Deploring the alarming resurgence of military clashes in Syria, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday called for an immediate and unconditional de-escalation. Military clashes have been increasing in recent days, becoming the most violent period in the seven-year-old Syrian conflict. More than 1000 civilians were killed in the first week of February following air raids. The UN Secretary-General also emphasizes that all parties concerned in Syria and in the region have a responsibility and must respect international law and UNSC resolutions. Adding to this, Israel is a new player in the Syrian conflict. A statement on airstrikes conducted by the Israeli army on Saturday was released. These attacks are hitting Syrian target but also Iranian military targets, which lost one of its planes during the most severe tension involving the three countries (Syria, Iran, and Israel) for years. At the same time, Turkey continues its ground offensive against Kurdish forces in Afrin. On Saturday, nine Turkish soldiers were killed and eleven others were wounded in clashes, in the northwestern city of Syria where Turkish forces are carrying out Operation “Olive Branch” against the People’s Protection Units (YPG), Syrian Kurdish militia and Daesh.
Picture: UN soldiers look out on a post at Mount Avital, in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights near the Israeli Syrian border, Israel February 10, 2018.