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UN Divided Fails to Agree on Turkey’s Offensive in Syria

UNITED NATIONS – The divided UN Security Council failed to agree on a Turkish offensive in north-eastern Syria. The Europeans called for a halt to military action and the Syrian ally, Russia, called for “restraint” and “direct dialogue”.
The five members of the European Council who called the meeting in camera would have liked its 15 members to agree on a statement on the Turkish offensive, launched after President Donald Trump had suddenly withdrawn US forces from the northeast.
The United States has proposed a statement expressing “deep concern”, calling for the protection of civilians, and calling on Turkey to go through diplomatic channels rather than taking military action, Council diplomats said anonymously, as the consultations are private.
But US Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters that any statement by the Security Council must take into account other aspects of the Syrian crisis, not just the Turkish operation, and demand an immediate end to ” the illegal military presence “in the country.
The Europeans therefore issued their own statement after the meeting, calling on Turkey “to put an end to unilateral military action”. They said the offensive threatened the progress made by a global coalition against the group of Islamic extremist states, undermined the stability of the region and exacerbated the “suffering of the civilian population”.
Turkey says it is targeting Kurdish fighters, who have fought alongside US forces to carry the Islamic State extremist group from northern Syria.
The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan considers the Kurds as “terrorists” allied with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, banned by Turkey.
US Ambassador Kelly Craft said Mr. Trump “has amply explained that” the United States “has by no means” endorsed Turkey’s decision to mount a military incursion into the north-east of Syria.
She told reporters that the Turkish president had stressed to the Turkish government that he assumed “full responsibility” for the protection of Kurds and religious minorities, and to ensure that IS fighters remain in prison and that the extremist group is not reconstituting itself.
Craft stressed that “the failure of Turkey will have consequences”.
The council meeting again demonstrated the inability of the most powerful body in the United States to deal with the Syrian conflict, which has lasted more than eight years and has claimed more than 400,000 lives.
The declaration of the members of the European Council (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium and Poland), joined by Estonia, which will join the Council in January, was very similar to the EU declaration published on Wednesday.
In its statement, the Council also called for the protection of civilians and stated that “it is unlikely that a so-called” security zone “in north-east Syria, as envisaged by Turkey, meets the requirements of international criteria governing the return of refugees,” adding that “any attempt at demographic change would be unacceptable.”
Nebenzia described the Turkish operation as “the result of demographic engineering by some coalition partners in north-eastern Syria”.
“We have warned them (for a long time) not to experiment with this, and not to try to consider the Arab tribes who originally lived in this region as Kurds,” he said. “And now, the Kurds are reaping the fruits of their demographic policies in this part of Syria.”
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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