Syrian UN Envoy: ‘Turkey Using Observation Posts to Back Terrorists’

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DAMASCUS – Syria’s ambassador to the UN told an emergency UN Security Council meeting that Turkey uses the observation posts it has set up in Syria’s northwest to level support for terrorists. Speaking during the Friday session, Bashar al-Ja’afari strongly condemned the Turkish aggression against Syria, and urged the world body to put an end to Ankara’s adventurism, PressTV reported.

Turkey has 12 observation posts in Syria’s Idlib Province, built as part of an agreement with Russia to de-escalate the situation near the Turkish border. Some of the posts, however, now lie in the territory that has been recaptured from the Turkish-backed terrorists during a joint Russo-Syrian operation.

Ankara, which officially supports a number of anti-Damascus “moderates” in Idlib, claims that Syrian offensives there have killed dozens of its troops. It has threatened to attack the Syrian military unless government forces abandoned the liberated areas, and asked Moscow to stop Damascus.

Turkey has, meanwhile, sent thousands of troops and heavy military hardware into Idlib in an unprecedented incursion to back the terrorists. Damascus, though, has vowed to liberate entire Syria, including Idlib, which contains the largest remaining concentrations of terrorists in the country.

The meeting came after reports claimed that a Russia-backed Syrian operation had been followed by the death of 33 Turkish forces. Russia’s ambassador Vasily Nebenzya, however, noted that the troops had been killed outside their designated observation posts, which indicates they were in the open, helping terrorists.

He said Turkish troops shared coordinates with Russia, which were then given to Syrian government forces, to avoid conflict on the ground. However, “the coordinates conveyed yesterday did not mention the areas where ultimately the Turkish soldiers died”, the envoy said.

Nebenzya also emphasized that the Syrian army has a right to fight terrorists anywhere in the country, and regretted that terrorists in Syria were armed with the latest Western-made military equipment.

“In response to the ongoing violations of the ceasefire regime within the zone of Idlib, the Syrian army certainly has the right to respond and suppress terrorists,” he stated.

“We cannot forbid the Syrian army to fulfill requirements, stipulated by the UN Security Council resolutions on the unconditional fight against terrorism in all of its forms, particularly on its territory – the territory of sovereign Syria,” Nebenzya added.

US Ambassador Kelly Craft, however, called on Russia “to immediately ground its warplanes” and demanded that “all Syrian forces and their Russian backers to withdraw”.

Moscow began lending aerial support to Syria’s counter-terrorism efforts in September 2015, five years after the Arab nation fell victim to widespread foreign-backed violence. The airpower, alongside military advisory support offered by Iran, helped Syria turn the tables on terrorists.

On February 20, Bloomberg cited a senior Turkish official as saying that Ankara had asked Washington to deploy two Patriot missile batteries on its southern border to be used against Russian-backed Syrian forces. Speaking on Thursday, Ja’afari warned against attempts at turning the Security Council into a platform for the provision of support for the Turkish aggression against Syria.

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