UNITED NATIONS (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 16th October, 2019) The United States continues to call on Turkey to halt its military offensive in northern Syria and declare an immediate ceasefire, US Permanent Representative to the United Nations Kelly Craft told reporters on Wednesday.
"We continue to call on Turkey to take following critical steps: cease undermining the campaign to defeat ISIS [Islamic State terror group, outlawed in Russia], cease endangering civilians, cease threatening peace, security and stability in the region and cease its offensive and declare a ceasefire immediately," Craft said.
Craft noted that at US President Donald Trump's direction, Vice President Mike Pence will lead a delegation to Turkey to "press Ankara for an immediate ceasefire and discuss the conditions for a negotiated settlement.
The delegation, which includes Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien and Ambassador James Jeffrey, plans to meet Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday to discuss the country's ongoing military operation in Syria.
Craft warned that the United States would hold Turkey accountable for any actions that violate international law, including targeting the Kurdish population, religious minorities and civilian infrastructure.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched the cross-border offensive, dubbed Operation Peace Spring, on October 9, soon after Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops from their bases in Syria. Turkey's stated aim is to clear its border of Kurdish forces, which it views as terrorists, and to establish a 20-mile buffer zone in northern Syria.