In the civil war that has engulfed Syria for the last decade, one group has been resolute in standing up to, and subsequently defeating, the militants of Daesh and Al-Qaeda. They have been loyal allies of the West, doing much of the fighting, and have lost around 12,000 of their number in the process.

This group is the Kurds. Inside Syria, they have established a home region which, by the standards of the region, has peace and respect for human rights.

However, the Kurds are hated by the Turkish government, which views them as terrorists. Following President Trump’s appalling decision to pull out US troops from the border region, Turkey’s dictatorial President Erdogan grasped the opportunity to attack the Kurds by invading Syria.

So what has the West done to help its former allies? Almost nothing. Turkey has heavy weapons and air power - as a member of NATO, it has been supplied with sophisticated modern weapons.

The Kurds face annihilation, and already evidence of Turkish forces carrying out executions is surfacing. Direct military intervention is unlikely and dangerous, but the West should impose immediate crippling sanctions and diplomatic pressure on Turkey to force it to end its assault. Otherwise, the Kurds may turn to Russia for help, with all the risks that brings.

Anything less will send a simple message from the West to the world: we’ll be your friends while you’re useful to us - after that, you’re on your own.

Cllr Tony Fisher,

Liberal Democrat member for Strensall ward,

West End, Strensall, York