France rejects Russian UN text on Syria, slams 'dangerous' escalation

19th February 2016, Comments 0 comments

France on Friday rejected a Russian draft UN resolution aimed at halting Turkey's military actions in Syria, and said Moscow's backing of Syrian forces had led to a dangerous escalation in the war.

"We are facing a dangerous military escalation that could easily get out of control and lead us to uncharted territory," French Ambassador Francois Delattre said ahead of a Security Council meeting.

Russia called the emergency council meeting to present a draft text that "strongly demands" an immediate end to cross-border shellings and plans for foreign ground intervention in Syria.

Turkey has called for a joint ground operation in Syria with its international allies, insisting it is the only way to stop the country's nearly five-year war.

Asked whether he thought the council would endorse the Russian draft resolution, Delattre said: "The short answer is 'no'."

Russia, which has been carrying out air strikes in support of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad's forces, has called on the council to press Turkey to halt its shelling of Kurdish forces in northern Syria.

But the French ambassador argued that the escalation was the "direct result of the brutal offensive in the north of Syria led by the Syrian regime and its allies.

"Russia must understand that its unconditional support to Bashar al-Assad is a dead-end and a dead-end that could be extremely dangerous," said Delattre.

The closed-door meeting of the Security Council came as international efforts to negotiate a ceasefire and re-start peace talks stumbled.

The United Nations peace envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said a new round of peace talks scheduled for February 25 was unlikely.

France's envoy called for redoubling efforts to ensure humanitarian aid reaches those in need in Syria, and to agree on a ceasefire that would allow the peace talks to move forward.

© 2016 AFP

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