Middle East

Russia, US Veto European Statement on Turkey’s Syria Action

Russian and the United States have used their veto power at the United Nations Security Council to vote down a European statement against Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria.

The council held a closed meeting on Thursday to discuss Ankara’s military incursion, which began on Wednesday despite widespread warnings by world leaders.

Moscow and Washington had their own reasons to veto the statement by five European members — France, Germany, Belgium, Britain and Poland — who had called the meeting to end the bilateral military action.

In a joint statement after the discussions, the European called on Ankara “to cease the unilateral military action,” warning that the offensive threatens progress.

Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said his country would only support UNSC motions that address broader issues, including the presence of foreign forces in Syria.

US Ambassador Kelly Craft, on the other hand, told reporters that as US President Donald Trump “has made it clear” Washington does not “in any way” endorse Turkey’s actions.

Later in the day, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar spoke with his French counterpart Florence Parly, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and UK Defense Minister Ben Wallace over phone to fill them in on the latest developments.

The UNSC meeting came a day after Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring, its third in a series of cross-border operations in northern Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims that the offensive only targeted militants affiliated with Daesh as well as the Kurdish militia called People’s Protection Units (YPG) in order to establish a Turkish safe-region there.

Ankara says the YPG is effectively the military of wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The YPG also forms the backbone of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which has much of northern Syria under control.

Turkey, according of Erdogan, is trying to establish a safe zone in order to resettle millions of refugees in there.

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