UN Security Council to hold emergency meeting on Syria

UN Security Council to hold emergency meeting on Syria
The UN Security Council is to hold emergency talks on Friday evening regarding the situation in Syria’s Idlib province after the killing of 33 Turkish troops in a regime airstrike.
2 min read
28 February, 2020
Tensions in Syria rose sharply after the killing of Turkish soldiers by the regime [Getty]

The UN Security Council is to hold emergency talks on Friday on the escalation of conflict in Syria, diplomats said, after 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in a Syrian regime air raid.

The meeting is expected to begin at 2100 GMT, the acting chairman of the council, Belgian ambassador Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, told reporters.

He said it was requested by the United States, Germany, Britain, France, Belgium, Estonia, and the Dominican Republic -- some of which have stated publicly that they support Turkey.

Read also: For Syrians fleeing Idlib, there's nowhere left to run

After the attack by the Russian-backed regime in the battleground Idlib province late Thursday, Turkish reprisals killed 20 regime soldiers there and in neighbouring Aleppo province.

On Wednesday nine members of the Security Council asked Secretary General Antonio Guterres to do more to press for a ceasefire in Idlib.

In a statement, the UK Foreign Office said that it would "support our NATO ally Turkey's efforts to negotiate an immediate and lasting ceasefire in Idlib".

"Yesterday’s events only confirmed the reckless and brutal nature of the offensive which the Syrian regime and Russia are conducting in Idlib", the statement added.

Germany even asked Guterres to travel to Idlib province but he declined, saying it might be counterproductive and alienate Russia, diplomats said.

Since late 2019 Russia has been militarily supporting a ferocious regime campaign to take control of Idlib, the last area of Syria held by anti-Assad rebels. Hundreds of people have been killed and nearly a million displaced in bitterly cold conditions.

Since the conflict in Syria began in 2011, with the brutal suppression of peaceful protests by the regime, the Security Council has often struggled to come up with meaningful action to stop it.

Russia has used its veto power 14 times to kill resolutions aimed at halting military offensives or to limit humanitarian operations that did not have regime approval.

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