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Turkey Says Russia Seeks to Halt Attacks in Idlib

Turkey Says Russia Seeks to Halt Attacks in Idlib

Wednesday, 25 December, 2019 - 10:15
Photo taken by a drone near the Turkish border showcasing convoys of displaced people fleeing the heavy shelling (AFP)

Russia will work to stop attacks in the northwestern Syrian region of Idlib after talks with a Turkish delegation in Moscow, Turkish Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Tuesday.

A Turkish delegation traveled to Moscow on Monday to discuss developments in Libya and Syria, as thousands of civilians began fleeing toward Turkey due to Russian and Syrian army attacks.

Speaking in Ankara following a cabinet meeting, Reuters quoted Kalin as saying that Turkey had asked Russia to establish a ceasefire in the region, adding that attacks in Idlib must stop “immediately.”

“We are now waiting for Russia to begin efforts in the coming 24 hours for an end to the attacks in Idlib,” he added.

On the other hand, at least eight people, including five children, were killed Tuesday in Russian airstrikes in northwest Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The strikes targeted the village of Jubass near the town of Saraqeb in southern Idlib province, killing civilians sheltering in a school and nearby, the Observatory added.

Since Thursday, regime forces have taken control of dozens of towns and villages in southern Idlib following battles with militants.

The clashes have killed 260 fighters on both sides, according to the Observatory.

Syrian regime forces, Russia, and Iran backed-groups on Monday seized 12 villages in northwestern Syria, despite a de-escalation zone in the region, Anadolu Agency quoted Syria's Response Coordination Group as saying.

The move increased the number of villages captured by the Assad regime and its allies to 26 since Dec. 20, it added.

The current movements of Assad regime forces are close to Turkey's observation points, including one located some 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) east of Maarat al-Numan in the southeastern countryside of Idlib province.

The Group also warned from an imminent humanitarian catastrophe due to the displacement of thousands of Syrians from Idlib to the areas near the Turkish border to escape the Syrian, Russian and pro-Iranian groups’ bombing.

According to the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Idlib province is home to around three million civilians, 75 percent of whom are women and children.

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