This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
UN warns against civilian displacement in northeast Syria following US withdrawal
Following reports that the United States is withdrawing troops from northeast Syria, the UN warned on Monday against the further displacement of civilians from the war-torn region.
Regional Humanitarian Coordinator, Panos Moumtzis, reportedly told correspondents in Geneva the UN had made contingency plans to assist civilians forced to flee south, if Turkish forces advance on Kurdish positions, following the US policy shift.
He said any military operation had to take the effects on civilians into account, adding that the UN is “hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst”, according to news reports.
US allies, the Syrian Kurdish militia, or YPG, are considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, with Ankara arguing for the creation of a so-called “safe zone” for civilians along the Syrian border, under its control.
Mr. Moumtzis said that the concept had not worked in the past, referencing the massacre of Bosnian Muslims at the hands of Bosnian Serbs in Srebrenica, in 1995.
He told reporters he hoped there would be “full cooperation by all” prioritizing protection of civilians, “ensuring that the basic principles of humanity will be respected on the ground”.
UN Mission in Libya condemns airstrike which injured children at riding club
The UN Support Mission in Libya, UNSMIL, has said it’s “appalled” by an airstrike carried out by forces of the self-styled Libyan National Army in the suburbs of the capital Tripoli, which hit an equestrian club, injuring a number of children.
The LNA led by General Khalifa Haftar, mounted an offensive to try and take the capital from the UN-recognized Government last April. Hundreds of fighters and civilians have been killed, and more than 100,000 forced to flee their homes.
UNSMIL said it had dispatched a team to the riding club, in the Janzour neighbourhood of Tripoli, to “identify the targeted site”, which had confirmed that a fighter jet “dropped four unguided bombs on the Equestrian Club, a civilian facility, and that neither military assets nor military infrastructure were observed” at the site.
The mission “condemns in the strongest possible terms this horrific attack” said the statement from UNSMIL, noting that attacks against civilians constitute a grave violation of international law.
UNSMIL said it would share its evidence with the Security Council, the Panel of Experts on Libya, and other relevant international bodies.
Tolstoy lands in Geneva to mark a century of international cooperation
For the first time in its history, precious pages from Tolstoy’s epic War And Peace have gone on show in Geneva, to highlight 100 years of solidarity among nations.
The manuscript – which has never been out of Russia until now - depicts the period just before the Battle of Borodino in September 1812, which led to heavy casualties among Napoleon’s troops and their Russian counterparts.
Although the encounter cleared the way for the French to march on Moscow, it proved an ultimately fruitless campaign, as they were forced to withdraw.
“Tolstoy was always against war,” said Nadezhda Petrova, Vice-Director of the Tolstoy Museum in Moscow.
She added that the pacifist author believed that problems should be solved “by peaceful means - through negotiations”.
“The world of Tolstoy is obviously radically different to ours” said Pierre Hazan, human rights expert and one of the driving forces behind the exhibition, “but what’s at stake is the same”, he added, “the need for concord, the need for discussion, the need for multilateralism, the need for dialogue between different cultures.”
Matt Wells, UN News.