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U.N. chief welcomes Turkey pause in Syria assault, 'still long way to go' to end Syria crisis

Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations is seen at Amalienborg Castle, in Copenhagen, Denmark, October 11, 2019. Ritzau Scanpix/Ida Marie Odgaard via REUTERS

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed “any efforts” to de-escalate the situation in northern Syria and protect civilians, a U.N. spokesman said in a statement on Thursday after Turkey agreed to pause its offensive there.

“The Secretary-General recognises that there is still a long way to go for an effective solution to the crisis in Syria,” U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said in a statement.

Turkey agreed to pause its offensive for five days to let Kurdish forces withdraw from a “safe zone” Ankara had sought to capture, in a deal hailed by the Trump administration and cast by Turkey as a complete victory.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols