Syria calls on UN to act against Turkey's plans for a new military operation

In a letter sent to the United Nations, the Syrian Foreign Ministry lambasted Turkey over the latter's plans to launch a new major operation into Syria. Damascus described Ankara's actions as illegitimate, saying they amount to "war crimes."

Duvar English - Reuters

Syria's foreign ministry said on May 26 that it would consider any Turkish military incursions into its territory as "war crimes and crimes against humanity."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan earlier this week said that Ankara would soon create safe zones 30 km beyond its southern borders to combat what he characterized as terrorist threats, in a likely reference to Kurdish armed groups in northern Syria.

Ankara has already conducted three operations into northern Syria since 2016, mainly targeting the U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish YPG.

Damascus sees the operations as a violation of the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

On May 26, Syria's foreign ministry said it had sent a letter to the United Nations secretary-general and the Security Council, describing Turkey's actions as illegitimate.

"They amount to what can be described as war crimes and crimes against humanity," it said in a statement carried by the state news agency.

US warns Turkey against new Syria offensive

Meanwhile, the United States separately warned Turkey against launching a new military operation in northern Syria, saying the uneasy NATO ally would be putting US troops at risk.

"We are deeply concerned about reports and discussions of potential increased military activity in northern Syria and, in particular, its impact on the civilian population," U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters during a press briefing on May 24. 

"We condemn any escalation. We support the maintenance of the current cease-fire lines," he said.