UN reaches consensus on text condemning Syria

Security Council reaches rare agreement on text, says incident is proof of "grave impact" of Syrian crisis on regional peace.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 370 (R) (photo credit: Ki Price / Reuters)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 370 (R)
(photo credit: Ki Price / Reuters)
The UN Security Council, in a rare agreement on Syria, condemned the Syrian mortar attack on a Turkish town that killed five civilians. The agreement came on Thursday after two days of negotiations on an initial text rejected by Russia.
Consensus within the council on anything related to Syria is unusual and it has been deadlocked over the country's 18-month conflict for more than a year, with Russia and China rejecting calls to sanction the Damascus government.
Moscow circulated its own version calling on both Turkey and Syria to exercise restraint. Western council members objected to Moscow's proposal, but revised the original draft.
"The members of the Security Council underscored that this incident highlighted the grave impact the crisis in Syria has on the security of its neighbors and on regional peace and stability," the 15-nation council said in the final version of its non-binding statement.
Diplomats involved in the negotiations said the agreement was reached on text that was a compromise between a draft supported by Western powers and a diluted version Russia circulated to the 15-nation council on Thursday.
The council will formally issue the statement shortly, the UN missions of Britain, France and Germany posted on Twitter.
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A mortar bomb from Syria landed in Turkey on Wednesday, killing at least five people. Turkey responded later the same day by striking targets in Syria. Turkey asked the UN Security Council to take the "necessary action" to stop Syrian aggression and ensure Turkish territorial integrity is respected.
Turkey's parliament gave authorization on Thursday for military operations outside Turkish borders if the government deemed them necessary, a day after artillery shelling from Syria killed five civilians in a Turkish border town.
Commenting on the incident,  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was "alarmed by escalating tensions" between Syria and Turkey and warned that the risk of the 18-month-long Syrian conflict embroiling the entire region was growing, his spokesman said on Thursday.
"The Secretary-General is alarmed by escalating tensions along the Syrian-Turkish border," Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters. "As the situation inside Syria deteriorates yet further ... the risks of regional conflict and the threat to international peace and security are also increasing."
Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor also said on Thursday that the deadly mortar strike had to be considered an attack on a member of the NATO alliance.
"One has to say that according to the NATO treaty, it was an attack on a member of NATO, and that means France," Meridor told reporters during a visit to Paris, referring to France's membership of NATO.
Syria and Israel have not exchanged fire in three decades, and a parliamentary briefing in July by the Israeli armed forces chief about the risk of "uncontrollable deterioration" in Syria were interpreted by local media as a caution against opening a new fighting front with Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Meridor said he did not want to go into details about the incident but said the deaths in Syria had to end and denounced Syria's "worrying" alliance with Iran.
"The alliance with Iran is extremely worrying (for us). Iran on one side, Hezbollah on the other, with Syria in the middle. For us, it's very important that this unholy alliance is broken," Meridor said.
"If the Assad regime were to fall, it would be a vital strike on Iran," he said.
Jpost.com staff contributed to this report.