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Turkey presses Russia for new truce in Syria's Idlib: Official

Aljazeera

Wed 25 Dec 2019

The rebel-held Idlib region has seen an uptick in violence as gov't forces supported by Russian air raids hit the area.

Turkey said on Tuesday it was talking to Russia with the aim of reaching a new ceasefire after increased bombardment in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. "We are closely following the process for an end to the attacks, and these attacks should come to an end immediately and implemented under a new ceasefire," Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told a televised news conference. "This is our main expectation from the Russian side." A Turkish delegation, led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal, travelled to Moscow on Monday to discuss developments in Libya and Syria, as thousands of civilians began moving towards Turkey due to Russian and Syrian army attacks. Speaking in Ankara following a cabinet meeting, Kalin said Ankara had asked Russia to establish a ceasefire in the region. The Idlib region has seen an uptick in violence in recent days as Syrian government forces supported by Russian air attacks have launched a fresh assault to capture one of the largest urban centres in the area. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government has repeatedly promised to take back the area, and bombardment has continued despite a ceasefire announced in August. The United Nations estimates that some 60,000 people have fled from the area, heading south, after the bombings intensified earlier this month. Thousands more have fled further north towards the Turkish border in recent days. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly said Ankara cannot handle a new refugee flow on its own.