Reports on use of foreign fighters by Turkey in the Karabakh conflict a source of deep concern – Italian MP

The news about the alleged use of foreign fighters by Turkey in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a source of deep concern. All the more so if this practice, if confirmed, is used against another Member State of the Council of Europe, said Alvise Maniero, Head of the Italian Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

“Some Member States reported that they had reliable information about the transfer of hundreds of Syrian and Turkmen militiamen from Northern Syria to support Azerbaijan’s war operations in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Among these militiamen there are also reportedly members of terrorist formations, such as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and other armed groups active in northern Syria, such as Firqat al-Sultan Murad and Firqat al-Hamza. Fighters of the latter groups have allegedly been used by Turkey in the Libyan conflict, too. We cannot allow this pattern to be repeated in Nagorno-Karabakh,” stated Maniero.

“The use of mercenaries, if confirmed, would mark an unacceptable escalation of the conflict in a theatre already characterized by a tragic situation for the civilian population: the implications could be devastating, not only at regional level. Furthermore, the relocation of Islamist foreign fighters would pose further security problems to the stability of the Caucasus region, already affected in the past by Islamist terror attacks.

Therefore, concluded Maniero, not only should we call upon the international community to check the reliability of these reports, but it is necessary that the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the United Nations, within the framework of their respective roles, undertake to initiate a new path of pacification for a conflict that has been going on for too many decades. I also wish for a peaceful solution to be found within the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.”

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