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Syria’s ceasefire not to affect offensive in Afrin: Turkey

Turkey welcomes a United Nations Security Council resolution on a month-long ceasefire in Syria, but says it will have no effect on Ankara’s ongoing cross-border offensive in Syria’s northwestern region of Afrin against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

According to Press TV, the UN Security Council on Saturday unanimously voted in favor of a resolution demanding a 30-day truce in Syria ‘without delay’ to allow aid delivery and medical evacuations.

The resolution was adopted by 15 votes to none, after several delays and a flurry of last-minute negotiations amid growing concerns about the humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta near the Syrian capital of Damascus.

Eastern Ghouta has witnessed renewed violence in the past few days, where terrorists have mounted repeated mortar attacks on the Syrian capital in the face of an imminent rout. Western powers, however, blame the Syrian government and Russia for the crisis.

“We welcome the resolution adopted by the UN Security Council in response to the worsening humanitarian situation all across Syria, in particular in Eastern Ghouta,” Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

However, the ministry added, Turkey “will remain resolute in fighting against the terrorist organizations that threaten the territorial integrity and political unity of Syria.”

Turkey launched the so-called Operation Olive Branch in Syria’s Afrin on January 20 in a bid to eliminate the YPG, which Ankara views as a terror organization and the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Turkey has warned that the Afrin offensive could expand to the nearby Syrian city of Manbij.

Damascus on February 1 complained to the UN about Turkey’s military campaign in northern Syria, denouncing the operation as “an assault and occupation” of the Syrian territory.

Ankara continues to “spread lies” about its military aggression against Syria and tries to justify the action as an act of self-defense, Syrian Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said in two letters addressed to the UN chief and the Security Council chairman.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in January condemned Turkish military operation in Afrin, stating that the offensive was part of Ankara’s support for Takfiri terrorist groups operating inside the conflict-plagued Arab country.

Operation Olive Branch has heightened tensions with the United States, which supposedly works closely with the YPG in fighting against Daesh terrorists in Syria.

Meanwhile, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag insisted that his country’s operation in Afrin would not be affected by the unanimous UN demand for a ceasefire in the war-ravaged country.

Bozdag said in televised comments “There is no question of this decision (by the UN Security Council) having any affect on the operation that Turkey is pursuing.”

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