Dominic Raab 121019 CREDIT PA
Syria

Foreign Secretary Calls On Turkey To Show 'Maximum Restraint'

Dominic Raab warned the incursion is weakening the fight against IS in Syria.

Dominic Raab 121019 CREDIT PA

Dominic Raab made the comments during a NATO Parliamentary Assembly in London (Picture: PA).

The Foreign Secretary has called on Turkey to show "maximum restraint" as its air and ground offensive in Syria enters its fourth day.

Dominic Raab warned the incursion weakens the fight against so-called Islamic State (IS) and risks worsening the region's humanitarian crisis. 

The United Nations says 100,000 people in north-east Syria have fled their homes. 

Meanwhile, reports say at least 11 civilians have died and dozens of fighters from both sides have been killed.

Speaking at the 65th NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Westminster, Mr Raab said: "Our position is crystal clear. This incursion is wrong.

"We want to see maximum restraint, and avoid taking our eye off the ball with Daesh (IS)."

Smoke rises from the Syrian city of Ras al Ain following an attack from Turkey 101019 CREDIT PA
Turkey claims it has taken control of the border town Ras al-Ain (Picture: PA).

Turkey views Kurdish forces in the region as terrorists.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) played a leading role alongside US troops in defeating IS in Syria earlier this year. 

But the controversial withdrawal of US troops from the area prompted the Turkish offensive.

A Turkish representative at the NATO assembly reiterated that the operation is "not an invasion" but a "counter-terror operation".

However, Mr Raab disagreed and said it is "weakening the overarching counter-terrorism goal of countering Daesh".

He also said the UK is "very concerned we're taking our eye off the ball".

Royal Air Force Typhoon arrives at RAF Akrotiri in support of OP Shader
British fighter jets targeted IS militants in Syria as part of a coalition of nations, including the US.

The UK also played an important role in defeating IS in Syria, with RAF fighter jets based in Cyprus flying nearly daily missions over the country. 

There are concerns that the fighting in the north-east could lead to the escape of IS prisoners and a resurgence in the extremist group. 

Mr Raab's comments for "maximum restraint" echo those made by the NATO Secretary General earlier this week. 

During a visit to Istanbul, Jens Stoltenberg also urged Turkey to "act with restraint" and to "avoid any unilateral actions that may further destabilise the region and escalate tensions".