Members of the Security Council vote during a United Nations Security Council meeting on a ceasefire in Syria February 24, 2018 in New York. Photo: AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Syrian representative to the UN, Bashar Jaafari, has urged the Security Council to apply the humanitarian ceasefire deal agreed unanimously on Saturday to the whole of Syria – including Afrin.
“The ceasefire must include the whole of Syria including Afrin,” Jaafari told the chamber.
Asked by Rudaw's Majeed Gly whether the resolution would include Afrin, the Russian Ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya said it includes the whole Syria.
The United Nations Security Council unanimously passed the resolution, drafted by Kuwait and Sweden, after it gained the support of the Syrian government’s ally Russia. Moscow had previously used its veto to block the resolution.
The ceasefire was originally intended to come into force within 72 hours. This was dropped from the final draft after Russian Ambassador Nebenzia said such a time frame would be unrealistic.
The resolution now says the ceasefire will come into effect “without delay.” The word “immediate” was also dropped, in relation to the delivery of humanitarian aid and evacuations.
The final resolution states that all sides must “cease depriving civilians of food and medicine indispensable to their survival.”
The Syrian governments' bombardment of Eastern Ghouta has killed 492 civilians in the past week, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, drawing international outcry.
The agreed resolution calls for a ceasefire throughout Syria with the exception of military operations against ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the al-Nusra Front.
The focus of the draft resolution was on violence in Idlib and Eastern Ghouta, where the Syrian government is heavily shelling rebel-held areas. Because of the al-Qaeda presence in Idlib, Damascus will be able to continue its operations in the region.
There was no specific mention of Afrin, however.
Operation Olive Branch began on January 20 when Turkish forces launched a military incursion into the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northwest Syria. Turkey believes the ruling Kurdish groups in Rojava, northern Syria are “terrorists,” a charge the groups deny.
The Turkish advance on Afrin has made slow progress. Most of the fighting has been concentrated along the mountainous frontier.