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The situation of Kurds in Kobane

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Commenting on the fighting against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria, citizens called on the EU to help the civilians and threatened minorities. In particular, they were concerned about the situation of the Kurds in Kobane, criticizing the ambiguous position of Turkey.

The European Parliament on 22 October 2014 held a debate in its plenary session about the situation in the Syrian city of Kobane. Many MEPs said that Turkey should do more to help Kurds fight off the IS threat in this city.

The situation of Kurds in Kobane

IS assault on Kobani ©BELGAIMAGE/Eyevine/H. Sari Xinhua

The President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, met a number of Kurdish protestors in Brussels on 7 October 2014. Following the meeting he stated that “I fully shared their concern for the situation of civilian populations in Syria and Iraq and specifically on the situation in the border town of Kobane in Syria. I reiterated the support of the European Parliament for the international coalition fighting against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.”

Moreover, on 18 September 2014, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the situation in Iraq and Syria, and the IS offensive, including the persecution of minorities, in which it “expresses its support for all victims of religious intolerance and hatred”. At the same time, the Parliament “welcomes the EU’s humanitarian assistance to Iraq and Syria; calls for additional humanitarian support for the populations affected by the conflict, including the Syrian Kurds” and it also “calls on Turkey to clearly and unambiguously commit itself to countering the common security threat posed by IS.” Additionally, it “calls on those Member States which are providing military material to the Kurdish regional authorities to coordinate their efforts and to implement effective monitoring measures in order to prevent uncontrolled dissemination and the use of military material against civilians”. A European Parliament press release summarises the resolution.

On behalf of the European Parliament, its President Martin Schulz had previously firmly condemned the terror and violence spread by the Islamic State (IS) across Iraq and the Middle East on 11 August 2014.

EU humanitarian aid

The conflict in Syria has not only posed a threat to the region’s stability in recent years, but it has also had a terrible human cost. By September 2014, 10.8 million Syrians were in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the European Commission. The EU has been deeply concerned about the situation from its beginning.

The EU and the member states are the region’s largest donor, having allocated more than €2.9 billion in funding to help relieve the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

Updates on EU’s actions and initiatives

The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) has published several analyses on related topics, such as Iraq: fate of the Yezidi community, Iraq: towards an independent Kurdistan and EU, the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

The website of the European External Action Service (EEAS) provides regularly updated information on declarations and decisions at European level concerning Syria, Iraq and Turkey.

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About Ask EP

The Citizens' Enquiries Unit provides information on the activities, powers and organisation of the European Parliament. You ask, we answer.

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