UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is "very concerned" about the latest developments in northeastern Syria, a spokesman said Wednesday, but did not explicitly condemn the offensive launched by Turkey.
At a press conference, Farhan Haq stressed that any military operation must fully respect international standards and protect the population and civil infrastructure.
"The secretary general is very concerned about the latest developments," he said.
Repeatedly questioned by journalists, Haq wanted neither to condemn Turkey's movements nor to call for an end to the attacks, which several European countries have done.
However, he insisted that in any case "there is no military solution" to the conflict in Syria, a position that the UN has maintained since the war began and which, according to the spokesman, has so far been correct.
In this regard, Haq stressed that only an inclusive and credible political process can end the conflict in a lasting way and recalled that any solution must respect Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Guterres warned of the "risk to civilians of any possible military action" in northern Syria and called on all parties "maximum restraint".
According to Haq, UN officials are in contact with the various parties and the secretary-general was aware this morning of the situation regarding plans for the start of the Turkish operation against the Kurdish militias.
The United Nations is also ready to increase humanitarian support to the region's population, as on other occasions in Syria, but the spokesman emphasized that it is essential that access roads remain available.
As he pointed out, the UN has no viable alternative to border crossings from Turkey to facilitate supply to this area, so it is "vital" to completely preserve these channels.
At the request of EU countries, the United Nations Security Council is scheduled to meet in an emergency to discuss the situation on Thursday.
Earlier today, through the Twitter social network, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the beginning of the offensive.
"The Turkish Armed Forces and the Syrian Free Army (Syrian rebels supported by Ankara) have initiated Operation 'Fountain of Peace' in northern Syria," he said.
The Turkish offensive comes after US President Donald Trump's announcement on Sunday that US troops were leaving the area.
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