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UN: Stop escalating the situation in Syria

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed “concern” over clashes between Turkish and Syrian government forces in northwest Syria and has called for violence to stop.

File Reuters

Speaking to reporters in New York, the UN chief expressed concern over the clash Monday, which left eight Turkish soldiers dead in an offensive by Russian-backed Syrian regime forces.

“We are concerned that now the escalation has come to a situation where the Turkish army and the Syrian army are bombing each other. And this is, of course, a change in the nature of the conflict that is extremely worrying and one more reason for the cessation of hostilities, before escalation comes into a situation that is then completely out of control,” Guterres told a news conference. , where he talked about his priorities for 2020.

He also called for armed groups to allow aid workers access to hundreds of thousands of civilians affected by fighting in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, which is the last rebel-controlled stronghold in the country’s civil war.

“We do not believe there is a military solution to the Syrian conflict,” he said. We have said it again and again now that the solution is political and that the process must continue ahead of the Geneva talks and then through various steps related to it, “said Guterres.

About 20 militants were killed in the shootout between Turkish forces and the regime of Bashar al-Assad, a move that heightened tensions between Ankara and Moscow, which support opposing sides in the war-torn Idlib.

In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalating area where acts of aggression are banned. However, the Syrian regime and its allies have repeatedly broken the terms of the ceasefire, including the latest January 12 ceasefire, launching frequent attacks inside the area and killing at least 1,300 civilians since reaching an agreement.

Turkey has complained about the massacre and ongoing attacks and has urged Russia to prevent the bloodshed caused by its ally, Assad.

Pro-Assad forces are moving north along the M5 highway linking the capital Damascus with Halep, crossing Idlib.

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