Merkel strongly condemns Turkish military offensive in Afrin

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a speech to parliament on March 21, 2018 at the Bundestag (lower house of parliament) in Berlin. Merkel outlined her government's plans a week after being sworn in for a fourth term following six months of political standstill. Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday sharply criticized an ongoing Turkish military offensive in the northern Syrian town of Afrin, describing it as unacceptable.

Speaking to lawmakers in the Bundestag’s lower house, Merkel said Turkey’s actions in Afrin were unacceptable despite its security interests.

“I’m also condemning this in the strongest terms,” she added.

The German chancellor had also earlier said she condemned the airstrikes on eastern Ghouta by Syrian forces “in the strongest terms.”

The Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin against the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey sees as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Turkey is being criticized for targeting civilians in Afrin and forcing thousands of residents to move out of the city.

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