by Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu
Amid unrelenting Assad regime attacks on Syrian regions such as Eastern Ghouta, Turkey’s president on Tuesday called the UN cease-fire resolution for Syria effectively meaningless.
"The recent incidents in Eastern Ghouta are hard to swallow, they do not befit humanity," Recep Tayyip Erdogan told ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party lawmakers in parliament on Tuesday.
"God curse your resolution!" he said of the UN cease-fire. "The resolution that never went into effect has no meaning for humanity."
Erdogan accused the UN Security Council, which passed the 30-day cease-fire resolution on Feb. 24, of manipulating humanity.
Previously Erdogan has criticized the Security Council’s structure of five permanent members, arguing: “The world is greater than five.”
Despite the resolution, around 756 people have been killed in regime attacks in besieged Eastern Ghouta in the past two weeks, according to the White Helmets civil defense agency.
Eastern Ghouta, a Damascus suburb home to some 400,000 people, has been under siege for the last five years.
In the past eight months, Assad regime forces have intensified their siege of the enclave, making it nearly impossible for food or medicine to reach thousands of civilians in need.
Operation Olive Branch
Erdogan said that Turkey's Operation Olive Branch is successfully continuing in Syria's northwestern Afrin region.
He said 700 square kilometers (200 square miles) area in Afrin has been cleared of the terrorists and taken under control by
The president noted that a total of 2,872 terrorists have been "neutralized" since the start of the operation.
"Our 41 soldiers and 159 brothers from Free Syrian Army have been martyred," said Erdogan, and added: "The terror corridor which is tried to be formed along our borders [...] has just one target, that is Turkey."
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.
The military also said only terror targets are being destroyed and that "utmost care" is being taken to avoid harming civilians.