Estonia initiates UNSC emergency meeting on Syria

Estonia's ambassador to the UN, Sven Jürgenson at an undated meeting.
Estonia's ambassador to the UN, Sven Jürgenson at an undated meeting. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Estonia co-launched an emergency meeting at the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Friday, aimed at discussing the escalating military situation in northwestern Syria.

Estonia was joined by permanent memebrs the U.S., the U.K., France, and non-permanent members Germany, Belgium and the Dominican Republic, following air strikes in the province of Idlib, which killed over 30 Turkish Army personnel recently. Air strikes in the region earlier in the week have also killed dozens of civilians.

Estonia's Ambassador to the UN Sven Jürgenson read out a joint press statement from the EU member states of the Security Council, Estonia, France, Germany, Belgium and a former non-permanent member, Poland, strongly condemning the attacks on Turkish soldiers and assuring Turkey of its solidarity, ahead of the meeting.

The statement was made under the leadership of Estonia, a foreign ministry spokesman said, and the meeting was opened by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who reiterated an earlier call for a ceasefire in Idlib. 

An overview of the situation was provided by Rosemary DiCarlo, UN Secretary-General for Political Affairs, according to ERR's online news in Estonian.

As reported on ERR News, both foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu and defense minister Jüri Luik have expressed their solidarity with Turkey, a NATO member whose forces back the opposition troops in the Syrian Civil War, as well as condolences over the attack.

The Russian Federation has said that the deaths of Turkish soldiers were regrettable, though adding that Turkey had made a conscious decision to use military force Both sides have given their assurances that dialogue would continue, an Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said.

Russia backs the official governmental forces of the Assad regime.

Close to 3.7 Syrian refugees are now thought to be within Turkey's borders, with unconfirmed reports that Turkey might open its land border with the EU states of Greece and Bulgaria.

Turkey also requested NATO ambassadors in Brussels meet to discuss the situation, on Friday.

Estonia started its two-year non-permanent stint on the UNSC in January, having been voted on to the position last June.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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