UN criticizes Turkey’s strikes in northern Syria

NEW YORK (AFP) – The UN Security Council on Tuesday criticized Turkey for its strikes in northern Syria that are fueling fears of a serious escalation in the nearly five-year war.

Venezuelan Ambassador Rafael Ramirez told reporters following a closed-door meeting that the 15 council members “expressed concern about the Turkish attacks in northern Syria.”

“All members of the Security Council are agreed to ask Turkey to comply with international law,” said Ramirez.

The 15-member council discussed Turkey’s military action at the request of Russia, which is waging an air war in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad.

Russian Deputy Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov said he had asked Turkey’s allies at the council to “send the appropriate strong signal — stop your inappropriate behavior in Syria.”

Turkey began shelling northern Syria on Saturday, targeting Kurdish forces that it says are linked to the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has waged a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state.

Syrian Ambassador Bashar Jaafari applauded the council for its stance and noted that “some members even condemned” Turkey’s actions.

“Turkey is trying to pull everybody into this nightmare, into this escalation,” said Jaafari.

The fighting has cast doubt over whether a ceasefire agreed at a meeting of world powers in Munich last week will materialize, ahead of new round of peace talks in Geneva on February 25.

“Declaring a ceasefire would take much longer than a week,” said Jaafari. “Such a decision cannot be theoretical.”

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