Russia blocks UN text demanding halt to Turkish op in Syria

Published 12.10.2019 00:03
Updated 12.10.2019 00:55
Russia blocks UN text demanding halt to Turkish op in Syria

Russia on Friday blocked a U.N. Security Council statement calling on Turkey to halt its military operation in northeastern Syria, diplomats told AFP.

The U.S.-drafted text had been due to be adopted at 1930 GMT, but Moscow intervened to stop it, one of the sources said.

China followed Russia in halting the procedure in its tracks, a diplomat added, requesting anonymity.

The initial version of the text, proposed by the United States following a divisive Security Council meeting on Thursday, had called for Ankara "to return to diplomacy for security reasons."

But the language in the final draft was hardened to call for a stop to the operation following arguments made by concerned Security Council members over the past 24 hours.

"The members of the Security Council expressed deep concern over the Turkish military operation and its implications, including humanitarian and security dimensions," the blocked statement was to say.

"They call upon Turkey to halt its military operation and to make full use of diplomatic channels to address its security concerns," it would have added.

The Russian diplomatic mission to the U.N. had asked for until Friday to consult Moscow before reporting back on whether they would support the statement or not.

Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring, the third in a series of cross-border anti-terror operations in northern Syria targeting terrorists affiliated with Daesh and the PKK's Syrian offshoot the People's Protection Units (YPG), on October 9 at 4 p.m.

The operation, conducted in line with the country's right to self-defense borne out of international law and U.N. Security Council resolutions, aims to establish a terror-free safe zone for Syrians return in the area east of the Euphrates River controlled by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by YPG terrorists.

The PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years, resulting in the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

Turkey has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates in northern Syria, pledging military action to prevent the formation of a "terrorist corridor" there.

Since 2016, Turkey's Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northwestern Syria have liberated the region from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for nearly 400,000 Syrians who fled the violence to return home.

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