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UN spokesman calls Turkey's military operation in Syria "incursion"

August 25, 20:56 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS
Ankara did not coordinate its actions with the United Nations
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UNITED NATIONS, August 25. /TASS/. Turkey, which started its ground military operation in Syria, did not coordinate its actions with the United Nations, the UN chief’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric told journalists.

He described Ankara’s actions as an incursion.

"I would refer you to what I said yesterday [August 24] on the [Turkish] incursion, but there was no coordination with the United Nations, we are not involved in the coordination of military activities by one party or another," Dujarric said.

On Wednesday Dujarric said the United Nations is monitoring the situation in Syria after the start of the Turkish military operation and is calling upon all sides to stick to international norms and protect civilians.

Ankara on Wednesday morning declared the Turkish army had begun an operation in the territory of neighboring Syria. Turkish armor and ground troops, including commando units in cooperation with the allied armed groups of the Syrian opposition crossed the border into Syria. Ankara has declared that the purpose of its military operation is struggle against the Islamic State (terrorist group outlawed in Russia) and the Kurdish militias.

UN expects progress on Aleppo humanitarian pause

The UN hopes that the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will be able to achieve progress on preparations for a weekly 48-hour pause in combat actions in Aleppo.

Russia and the Syrian government said earlier they were prepared to support the idea of the 48-hour ceasefire, a proposal for which had come from the UN Under-Secretary General, Stephen O'Brien.

Along with it, no such guarantees have come from the armed paramilitary oppositionist groupings so far. Dujarric said in this connection the UN could not get down to a humanitarian operation in Aleppo in a situation where only one party to had given consent given consent to it.

"(...) unilateral ceasefire from one group is not sufficient for us to go through," he said.

"Mr. Lavrov and Mr. Kerry as I understand will be meeting in Geneva at least tomorrow," Dujarric said. "We hope something comes out of that. What we need is for all those who have access to weapons, to guns, to participate in this 48-hour pause."

"We stand ready as Mr. Egelann (an advisor to the UN Secretary General's special envoy for Syria TASS) said today," he said. "(As) Mr. O'Brien said earlier this week that the lorries are lined up. Obviously, there needs to be a minimum level of safety for the drivers to get into the trucks and drive to where they need to deliver the aid."

Elizabeth Trudeau, an official spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State said earlier on Thursday the situation in Aleppo would be one of the main topics at the talks between Kerry and Lavrov. Also, they would be supposed to discuss resumption of ceasefire across the whole territory of Syria, humanitarian aid to and political transition in that country, and last but not least, the situation in Ukraine.

Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry's official spokesperson said on her part one more issue Lavrov and Kerry could take up at their meeting was a possible tight coordination of actions between Russia and the U.S. in struggle with the terrorist groupings that are freewheeling in Syria now.

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