Most regions in Syria appear calm while some fighting continues: UN
October 19, 2019 | 11:57 AM
by Xinhua
Image credits: @UNHumanRights/Twitter.

United Nations: While some fighting continues in northeast Syria, most other regions appear calm after Turkey declared a pause in its military offensive, Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said on Friday.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that the situation is calm in most areas, with the exception of Ras al-Ain in al-Hasakah Governorate, where shelling and gunfire continued to be reported earlier Friday, said Dujarric.

The recent Turkish thrust into Syria has touched off a massive flow of civilians fleeing the fighting.

Some 16,250 people reportedly were displaced from communities in northern Aleppo toward Manbij. Displaced families are staying with relatives or in informal settlements, said Dujarric.

He said humanitarian partners of the world organisation, despite the challenges of working in a conflict zone, were able to support more than 60,000 people in the last 48 hours.

Internally displaced people in camps already have begun receiving winter items and stocks of food and medicine, the spokesperson said.

He said humanitarians have established necessary pipelines for bringing in aid to where the displaced are staying and mapped out pathways to move those in need to adequate care facilities.

Notwithstanding the temporary cessation of hostilities, Dujarric said Guterres continues to follow the UN Security Council resolution mandating a political process to stop the Syrian conflict. "He is doing everything he can to make sure that, despite the bullets flying, that political process remains on track."

"Let us remember that the UN does not have its finger on the trigger of any weapon," the spokesman told a regular briefing. "We are not the ones doing the fighting. We've asked the fighting to stop repeatedly."

Turkey and the United States on Thursday worked out a 120-hour halt in fighting along Syria's northern border with Turkey. On 9 October, Turkish troops moved into Syria to establish a 30km "safe zone" to shield it from feared attacks by Kurdish forces.

Kurd posts in northeast Syria had been shielded by the presence of its US ally in fighting the Islamic State. But US forces were abruptly ordered to leave the area earlier this month, leaving the Kurds open to Turkish forces.

Turkey has long called Kurdish forces terrorists. Kurds, spread through parts of Iraq, Syria and Turkey, have long been seeking autonomy or an independent homeland.

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