Turkey asks Russia to halt air strikes in Syria’s Idlib

Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu has asked his Russian counterpart, Lavrov, to stop the bombardments in Idlib province, according to sources speaking on condition of anonymity

Turkey called on Russia Thursday to halt air strikes in Syria’s Idlib province.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu asked his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, to stop the bombardments, which have killed more than 100 civilians in the past two weeks, the sources told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Following the request, Lavrov said the air strikes had ended this morning, the sources added.

Last September, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression would be expressly prohibited.

Civilian casualties

At least 108 civilians have been killed in Idlib since April 26 amid intensified air strikes by the Syrian regime and its military allies, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights.

The regime and its allies have conducted over 200 air strikes and artillery bombardments in Idlib over the past two weeks.

It's the worst escalation in violence since a Turkish-Russian de-escalation agreement was announced eight months ago.

The violence of the past week threatens to completely unravel a crumbling cease-fire agreement reached between Turkey and Russia at the Black Sea resort of Sochi in September last year, which averted a potentially devastating assault by the Syrian regime to retake the province.

The UN said the attacks include the heaviest use of barrel bombs in 15 months, calling for an urgent de-escalation. 

Since the end of last month, Russian and regime air strikes have targeted rebel-held areas in Idlib and Hama provinces. The regime forces have also captured six towns in the region from rebels.

 

Turkey asks Russia to halt air strikes in Syria’s Idlib
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