Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, speaks during a security council meeting at the UN in New York, August 20, 2019. ( Photo: VCG)
Turkey's unilateral military operation has made the situation in Northeast Syria more complex and fragile and will make the counter-terrorism situation in Syria more severe, Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, told reporters after a UN Security Council meeting on the situation in northeast Syria on Wednesday.
Ankara's move could result in a dispersion of terrorists and an opportunity for ISIL to stage a comeback, thereby posing a threat to peace and security in Syria, the Middle East and even the wider world, Zhang said.
China is greatly concerned, he said, noting that China opposes the use of force in international relations. Zhang also said Syria's sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity should be respected and safeguarded.
"Political settlement is the only way out, and military means will lead to nowhere," Zhang said.
He urged all parties to observe the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations and solve problems through political and diplomatic means under the framework of international law. He also called on Turkey to stop its military operations and return to the right track of political settlement.
"China urges Turkey to take up its responsibility and work with other countries to jointly fight terrorism," he said.
Citing a recent development in which parties in Syria agreed to establish a constitutional committee, Zhang said China supports the UN's continued efforts of mediation to ensure the implementation of resolution 2254 and push for a political settlement that accommodates the concerns of all parties.
After reaching consensus among the parties, Jerry Matjila, president of the security council and South Africa's permanent representative to the UN, said the council members were concerned about the risk of the dispersion of terrorists from UN-designated groups, including ISIL, and the risk of a further deterioration of the humanitarian situation.
The situation in northern Syria is getting increasingly complex after Turkey launched the cross-border operation against the Kurds on October 9. The Kurds reached an agreement with the Syrian government, allowing government forces to head to the northern border to halt Turkey's offensive. The Syrian army then entered Manbij, a key strategic city west of the Euphrates River that Turkey has threatened to attack. Meanwhile, Russian forces began to patrol between Turkish and Syrian forces.