BEIJING – China urged Turkey on Tuesday to stop its military offensive in northern Syria.
“China consistently opposes the use of force in international relations. Sovereignty and territorial integrity should be upheld and respected,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang told reporters.
Geng asked Turkey to “come back to the right track of political settlement.”
“We believe all parties should honestly abide by the principles of UN Charter and basic norms governing international relations and seek political-diplomatic settlement of issues under the framework of international law,” the spokesperson said.
Turkey launched a military operation in northern Syria last week after the United States, an ally of Kurdish militia People’s Protection Units (YPG), in the war against Islamic State militants, announced its withdrawal from the area.
Turkey considers the Kurdish militia group a terrorist organization.
The Kurdish leadership in the area reached agreement over the weekend with the government in Damascus led by President Bashar al-Assad that will see the Syrian army enter the region to counter the Turkish offensive.
According to the state-run news agency Anadolu, Turkish troops and Ankara’s allies reinforced their presence in Yarabulus – west of the Euphrates river – which is under Turkish control since 2016.
The area is located some 40 km (nearly 25 miles) from Manbij, where Assad has deployed his troops.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed that he would continue with the plan of taking control of the northeastern border of Syria, including Manbij, a bridgehead of the Kurdish militia west of the Euphrates.
The United States on Monday announced a series of sanctions on Turkey, including a 50 percent tariff hike on Turkish steel. However, Ankara has not responded to the impositions so far.