UNSC members dismiss Russian resolution against Turkey

Veto powers in UN Security Council reject Russia’s draft resolution against Turkey’s policy on Syria

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The United Nations Security Council holds a meeting on the Middle East at UN headquarters in New York, January 26, 2016.

UN Security Council members on Friday rejected a Russian bid at the United Nations to halt Turkey's military actions in Syria.

Russia circulated a short draft resolution to the 15-member council that "strongly demands" an immediate end to cross-border shellings and plans - supported by Turkey - for foreign ground intervention in Syria.

The Security Council met on Friday afternoon to discuss the draft, but veto-powers the United States, France and Britain all said it had no future.

US Ambassador Samantha Power accused Moscow of trying to "distract the world" from its air campaign in support of the Syrian regime and urged it to abide by UN resolutions supporting a peace process.

"Rather than trying to distract the world with the resolution they just laid down, it would be really great if Russia implemented the resolution that's already agreed to," Power, told reporters after the meeting.

The emergency Security Council meeting came as US Secretary of State John Kerry cautioned that there was "a lot more work to do" for a ceasefire to take hold in Syria, following talks in Geneva between American and Russian officials.

The elusive truce was meant to begin Friday, but failed to materialise as fighting raged in Syria.

Backed by Russian air strikes, Syrian regime forces and the YPG militant group have been making advances against opposition forces in northern Syria.

YPG is the armed wing of PYD, that Turkey considers as the Syrian affiliate of PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU.

Turkish military has been shelling YPG and PKK positions in northern Syria intermittently since Feb. 13  in retaliation to artillery fire from PYD forces based around the northern Syrian town of Azaz.

Meanwhile US President Barack Obama, in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan late on Friday, said Turkey had a right to self-defence, and expressed worries over advances by YPG militants near Turkey's border.

“President Obama stressed that YPG forces should not seek to exploit circumstances in this area to seize additional territory,” a White House statement said.

Turkish Ambassador Yasar Halit Cevik said his country was facing "national security threats emanating from Syria" in reference to militants it is targeting in northern Syria.

"This military escalation ... is the direct result of the brutal offensive in the north of Syria led by the Syrian regime and its allies, and ... Russia must understand its unconditional support to Bashar al Assad is a dead-end and a dead-end that could be extremely dangerous," French Ambassador Francois Delattre said.

The Syrian conflict, which began with anti-government protests in March 2011, has drawn in several international players including Russia, which launched its air strikes in support of Assad five months ago.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir meanwhile raised the prospect that Syrian opposition could be supplied with surface-to-air missiles, though he said it was not a decision Riyadh would take alone.

He said such missiles would "change the balance of power on the ground."

Syria's conflict is now approaching its sixth year, with more than 260,000 people killed and half the population displaced.

TRTWorld and agencies