UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has stressed the importance of Syrian de-escalation in light of the recent Turkish operation in northeastern Syria. The transcript of Guterres’ press conference in Copenhagen was published on the UN website.
"I want to express my deep concern about the escalation of conflict that we are witnessing in eastern Syria. It is absolutely essential to have a de-escalation of this conflict," Guterres said. "Military operations must always respect the United Nations Charter and international humanitarian law."
"And I am particularly worried with the humanitarian concerns that exist now in relation to, not only possible casualties, but meaningful displacement that is taking place. I don't believe in military solutions for the Syrian problem, also for any other problem in the world. I always strongly believe in political solutions," Guterres is quoted as saying by TASS.
"And one of the things that is also clear is that any solution for Syria will need to respect the sovereignty, the territorial integrity, and the unity of Syria," he stated.
Speaking of the possibility of sending peacekeepers to northeastern Syria, Guterres said: "A peacekeeping force is always the result of a political agreement. <…> We are not yet there, I believe, so, at the present moment, what we must do is to make sure that we have a de-escalation of the conflict in Syria."
On October 9, Ankara announced the launch of Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria, which began with airstrikes on Kurdish positions. The operation’s goal is to create a buffer zone along the Turkish border, where, according to Ankara, Syrian refugees residing in Turkey could return. Syria's SANA news agency slammed the operation as an act of aggression. The international community condemned Ankara’s actions. The United Kingdom, Germany and France requested a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the situation.