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The European Union (EU) and its member states have expressed their concerns over Turkey’s ongoing incursion into northeast Syria. With the military operation named Peace Spring[1], Turkey declared that it aims at eliminating the terrorist threat to Turkey’s southern borders; creating a safe zone to ensure that Syrian refugees return to their home countries; and protecting the territorial integrity of Syria.

Both EU representatives[2] as well as European national governments [3] are alarmed that the EU might become a victim of US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from northern Syria, thus allowing Turkey to send its armed forces across the border to create a self-declared “safe zone”[4].

However, it is very difficult to get the European concerns straight. On the one hand, the EU and its member states are in opinion that western military presence in northern Syria would be beneficial to EU’s security. On the other hand, neither the EU capitals at large nor the EU itself seem very determined to deploy a European military mission on the ground.

Putting aside EU’s externalization of its own security concerns to other regional and global actors in Syria, there is no doubt that the EU will suffer the consequences if violence in northern Syria intensifies again. Therefore, it is practically pointless for the EU to blame US President Donald Trump when he states[5] that the Europeans must assume more responsibility.

 

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[1] https://thedefensepost.com/2019/10/09/turkey-operation-peace-spring-syria-sdf/

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5GbmLLedEU

[3] https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-sanctions-against-turkey-on-the-table-france-syria/

[4] https://www.aa.com.tr/en/energy/energy-security/turkey-us-launch-joint-work-on-safe-zone-in-n-syria/26146

[5] https://www.clingendael.org/sites/default/files/2018-01/Report_Trumps_Impact_on_European_Security.pdf

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