Russia blocks UN text demanding halt to Turkish offensive in Syria

People sit on belongings at a back of a truck as they flee Ras al Ain town, Syria October 9, 2019. ― Reuters pic
People sit on belongings at a back of a truck as they flee Ras al Ain town, Syria October 9, 2019. ― Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Oct 12 ― Russia yesterday blocked a UN Security Council statement calling on Turkey to halt its military offensive in northeastern Syria, diplomats told AFP.

The US-drafted text had been due to be adopted at 1930 GMT, but Moscow intervened to stop it, one of the sources said.

China followed Russia in halting the procedure in its tracks, a diplomat added, requesting anonymity.

The initial version of the text, proposed by the United States following a divisive Security Council meeting on Thursday, had only called for Ankara to return to diplomacy for security reasons.

But the language in the final draft was hardened to call for a stop to the operation following arguments made by concerned Security Council members over the past 24 hours.

“The members of the Security Council expressed deep concern over the Turkish military operation and its implications, including humanitarian and security dimensions,” the blocked statement was to say.

“They call upon Turkey to halt its military operation and to make full use of diplomatic channels to address its security concerns,” it would have added.

The Russian diplomatic mission to the UN had asked for until yesterday to consult Moscow before reporting back on whether they would support the statement or not.

Yesterday, the Pentagon slammed Turkey for its three-day old assault on Kurdish-led forces, warning of “serious consequences” for Ankara over the offensive that President Donald Trump had initially appeared to greenlight.

Later, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Trump would authorize wide-ranging sanctions aimed at dissuading Turkey from further offensive military action in northeastern Syria. ― AFP

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