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Russia, China oppose UN declaration calling for Syria ceasefire: diplomats

UN envoy warns of 'imminent danger' of escalation in Syria


China on Wednesday backed the  Russia's objection to the UN Security Council adopting a statement that would have called for a ceasefire in northwest Syria, diplomats said, after a tense closed-door meeting. AFP reported.

"We tried very hard to have a press statement calling for cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access to Idlib," Nicolas de Riviere, French ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters.

"Basically Russia said no, which is very painful."

"There is no statement ... It was not possible," confirmed his Belgian counterpart, Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, the current council president.

One diplomat said that during the meeting, Russia had angrily criticized Western nations for not understanding its position. "The council is completely paralyzed," the diplomat said.

Russia's opposition to the statement was backed by China, diplomats said.

Recall that during a surprise visit to Damascus early his year by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader affirmed that many grounds have been covered at restoring the Syrian statehood.

More that 2/3 of the country have been restored to the control of Damascus leader al-Assad and as the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) troops are having good days in the battle field reclaiming larger parts of the last rebels' strongholds of Idlib province of Aleppo, calling for a ceasefire may mean set backs and an attempt to prolong the war further.

Russian backed Syrian troops have reconquered swaths of Idlib and retaken the key strategic M5 highway connecting the country's four largest cities, as well as the entire surroundings of Aleppo city for the first time since 2012.

Responding to incessant threats of attacks by Turkish leader Erdogan in rare remarks earlier this week, al-Assad pledged to continue the offensive, saying the war was not yet over but a "complete victory" was in sight. 

Damascus and Moscow maintain the military operation in Idlib is aimed at driving out "terrorists" from the region.

But once the Erdogan's purported plans to mobilise his sponsored Jihadists, terrorists and rebels to Libya in support of the Tripoli's government against the Easter leader Hafter have failed as it was met with global pressures to enforce a UN arm embargo and non interference in the warring Noth African country, Turkey was ready to stage a fierce comeback in Syria's rebels held region of Idlib.

Ankara which is the NATO proxy in term of  supports of some rebel groups in Idlib, has been pushing for a renewed ceasefire in talks with Russia, which backs the Syrian regime,  calming that it wants to prevent another flood of refugees into its territory adding to the 3.7 million Syrians it already hosts.

However, the UN envoy to Syria said earlier the country was on the brink of worsening violence after an exchange of fierce threats between key players Turkey and Russia.

"I cannot report any progress in ending the current violence in the northwest or in reconvening the political process," Geir Pedersen told the council in New York.

"Russian and Turkish delegations have met intensively in recent days ... but no understanding has yet emerged," he said.

"To the contrary, public statements from different quarters, Syrian and international, suggest an imminent danger of further escalation."

- Regime onslaught -

Syrian aid workers are calling for an urgent ceasefire and international help for nearly a million people fleeing the regime's onslaught in Idlib -- the biggest wave of displaced civilians in the nine-year conflict.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday warned that Turkey would launch an offensive into Syria unless Damascus pulled its forces back by the end of the month.

"We are counting down, we are making our final warnings," Erdogan said in a televised speech.

He called for Syrian forces to retreat behind Turkey's military posts in Idlib, which were set up under a 2018 deal with Russia designed to hold off a regime advance.

Russian also sternly warn turkey against any military operations and strikes against Syrian forces as tukish President threatens of an imminent operation in Idilib province of Aleppo in Syria.

Kremlin added that Turkish offensive against Syrian forces in Idlib would be a "worst case scenario".


NB
Updates on the Russia's position as regards the UNSC meeting will be added as soon as they are available.

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