UN and European Union Calls to Stop Military Operations in Syria

  • "We note that the regime, along with its Russian allies, has resumed military operations that do not distinguish between military and civilian targets."
  • The Russian Ministry of Defense denied media reports of its bombing of civilian targets in the de-escalation zone in Idlib.
  • Turkish forces and the factions loyal to them bombed villages controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces in the countryside of the city of Tal Abyad.

On Friday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, called for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Idlib, saying that the latest ceasefire in Syria “failed again to protect civilians.” This came the day after 10 people, including 3 Turkish soldiers, were killed in an explosion that rocked Raqqa. “It is deeply distressing that civilians are still being killed on a daily basis in missile strikes from both the air and ground,” Bachelet said in a statement about the Russian-Turkish ceasefire, which was supposed to be implemented about a week ago in Idlib.

Michelle Bachelet is a Chilean politician who served as President of Chile from 2006 to 2010 and again from 2014 to 2018, the first woman to occupy the position. After leaving the presidency in 2010 and while not immediately reelectable, she was appointed the first executive director of the newly created United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).

The diplomatic office of the European Union announced that the renewed confrontations between the Syrian-backed forces on one side, and the opposition factions and militants on the other in the Idlib governorate (northwestern Syria), are a “major concern.” Peter Stano, spokesman for European Union Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said, “we note that the regime, along with its Russian allies, has resumed military operations that do not distinguish between military and civilian targets.”

He added, “it is a great concern . . . We are seeing more civilian casualties and the risk of more refugees or internally displaced people inside the country.” He stressed that if the Russian, Turkish or Syrian regime negotiated a ceasefire, “it must be preserved.” He continued, “a solution must be found,” demanding “the cessation of military operations and a political solution.”

For its part, the Russian Ministry of Defense denied media reports of its bombing of civilian targets in the de-escalation zone in Idlib, Syria, and said it had not carried out flights since the ceasefire was implemented on January 9. “The reports alleging that Russian warplanes bombed civilian targets in the Idlib are inconsistent with the reality,” said Major-General Yuri Borenkov.

The Syrian Democratic Forces, commonly abbreviated to SDF, HSD, and QSD, is an alliance in the Syrian Civil War composed primarily of Kurdish, Arab, and Assyrian/Syriac militias, as well as some smaller Armenian, Turkmen and Chechen forces. The SDF is militarily led by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a mostly Kurdish militia.

On the other hand, a car bomb, targeting the headquarters of the pro-Ankara Ahrar al-Sharqiya faction, shook the town of Bekl (10 kilometers southeast of Tal Abyad) in the northern countryside of Raqqa. Seven pro-Turkish fighters were killed, including a prominent leader. In addition, three Turkish soldiers were killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Security sources said that the car bomb exploded as Turkish soldiers conducted car inspections in northeastern Syria.

Turkish forces and the factions loyal to them bombed villages controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces in the countryside of the city of Tal Abyad, north of the city of Raqqa. No information on casualties was available. The axes of contact in the countryside of the town of Tal Tamr, in Hasaka governorate, witnessed mutual targeting between the forces Turkish and SDF forces, accompanied by the bombing of the Turkish village of Umm al-Keif.

On the 12th of this month, the Syrian Observatory monitored violent clashes in the Um al-Kif silos in the countryside of Tel Tamr, between Qasd on the one hand, and factions loyal to Ankara, in an attack carried out last Sunday.

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site.  

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