National News

Australia has 'deep concerns' about Syria


Australia has expressed "deep and profound" concerns about Turkey launching a military incursion into Syria.

Turkey has begun its attack on northeastern Syria, launching a large scale airstrike and ground offensive against Kurdish targets in the region.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been in direct contact with the Turkish and United States governments overnight and on Thursday morning about the issue.

He holds concerns about what Turkey's actions mean for the safety of people in the area, and a potential return of Islamic State.

"We are also very concerned about what this could potentially mean for the Kurdish people ... (and) for the potential for the resurgence of Daesh," he told reporters in Sydney.

"We will be working through all diplomatic channels, working with our colleagues, whether in Europe or the United States or elsewhere ... to closely monitor these developments, get some clear understanding of the situation on the ground, and consider what possible international responses there are to these issues."

Mr Morrison has defended Donald Trump over the contentious withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria, which paved the way for the Turkish incursion.

The US president has been accused of leaving Kurdish allies exposed to attacks from Turkish forces, who consider them terrorists.

But Mr Morrison insists the American action doesn't amount to a betrayal or lead him to question its trustworthiness as an ally.

"Let's be clear: it is the Turkish government that is taking action here to create an unstable situation," he said.

"They're the ones who are actually deploying and seeking to walk across the border and to take actions in another nation-state.

"It is the actions of the Turkish government that concerns Australia very seriously."

© AAP 2019