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Trump Warns of Carnage in Syria’s Idlib

Trump Warns of Carnage in Syria’s Idlib

Thursday, 26 December, 2019 - 18:00
US President Donald Trump. AP file photo

US President Donald Trump on Thursday warned Russia, Syria, and Iran against killing civilians in Syria's Idlib province and said Turkey was working hard to stop the "carnage."

“Russia, Syria, and Iran are killing, or on their way to killing, thousands of innocent civilians in Idlib Province. “Don’t do it! Turkey is working hard to stop this carnage," Trump said in a tweet.

Syrian and Russian forces have intensified their bombardment of targets in Idlib, the last significant opposition pocket of Syria.

The head of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad, has vowed to recapture it.

Assad's army, with support from Russian air power, has stepped up its attacks on Idlib, the country's last major opposition bastion and home to more than 3 million Syrians.

The government has said that it is targeting terrorists in Idlib. But if the violence continues, hundreds of thousands of civilians could be displaced in the coming weeks, international aid organizations warn.

Speaking at a press conference in Istanbul on Sunday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country, which already shelters the most Syrian refugees in the world, cannot handle a fresh wave of migrants and "will not bear" the burden alone.

The leaders of Turkey, Russia, and Iran agreed in Ankara in September to "de-escalate" conflict in Idlib after the months-long campaign that forced at least 500,000 civilians to flee. With diplomacy on a Syria peace settlement stalled, the de-escalation deal has been unraveling of late.

Turkish Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Tuesday that Russia will work to stop attacks in Idlib after talks with a Turkish delegation in Moscow.

Trump has sought a close relationship with Erdogan, even after Ankara's recent incursion against American Kurdish allies in Syria and Turkey's purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system.

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