UN chief welcomes Syria de-escalation effort

The White House disclosed that Trump had both cajoled and threatened Erdogan in an unusual letter last week, urging him to act only in “the right and humane way” in Syria.

17 October 2019 | 22:13

Source: Associated Press

  • Source: Associated Press
  • Last update: 17 October 2019 | 22:13

Local residents cheer, as Turkish army tanks are transported on trucks in the outskirts of the town of Akcakale, in Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, at he border of Syria, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019. (AP Photo)

BEIRUT: The United Nations says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomes any effort to de-escalate the situation in northeastern Syria and protect civilians.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a brief statement Thursday that “the secretary-general recognizes that there is still a long way to go for an effective solution to the crisis in Syria.”

Dujarric said Guterres is aware of the discussions between U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which led to the announcement of a five-day cease-fire.

Turkey launched an offensive against Kurdish fighters who had been allied with U.S. forces in their campaign against the Islamic State extremist group. The incursion began after U.S. President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of American forces from northern Syria.

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