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Canada condemns Turkish military incursion in northern Syria as destabilizing

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland delivers a statement while entering a cabinet meeting in Sherbrooke, Que. on January 17, 2019. Canada has joined its major allies in firmly condemning Turkey's military incursion into northern Syria.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

OTTAWA — Canada has joined its major allies in firmly condemning Turkey’s military incursion into northern Syria.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland made Canada’s position clear in a series of late-afternoon tweets, saying the unilateral action by Turkey risks rolling back the progress against militants affiliated with the Islamic State, also known as Daesh.

Turkey’s military action is targeting Kurdish forces, and comes after U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly decided Sunday that American troops would not interfere in it — a radical shift in American foreign policy.

Trump’s decision drew widespread condemnation because it was widely seen as abandonment of the Syrian Kurdish fighters that have been America’s sole allies in Syria fighting the Islamic State group.

Trump has since called the military action a “bad idea” by Turkey, while Germany and the European Union, among others, have also criticized it.

Canadian Forces troops used to train Kurdish security forces in neighbouring Iraq, but have shifted focus to leading the NATO training mission for Iraqi state security forces, a commitment that extends to 2021.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 9, 2019.

The Canadian Press