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UN Council Expresses 'Concern' About Turkey's Shelling In Syria

  • RFE/RL

A Kurdish YPG fighter stands near a wall that activists say was put up by Turkish authorities on the Syria-Turkey border earlier this month.

A Kurdish YPG fighter stands near a wall that activists say was put up by Turkish authorities on the Syria-Turkey border earlier this month.

The UN Security Council is "concerned" about Turkey's shelling of Kurds in Syria, UN diplomats said after a meeting requested by Russia on February 16.

Venezuela's UN Ambassador Rafael Dario Ramirez Carreno, the current council president, told reporters in New York that "all members of the Security Council are agreed to ask for Turkey to comply with international law."

Turkey since the weekend has been shelling positions held by the Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara says is linked to Kurdish militant groups outlawed in Turkey.

Ankara fears the YPG, which is an ally of the United States in its fight against the Islamic State (IS) militant group, is close to securing the last stretch of the Syrian border with Turkey not already under its control.

Turkey has warned the YPG that it would face the "harshest reaction" if it tries to capture the town of Azaz near the Turkish border.

Taking an increasingly activist stance toward the conflict in neighboring Syria, Turkey on February 16 said it was seeking allies to send ground troops into Syria, apparently to bolster rebel forces that have been fighting a losing battle against government and Kurdish forces in the Aleppo region.

Turkey's actions have stirred alarm in Moscow and Damascus, while prompting more muted objections from Washington, which has asked Turkey to stop the shelling.

Syria sent letters to the Security Council protesting Turkey's alleged border violations, while its close ally Russia asked for the closed-door meeting on the matter.

Russia's Deputy UN Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov, in an apparent allusion to the United States, said council members with close ties to Turkey should tell Ankara to "stop your inappropriate behavior in Syria."

Turkey is a member of NATO, which has cooperated with the United States in its campaign against IS, but on Kurdish matters it has often been at odds with U.S. goals in the region.

U.S. officials have lauded the Kurdish YPG militia, backed by air strikes from the U.S.-led coalition fighting IS, as the most effective force fighting against the Islamic extremist group in Syria.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and TASS
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