Moscow regrets rejection of Syria UN resolution
BEIRUT: The spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday the Kremlin is disappointed by the rejection of a proposed United Nations resolution aimed at stopping cross-border shelling and foreign ground intervention in the Syrian conflict.
The draft resolution was put forth by Russia on Friday at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council and was immediately turned down by France.
It did not name Turkey but it was clearly aimed at the Turkish government, which has threatened ground action and is continuing a cross-border artillery shelling campaign against US-backed Kurdish militia positions in Syria.
On Saturday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said "Russia views such trans-border strikes by Turkish artillery and artillery strikes at Syrian territory as unacceptable," according to the state news agency Tass.
"We can only express our regret that this draft resolution was not supported," he said.
Syria's government, meanwhile, described the Turkish artillery shelling inside Syria as an "outrageous violation" of international law.
In a statement published by the state-run SANA news agency, it accused Turkey of committing "crimes" against the Syrians by firing artillery shells at areas in the northern province of Aleppo.
It added that a number of civilians were injured by the artillery fire that targeted Tel Rifaat, Malikiyeh and other towns.
Turkey has in the past week kept up a cross-border artillery shelling campaign against US-backed Syrian Kurdish militia positions in Syria. It has also threatened ground action, saying it was exercising its right to self-defense and responding to fire from Syrian soil.
The main Kurdish group in Syria, the People's Protection Units, or YPG, has denied firing at Turkey from Syria. The group has been on the offensive near the Turkish border, seizing territory from Turkey-backed Syrian rebels as well as the extremist Islamic State group.
The YPG dominates a military alliance made up of Kurdish, Arab and Christian fighters known as the Syria Democratic Forces which on Friday captured the town of Shaddadeh in northeastern Syria after three days of battles with IS militants. The town was one of the biggest strongholds of the group in Syria.
The capture of Shaddadeh was reported by the SDF as well as by Syrian activist groups opposed to President Bashar Assad Friday.
A militant website affiliated with IS disputed the reports, saying the militants were still in control of the town. A statement published by the Aamaq news agency said fighting was still raging around the town with Kurdish units trying to advance with US air cover.