“Protect those who protected us” – unions demand action in Syria

The general secretaries of twelve UK trade unions have written to the Prime Minister, demanding he protects the Kurds from invading Turkish forces.

Following US President Donald Trump withdrawing US troops from the area, Turkish troops have moved in and have launched an assault on Kurdish-held areas of Northern Syria. There are reports of heavy fighting and civilian deaths.

The letter, which was also sent to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, has been signed by the general secretaries of Unite, GMB, CWU, PCS, ASLEF, TSSA, NEU, Usdaw, RMT, Prospect, BFAWU, EIS, as well as the general secretary of the GFTU and chief executive of Thompsons’ Solicitors.

It reads:

“Dear Prime Minister,

“We are writing in relation to last Sunday’s appalling announcement by President Trump that he intends to immediately withdraw US troops from Syria. This is a green-light to a Turkish military invasion of North and East Syria, which, as we have already seen in Afrin, will undoubtedly lead to ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Kurds as well as a resurgence of ISIS.

“The international community owes the Syrian Democratic Forces a debt for their sacrifice in stopping and defeating ISIS and building peace and stability in the region, they are our friends and allies.

“We therefore call on the UK government to immediately condemn Turkey’s threats of invasion and to work with the international community to deploy an international force and enforce a No-Fly Zone to prevent the imminent catastrophe and protect civilian lives.

“If the Turkish invasion is not stopped the SDF will be forced into a long and bitter war for survival against the second-largest NATO army. In the resulting chaos tens of thousands of ISIS fighters will escape their current internment and resume their barbaric acts of terror across the globe.

“We demand that the UK government take action to prevent an invasion of North and East Syria by Turkey and protect the very people who have protected us.

“Given the gravity of the situation we would appreciate an immediate response.” 

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