Immediate De-escalation in Northern Syria Urged by UN Envoy

Photo credit: AFP

As Turkey’s military prepares for a possible ground invasion of northern Syria, where the current escalation after three years of relative calm promises to further destabilize the situation within and beyond the country, Ankara, the US-backed Kurdish forces, and the armed opposition groups were urged to immediately de-escalate regional tension.

Warning the UN Security Council in New York that escalatory dynamics are indeed taking place, UN Special Envoy Geir Pederson on Tuesday emphasized the situation as worrying and dangerous since, according to him, a “one actor” large-scale military operation could have a domino effect across “all the theatres”.

He reminded the council that what Syria needs is a less military activity, pointing to the slow increase in mutual strikes between, on one side, the Syrian Democratic Forces and Turkey and armed opposition groups on the other side, in northern Syria, stressing that the violence is spilling over into Turkish territory.

The UN envoy to Syria stressed since they’re subdued but not defeated, terrorist groups could take advantage of any “fresh” instability.

Underscoring that no state can tolerate deliberate attacks against its people or territory, nor they should, Turkey’s ambassador to the UN, Feridun Sinirlioglu, said that terrorist organizations such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Kurdish militia groups known as People’s Defence Units (YPG) pose a vital threat to the national security of his country.

Sinirlioglu added that Ankara will continue – in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions on the fight against terrorism – to protect its people and ensure border security by carrying out counter-terrorism operations.

Following the November 3 explosion in Istanbul that killed six people and wounded dozens – for which Turkey blamed Kurdish militia- Ankara has launched a barrage of air strikes on suspected militant targets in northern Syria and Iraq whereas Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to order a land invasion of northern Syria in retaliation for the bombing.

Previously last week, the attacks prompted calls for de-escalation of the situation by the US State Department as well as by the Pentagon which indirectly accused Turkey of endangering Syria-based US troops.

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