UN comments on Turkey pause in Syria assault

UN comments on Turkey pause in Syria assault

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed "any efforts" to de-escalate the situation in northern Syria and protect civilians, U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said in a statement after Turkey agreed to pause its offensive there.

"The Secretary-General recognizes that there is still a long way to go for an effective solution to the crisis in Syria," Reuters cited the statement as saying.

On October 9, Ankara announced the launch of Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria, which began with airstrikes on Kurdish positions. The operation’s goal is to create a buffer zone along the Turkish border, where, according to Ankara, Syrian refugees residing in Turkey could return.

On October 17, Turkey and the U.S. held talks in Ankara co-chaired by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey agreed to suspend its military campaign in northeastern Syria for 120 hours. Pence also noted that the parties had agreed on setting up a safe zone on the border with Syria.