In the backdrop of Ankara vehemently opposing the developments in Jammu and Kashmir and siding with Pakistan, India today issued an unusually strong statement against Turkey over its military offensive in north-Eastern Syria.

“We are deeply concerned at the unilateral military offensive by Turkey in north-East Syria. Turkey’s actions can undermine stability in the fight against terrorism. Its action has the potential for causing humanitarian and civilian distress,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

New Delhi called upon Turkey to exercise restraint and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. “We urge the peaceful settlement of all issues through dialogue and discussion,” the statement added.

On Wednesday, Turkish jets and artillery targeted Kurdish-controlled areas in Syria, forcing thousands of civilians to flee their homes.

India has been upset with Turkey for protesting against India’s decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution in J&K. Turkish President Recept Tayyib Erodgan raised the Kashmir issue during his speech at the UN General Assembly recently.

“India and Turkey are friendly countries. We, therefore, deeply regret that since 6 August, there have been repeated statements by the Government of Turkey on a matter completely internal to India,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had stated last week.