UN urges common ground on Syria safe zone

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday urged the U.S. and Turkey to broker a mutually-agreed plan to institute a safe zone in northeastern Syria.

"We really encourage all parties to come to an agreement in order to avoid new forms of confrontation that might emerge," Gutteres said in response to questions about safe zone proposals in the region.

Turkey’s National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and James Jeffrey, the U.S. envoy for the anti-Daesh coalition, last week met in Ankara and agreed on the need to establish a safe zone in northeastern Syria.

But the NATO allies have been unable to reach a consensus on the details of the proposal.

Switching to Idlib, Guterres said he hopes agreements reached to end hostilities in the northwestern province "will be able to hold."

"I hope that the present dramatic situation that is taking place will end," he said.

Guterres earlier Thursday began to establish an inquiry into a series of Syrian regime and Russian attacks on UN-supported facilities, including hospitals, in Idlib.

Stephane Dujarric, his spokesman, said Guterres' investigate board "will ascertain the facts of these incidents and report to the Secretary-General upon the completion of its work."

"The Secretary-General urges all parties concerned to cooperate with the Board once it has been established," he added.

The creation of the UN inquiry follows a letter from 10 members of the Security Council requesting the UN chief launch a probe into Syrian regime and Russian airstrikes on hospitals in Idlib.

The ambassadors of the U.S., U.K., France, Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia, Kuwait, Peru and Poland urged Guterres to specifically look into attacks on medical facilities and possible abuse of the UN's deconfliction channel.

Russia, China and the council's non-permanent African countries did not join in the appeal.

At the time of the request Human Rights Watch offered strong support for the inquiry, saying the UN provided Russia, the regime and other parties with "coordinates of hospitals in Idlib to ensure their safety."

 

You might also like