Russia has blocked a draft statement by the UN Security Council condemning Syria over a deadly mortar attack which killed five in southeastern Turkey on Wednesday. The draft, circulated to the 15-nation council on Wednesday, condemned Syria "in the strongest terms" over the shelling of the Turkish town of Akcakale, and demanded an end to violations of Turkish territory. Russia on Thursday opposed the draft of the non-binding statement and proposed a text that would call both Syria and Turkey to exercise "restraint" and reduce tensions on the border.
"The members of the Security Council called on the parties to exercise restraint and avoid military clashes which could lead to a further escalation of the situation in the border area between Syria and Turkey," said Russia's proposed statement, obtained by Reuters.The Russian draft, however, did not fail to urge the Syrian government to investigate the attack. Meanwhile, the United States reportedly proposed amendments to "strengthen" the original text. Council diplomats said they would continue negotiating on the draft statement, which comes as a response to a request from Turkish officials who called on the world body to take the "necessary action" to stop acts of aggression against Turkey. Russian spokesman Alexander Lukashevich had earlier said it was "important (that) a balanced approach, based on real facts, is exercised by the UN Security Council." Tension has been running high between Syria and Turkey, with Damascus blaming Turkey -- along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar -- for backing a deadly insurgency that has claimed the lives of many Syrians, including security and army personnel. In July, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with the Turkish Cumhuriyet daily that Ankara “has supplied all logistic support to the terrorists who have killed our people.” MRS/JR/SS