Security Council EU bloc concerned about Syria, Russia action in Idlib
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- The EU bloc of the Security Council on Thursday expressed deep concern about the escalating military action by Syria and Russia in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib.
The bloc, known as EU8, comprises eight countries: France, Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, Belgium, Germany and Italy. The first five are incumbent Security Council members, the following two are upcoming members, and Italy shares a seat with the Netherlands in the chamber.
"The conflict in Syria has already caused unspeakable suffering to millions of people forced to live under siege or to leave that country," said Swedish UN envoy Olof Skoog, in capacity as briefer for the bloc for the month of September.
He feared such a military action would cause "catastrophic humanitarian consequences for civilians," including risking more than three million civilians' lives and leading to renewed mass displacement.
Moreover, Skoog stressed the use of chemical weapons is "unacceptable", addressing ongoing speculations that chemical attacks might happen in Idlib, the last remaining rebel stronghold in Syria.
The West has accused the Syrian forces of planning such attacks, while Russia has said it was the Syrian rebels who were to stage them.
The EU8 briefer noted that Idlib is the last remaining de-escalation zone in Syria which the Astana guarantors -- Russia, Iran and Turkey -- committed to safeguard.
The Astana process, initiated in early 2017 in the neutral Kazakh capital, helped create four de-escalation zones in the war-torn country -- Idlib, eastern Ghouta, northern rural Homs, and southern Syria bordering Jordan.
In view of the meeting of Astana guarantors in Tehran on Friday, Skoog said, "We call on the guarantors, in particular Russia and Iran, to uphold the ceasefire and de-escalation arrangements they have previously agreed."
In conclusion, he expressed support for UN special envoy to Syria Staffen de Mistura in his efforts to reach a political solution in the country, saying "only a UN-led political process can bring a solution to the conflict that respects the freedom and dignity of all Syrian people."