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Spain has become the only European country to continue giving military support to Turkey's operations in north-eastern Syria, maintaining missile units in the region while the Turks conducted Operation Peace Spring, affecting Kurdish forces and civilians in particular.

Madrid has confirmed the operation via a tweet from the army's General Staff, stating that "Operation Support for Turkey continues to protect the people of Adana 24-7 with the XI #PATRIOT Contingent".

The origin of the operation

On 9th October last year, Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the start of Operation Peace Spring, a military operation in northern Syria. Just prior to that, on October 6th, the Trump administration had ordered the withdrawal of US troops from northeastern Syria, where the United States had been supporting its Kurdish allies in the war against the Islamic State.

The Turkish operation was condemned by the European Union, the Arab League, Iran, Israel, India and the United Kingdom as an attack on the borders of a sovereign state, and an irresponsible and destabilizing action which had "potentially terrible" humanitarian consequences.

Spain has had its Patriot anti-ballistic missiles stationed at Adana, in the south of Turkey, since the beginning of 2015. Turkish foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu recently said Spain was a "true friend" to Turkey for maintaining its military support while other nations have withdrawn.

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