Turkey: It would be ‘useful’ for US to read UN’s Syria cease-fire resolution
The U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a 30-day humanitarian cease-fire in Syria will not affect Turkey’s “Operation Olive Branch” as the cease-fire “doesn’t apply to it,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said on March 1.
Bozdağ hit out at a U.S. State Department spokesperson for proposing that Turkey “should go and read” the resolution again, suggesting that it also applied to the Afrin operation.
“Our interpretation is clear,” he said, adding that “actually it would be useful” for the Americans to read the resolution more carefully.
Ankara had also on Feb. 28 slammed the U.S. State Department’s “reading” proposal regarding the cease-fire resolution passed on Feb. 24 by the U.N. Security Council in response to the worsening humanitarian crisis in Syria, and particularly in the besieged Eastern Ghouta.
“The comments made by the U.S. State Department Spokesperson regarding the U.N. Security Council’s resolution, saying Turkey should ‘read it more closely,’ have no basis. [The comments] also show that they have not understood the focus of the resolution, or that they are trying to spin it,” Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hami Aksoy said in a written statement.
“We urge the U.S. to focus on stopping the regime from attacking innocent civilians instead of making statements that help terrorists,” the statement said.
Ankara also denied statements from the French Presidency, accusing Paris of being “dishonest” regarding a recent phone call on Syria between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and French President Emmanuel Macron. On Feb. 28, Turkey dismissed a French statement about the call, saying it “mischaracterized” their discussion of a Syria cease-fire, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
“Contrary to a statement by the French presidential office regarding a phone conversation between our president and French President Macron referring to U.N. Security Council Resolution 2401 regarding the humanitarian situation in Syria, Mr. Macron did not make reference to Afrin [in northwestern Syria],” Foreign Ministry spokesman Aksoy stated.
The French Presidential Office’s statement published on Feb. 26 had said: “The president of the Republic stressed that the humanitarian truce applied to all of Syria, including Afrin, and should be implemented everywhere and by all without any delay to stop the spiral of violence in progress.”
Turkey on Jan. 20 launched “Operation Olive Branch” along with elements of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) with the aim of clearing the border of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey views as a terror organization due to its links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), considered a terror group by the U.S. and the EU alike.
With around 500 square kilometers so far cleared of the YPG, Turkey on Feb. 26 announced that it will start to besiege the city of Afrin, which is home to more than 100,000 civilians. In line with this objective, Turkey has begun the deployment of the gendarmerie special forces, who are specially trained in urban warfare.