U.S., Russia Veto UN Security Council Resolution on Turkey
The United Nations Security Council failed to come to an agreement on a statement criticizing Turkey's attack on Kurdish territory in Syria.
The statement was submitted by five European member states — France, Germany, Belgium, Britain, and Poland — that condemned the military operation.
The EU statement called for an end to Turkey's invasion.
The five European council members who called Thursday's meeting — there are 15 member countries — urged Turkey in a joint statement afterward "to cease the unilateral military action." They claimed the operation threatens progress against the Daesh terrorist group, despite one aim of the operation being to clear any remaining Daesh terrorists from the region.
Russia and the United States both vetoed the resolution, but for different reasons.
Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, whose country is a key ally of Syria's Bashar Assad, told reporters that any council statement on Syria must address broader issues, including the presence of foreign forces in the country.
U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft told reporters that President Donald Trump "has made abundantly clear" that the United States "has not in any way" endorsed Turkey's decision to mount a military incursion in northeast Syria.
She told reporters the president has emphasized to Turkey's government that it bears "full responsibility" for protecting Kurds and religious minorities, and for ensuring that Daesh terrorists remain in prison and the terrorist group doesn't reconstitute itself.
Craft stressed that Turkey's "failure to do so will have consequences." She didn't elaborate.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan once again threatened to send refugees from the fighting to the European mainland.
Erdogan attacked critics such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and once again threatened to send the refugees hosted by Turkey to Europe.
"Hey European Union, pull yourself together. If you try to label this operation as an invasion... we will open the gates and send 3.6 million refugees your way," he said.
Nice countries you got there fellas. Be a shame if three million refugees showed up at your door.
Meanwhile, the Syrian regime seems content to allow the Kurds to be slaughtered.
The Kurdish forces have played a key role in defeating the "Islamic State" (IS) militia in Syria. They were supplied and supported by the US military. Despite Washington's criticism, the US withdrawal from Syria is widely seen as a green light to Turkey to move against the Kurds.
At the same time, Syrian regime signaled it would not aid the Kurds despite tentative cooperation in the long-running civil war. On Thursday, Syria's deputy foreign minister Faisal Maqdad said Kurdish militants had "betrayed their country and committed crimes against it."
"We won't accept any dialogue or talk with those who had become hostages to foreign forces," he told reporter in Damascus. "There won't be any foothold for the agents of Washington on Syrian territory."
So the Kurds are literally on their own. And they are not faring well. Turkey's NATO-armed and trained army is ripping through the Kurdish lines with ease and their air force, supplied with U.S. planes, is destroying towns and villages virtually unopposed.
The Kurds are tough, courageous fighters but at this rate, the battle won't last long.