Russia, Syria under attack over killing of Turkish soldiers

Russia and Syria on Friday came under strong criticisms from western countries in the UN Security Council over the killing of 33 Turkish soldiers in Syria on Thursday.

According to reports, the soldiers died in an attack by Russia-backed Syrian government forces in the northwestern province of Idlib.

In separate contributions at an emergency meeting of the council in New York, the United Kingdom, United States, France, Germany, Belgium and Estonia condemned the attack.

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But China expressed tacit support for Syria, saying the Idlib crisis was rooted in control of the province by terrorists, adding that all external peace efforts must respect Syria’s territorial integrity.

But Dominican Republic, Indonesia, South Africa, Vietnam, Tunisia and Niger took the middle course by calling for immediate ceasefire and urging all parties to explore diplomatic solutions.

The strongest words of the evening came from the U.S. whose ambassador, Kelly Craft, said she was not at the meeting to listen and discus, but to speak directly without mincing words.

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Describing the attack as senseless and barbaric, Craft said Turkey had her country’s support to “respond in self-defence’’ to the “unjustified attack.”

The representative of U.K., Jonathan Allen, decried the suffering of the Syrian people caused by “the merciless and disproportionate campaign being waged by the Syrian regime and its Russian backers.”

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Allen painted a graphic picture of the humanitarian crisis resulting from the Syrian government’s military offensive in Idlib and called on those responsible to desist.

In his contribution, China’s representative, Zhang Jun, said the Syrian conflict had its complicated background, adding that the council must be “impartial, objective and comprehensive’’ in facilitating political settlement.

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