Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Questions (52)

Seán Crowe


52. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to attacks by Turkey on civilians in northern Syria (details supplied); and if his Department is providing humanitarian assistance in the area. [46429/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Ireland is deeply troubled by Turkey’s unilateral military action in Syria, which has severely destabilised the region. I am particularly concerned about the humanitarian impact of the action and the further displacements of civilian populations that have been and continue to occur as a result.

The Turkish incursion has had severe consequences for civilian infrastructure, and hospitals and medical facilities in north-eastern Syria have been severely affected. Ireland’s primary concern is the safety and well-being of civilians. All parties to the conflict must ensure respect for the principles of international humanitarian law and to allow full access for humanitarian workers.

I am concerned by reports of alleged use of white phosphorus weapons by Turkish-aligned forces. While incendiary weapons, including white phosphorus, are not considered under international law to be chemical weapons, they are prohibited for use against civilian populations under Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. Ireland condemns any such use in the strongest possible terms and calls on all States who have not already done so to accede to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, and to all of its Protocols.

Ireland is a strong and consistent donor to the Syria crisis response. In March 2019, Ireland pledged a further €25 million to the crisis, bringing our total amount of humanitarian assistance to over €143 million since 2012 – our largest ever response to any single crisis.

Ireland is working with existing partners on the ground in north-east Syria and other areas to provide humanitarian support based on immediate needs. In the last month we have made two payments to projects in areas that have received the highest proportion of displaced persons. One of these areas is in northeast Syria, and another in Iraq, to which over 14,000 Syrians have fled. These projects supplement support already being provided by Ireland through our UN and NGO partners in the region.