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UN Security Council to discuss Syria crisis, Turkish incursion

UN Security Council to discuss Syria crisis, Turkish incursion

United Nations: The UN Security Council will today discuss the worsening humanitarian crisis in Syria after Turkey launched an offensive against Kurdish militias, diplomats said.

The council was already scheduled to meet to hear a report from UN aid chief Mark Lowcock on his recent visit to Syria.
At France’s request, the closed-door consultations will also touch on the Syrian campaign in Idlib and Eastern Ghouta, as well as the latest Turkish offensive, diplomats said yesterday.

Turkey on Saturday launched operation “Olive Branch” to oust the Kurdish fighters of the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) from the Afrin region of northern Syria.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said France was deeply worried by the “brutal degradation of the situation” in flashpoints like Afrin.

Russia, which supports the Syrian government, also voiced concern.

The defense ministry said it was withdrawing its troops from Afrin to prevent any “provocation.”

The United States has backed Kurdish militias in the fight against the Islamic State group (IS), and on Sunday the State Department urged Turkey to “exercise restraint” and keep its military campaign “limited in scope and duration” while avoiding civilian casualties.

But separately, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that Turkey, a NATO ally, had “legitimate” concerns in Syria, and that US officials had received advance notice of the Turkish incursion.

The talks at the council are expected to begin around 11:30 am (local time), diplomats said.

AFP