U.S. State Department Heather Nauert told reporters on Thursday that the UNSC 30-days ceasefire includes all of Syria.
“We look at the entire part of the country, and that’s what was called for – a ceasefire throughout the country,” she said in response to a question if Turkish attacks on Afrin should stop due to the UNSC ceasefire. The Turkish government refused to stop its attacks on Afrin and rejected the US interpretation. Also, Germany and France reminded Turkey that Afrin is part of this ceasefire.
“Let me go back and read the resolution one more time. I think I was pretty clear, and I think you all understood it as well,” she said. “The UN resolution affirms that the cessation of hostilities shall not apply to military operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, also known as Daesh; al-Qaida; and al-Nusrah Front, and those other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with al-Qaida, ISIL, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the Security Council,” she added. Also, Pentagon spokesperson Dana White on Thursday said “our mission remains that all parties focus on defeating ISIS,” she said. “This is a complex space and all parties need to focus on that.” The Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) on Thursday called on the UN to stop the Turkish invasion and to demand Turkey to follow the UN Security Council resolution that includes Afrin in it’s 30-days ceasefire. “The UN Security Council unanimously adopted its resolution 2401 at its meeting on Saturday, February 24th, 2018, on the basis of a draft submitted by the State of Kuwait and the Kingdom of Sweden, which explicitly provided for the cessation of all combat operations by all parties on all Syrian territory for at least one month,” SDF spokesperson Kino Gabriel said. In the meantime, the civilian casualty rate is rising. On Friday, Anjela Rasho, the co-head of the Afrin health council announced that from 20 January until 1 March, 207 civilians have been killed and up to 602 civilians were injured.
On Thursday, for the first time, an international aid convoy arrived in Afrin, delivering aid to the people in need. “The 29-truck convoy is in Afrin, delivering aid enough for 50,000 people including food, winter clothes, hygiene kits, mattresses, blankets, medical supplies and water materials,” the ICRC said.