By Betul Yuruk
NEW YORK (AA) – The U.S. and Russia did not approve Thursday a proposal issued by five European countries in UN Security Council (UNSC) to condemn Turkey's ongoing Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria.
At the request of England, Germany, France, Belgium and Poland, UNSC discussed the latest developments in northeastern Syria and Turkey's operation in a closed session.
While Germany "strongly condemned" the ongoing operation, the U.S. and Russia did not use the word "condemn" in their statements.
After the meeting, Kelly Craft, the UN ambassador of the U.S., said Washington does not support Turkey's operation decision.
Turkey is responsible for the protection of Kurds and minority populations, as well as preventing any humanitarian crisis in the region, she said.
She added that Turkey is also responsible for keeping detained Daesh terrorists in prisons and preventing any possible re-structuring of the terror group.
Five European countries made a joint statement following the closed session of the Council to voice their "deep concern" on Turkey's military operation in Syria and they called on Turkey to "stop its unilateral operation".
– Operation Peace Spring
Turkey on Wednesday launched Operation Peace Spring east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria to secure its borders and Syria’s territorial integrity by eliminating terrorist elements and to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees.
Turkey has said the PKK terrorist group and its extension the YPG/PYD constitute the biggest threat to Syria’s future, jeopardizing the country’s territorial integrity and unitary structure.
Ankara has also stressed that supporting terrorists under the pretext of fighting Daesh is unacceptable.
Turkey has a 911-kilometer (566-mile) border with Syria and has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates River and the formation of a “terrorist corridor” there.
Turkey plans to resettle 2 million Syrians in a 30-km (19-mile) wide proposed safe zone in Syria stretching from the Euphrates River to the Iraqi border, including Manbij. However, the presence of terror groups such as the PKK, PYD and YPG risk its formation.
Turkey has freed an area of 4,000 square km (1,544 square miles) in Syria from terrorist groups in two separate cross-border operations.
Since 2016, Turkey has conducted two major military operations in northwestern Syria — Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch — to eradicate threats from Daesh and the YPG, which is the Syrian branch of the PKK terrorist group.
The two operations were in line with the country’s right to self-defense borne out of international law, UN Security Council resolutions, especially no. 1624 (2005), 2170 (2014) and 2178 (2014), and under the right to self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter while being respectful of Syria’s territorial integrity.
During Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkish forces neutralized 3,060 Daesh terrorists.
Turkey has suffered greatly from Daesh attacks inside the country.
More than 300 people have been killed in attacks claimed by Daesh in Turkey, where the terrorist group has targeted civilians in suicide bombings and armed attacks in recent years.
In its more than 30-year terror of campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
* Beyza Binnur Donmez from Ankara contributed to the story