Turkish and Syrian ambassadors clash at UN Security Council

Turkish and Syrian ambassadors clash at UN Security Council
The Turkish and Syrian ambassadors clashed at their first UN Security Council encounter since Ankara's military operation.
2 min read
25 October, 2019
Syria has been wracked by war [Getty]
The Turkish and Syrian ambassadors clashed on Thursday at their first United Nations Security Council encounter since Ankara launched a cross-border offensive earlier this month following the withdrawal of United States forces.

Turkey's ambassador, Feridun Sinirlioglu, called it a limited counter-terrorism operation "to eliminate the longstanding existential terror threat along our border with Syria" and "to enforce Syria's territorial integrity and unity."

Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari told council members his regime "condemns in the strongest terms the Turkish aggression, and vehemently rejects attempts by the Turkish regime to justify its actions under the pretext of self-defense or countering terrorism."

Read more: Turkish soldier 'deliberately killed' by Syria regime in Idlib

The council met on Syria's humanitarian situation, but the members' top concerns were the state of a Russian-Turkish ceasefire agreement that divides up the border region and prospects for next week's first meeting of a committee that is supposed to draft a new Syrian constitution.

Turkey views Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria who fought alongside US troops against Islamic State group as terrorists because of their links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, which has waged a 35-year conflict against the Turkish state.

Read also: Cutting deals with the devil: US betrayal pushes Syria's Kurds into clutches of regime

It justified sending troops into Syria as exercising its right to self-defense under the UN Charter.

"I therefore flatly reject and strongly condemn any misrepresentation of our counter-terrorism operation as an offensive or aggression," Sinirlioglu told the council, saying that "Operation Peace Spring" launched by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.