October 10, 2019 / 4:44 PM / 3 days ago

U.N. chief Guterres calls for de-escalation of conflict in Syria

FILE PHOTO: United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres addresses the opening of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., September 24, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called for a de-escalation of the conflict in Syria.

“I want to express my deepest concerns about the escalation of conflict in eastern Syria. It is absolutely essential to de-escalate,” he told reporters in Copenhagen.

Turkey pressed its military offensive against U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters in northeast Syria on Thursday, shelling towns and bombing targets from the air in an operation that has forced thousands of people to flee their homes.

“Military operations must always respect the United Nation’s chapter and international humanitarian law, and I am worried with the humanitarian concerns that exist in relation to not only casualties but also the displacement that is taking place,” Guterres said.

Reporting by Stine Jacobsen, writing by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen, editing by Chris Reese

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