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Australia must not turn its back on Syrian Kurds

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 9 Oct 2019

The Australian Government must use every diplomatic means at its disposal to insure that Turkey does not invade Kurdish-controlled Rojava in Syria following President Donald Trump's latest erratic and dangerous foreign policy decision, said Leader of the Australian Greens Dr Richard Di Natale.  

"Any invasion of Kurdish-controlled areas by Turkish forces could displace hundreds of thousands of people and would almost certainly trigger a humanitarian crisis in one of the most stable and secure parts of Syria. Syrians have suffered enough," Di Natale said. 

"The Kurdish people have put their lives on the line to help defeat ISIS. They have helped the Yazidi people escape genocide. President Trump's dangerous and erratic decision, enacted apparently with no foresight or consideration of the consequences, is an act of callous betrayal.

"Kurds have been persecuted across the Middle East: in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. To abandon them now, while Turkish President Erdogan has made it clear that he intends to attack them given the chance, would be a disgrace and against our strategic interests.

"We know that Erdogan intends to settle ethnic Syrian refugees in these Kurdish areas once they've been removed, which would be an act of ethnic cleansing. 

"Scott Morrison's Government also has a responsibility to look after Australian citizens who have been left to languish in camps inside Syria, more than 40 of whom are children, mostly under the age of 5. The window to safely move and repatriate them is limited. 

"This is yet another erratic and dangerous decision taken by President Trump with no forethought or appreciation of the consequences. Further proof that Australia needs to chart our own indepedent, non-aligned foreign policy instead of following a dangerous U.S. president, consequences be damned."

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