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Turkey rejects US 'double standard' in Syria ceasefire

Erdogan: "God curse your [UN] resolution!"

Syria ceasefire

The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called the UN ceasefire resolution for Syria effectively meaningless given the Syrian government’s continued bombing of Eastern Ghouta.

"God curse your resolution!" Erdogan said of the UN ceasefire, "the resolution that never went into effect has no meaning for humanity," he said addressing legislators in the Turkish parliament on Tuesday.

US remarks made last week implied that Turkey's operations in Afrin are in violation of the UN's Syria ceasefire resolution.

Turkey accused the US of a double standard by specifying which "terrorist" groups can be fought in Syria and which cannot be.

Speaking to reporters in Ankara, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said: "Afrin is not mentioned there [in the UN resolution] ... Terrorists are all the same, you cannot divide them into bad and good ones. The United States behaves illogically guided by double standards, this cannot be accepted."

The UN Security Council on Saturday, February 24, passed a resolution calling for a 30-day ceasefire in Syria.

Exceptions

When asked by reporters if Turkey is "violating the UN ceasefire" in Syria, US Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert said on February 27 that she would "encourage Turkey to go back and read the UN resolution".

Quoting the UN resolution, Heather Nauert said: "[The UN] demands that all parties cease hostilities without delay and engage immediately to ensure full and comprehensive implementation of this demand by all parties for a durable humanitarian pause for at least 30 consecutive days throughout Syria."

But Nauert added "It [the resolution] affirms that the cessation of hostilities shall not apply to military operations against the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS), also known as Daesh, al-Qaeda, and al-Nusrah Front, and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with al-Qaeda and ISIL and other terror groups as designated by the Security Council."

"So I think the resolution was clear here in naming exactly which groups are considered to be exempt from the ceasefire."

Turkey's operation

Turkey has stressed that the ceasefire is meant to give relief to civilian areas hit hard by Syrian government air raids, and has nothing to do with Turkey's "counterterrorism" operation in Afrin, northwestern Syria.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said that Nauert "couldn't understand the focal point of the resolution or wants to distort it".

"In Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, Turkey is exercising its right to self-defence based on Article 51 of the UN Charter," said Aksoy.

According to Turkey, the UN ceasefire resolution is meant to provide humanitarian and medical relief to the battered Syrian enclave of Eastern Ghouta, the target of a five-year siege by the Syrian government.


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