be resolved by military means. Only a Syrian-led political solution, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and in the framework of the Geneva process, will ensure peace, security and stability in Syria.