“If Syrians could solve their own problems, it would be much better,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. Meanwhile, civilians are leaving Afrin ahead of a possible Turkish military operation.
An internal solution to the problems in Syria "would be much better,” the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday.
Peace talks were launched in Geneva in 2012 to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict while talks in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana began in 2017 toward a cease-fire that has been fragile, to date.
“If Syrians could solve their own problems, it would be much better,” Guterres told reporters during a news conference at UN headquarters.
Guterres emphasised that the Geneva process must be revived and said a military solution would not be an answer for the crisis in Syria.
"... after all these years, if so many are still betting on military operations [in Syria], it is clear that there is no military solution," he said.
Gutteres’ comments comes on the heels of an announcement by US-led coalition spokesman Ryan Dillon for plans to establish a 30,000-strong border security force in Syria with the SDF, an alliance of militants dominated by the YPG who fought against Daesh with Washington's backing.
The YPG spearheads the SDF and is the armed wing of the PYD which is considered by Turkey as the Syrian offshoot of the PKK.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and EU.
Since the mid-1980s, it has waged a wide-ranging terror campaign against the Turkish state, in which an estimated 40,000 people have been killed.
President Erdoğan: “We foiled the game played in Iraq and, with the Operation Euphrates Shield, drove a dagger into the heart of the game played in Syria. We will soon also destroy one by one the other hotbeds of terror in Syria starting from Afrin and Manbij.” pic.twitter.com/S7Cp4B1hNQ— Turkish Presidency (@trpresidency) January 16, 2018
Civilians leaving Afrin amid tensions
Ahead of a possible Turkish military operation against the PKK/YPG militants in the Afrin district of Syria's Aleppo province, some civilians are leaving the district.
According to Turkish media reports, many families were seen leaving the district with their vehicles Tuesday evening.
Dozens of vehicles were seen exiting the district and heading north of the Aleppo city centre, an area controlled by the Syrian regime.
Local sources said that the streets grew emptier, with tension rising in the district amid expectation Turkey might launch a military operation against the group targets in the region.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday said Turkey is ready “at any moment” to start an operation in the besieged border area of Syria.