Thu Mar 2, 2017 7:11PM
Syrian Ambassador to UN Bashar al-Ja’afari speaks during a press conference on peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland, March 2, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Syrian Ambassador to UN Bashar al-Ja’afari speaks during a press conference on peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland, March 2, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations says Damascus reserves the right to use force against Turkey's military invasion of the Arab country. 

Bashar al-Ja’afari, who also serves as the head of the Syrian delegation to current peace talks, made the remarks after meeting with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura in the Swiss city of Geneva on Thursday.

In August 2016, Turkey launched a major military incursion into Syria with the express aim of pushing back Daesh terrorists from the joint border with Syria and stopping Kurdish advances, which Damascus denounced as a breach of its sovereignty.

Turkey recently said its armed forces and allied militants were almost in full control of the Syrian city of al-Bab and planned to advance further to the nearby city of Manbij.

Ja’afari further accused the Riyadh-based High Negotiations Committee (HNC), Syria's main opposition group, of taking peace talks "hostage" by refusing to include terrorism on the agenda of Geneva talks.

"Progress in the Geneva round must not be held hostage by the Riyadh platform," he said, stressing that the opposition "will be responsible for any failure of the Geneva talks."

HNC’s refusal to discuss the issue of terrorism in the peace talks “did not come as a surprise” as some of the group’s members are terrorist armed outfits, the Syrian official noted.

The latest round of intra-Syrian negotiations began in Geneva on February 23 aimed at finding a solution to the foreign-sponsored crisis gripping the Middle Eastern country since 2011.

United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura (4th R) and Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar al-Ja’afari (2nd L) attend a meeting of Syria peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland, March 2, 2017. (Photo by AP)

Commenting on Syria’s fight against foreign-backed terrorists, Ja'afari said the battle would go on until the whole country was purged of militants.

"Counter-terrorism operations will continue until the last inch of territory from our country is retaken from these foreign terrorists who are wreaking havoc," he said.

Syrian forces have recently liberated many areas from the grip of Takfiri elements, who have suffered major blows on the battlefield.