Middle East

End this offensive: Europeans call on Syria, Russia to return to 2018 Idlib ceasefire deal

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Foreign ministers from 14 European countries, including France and Germany, demanded on Wednesday that Syrian government forces and their Russian backers end their offensive in Idlib province and return to the terms of a 2018 ceasefire deal.

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Nearly a million Syrians have been displaced in the past three months by fighting between Turkish-backed rebels and Russian-backed Syrian forces trying to recapture the last major insurgent-held region in Syria after nine years of war.

"We call on the Syrian regime and its supporters, especially the Russians, to end this offensive and return to the ceasefire arrangements of autumn 2018," the 14 ministers said in a column published in French daily newspaper Le Monde.

"We call on them to immediately end hostilities and to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular the protection of humanitarian workers and medical personnel, who pay with their lives for their engagement in favour of civilian populations."

Tribune | Quatorze ministres des affaires étrangères européens somment Damas et Moscou de cesser les combats à Idlib, où se joue « lune des pires catastrophes » de la guerre en Syrie https://t.co/iKmDzQJQAm

— Le Monde (@lemondefr) February 26, 2020

Turkey and Russia agreed in September 2018 to create de-escalation zones in Idlib, but that has since unravelled amid the Syrian government offensive, which it says aims to root out militants in the region.

Ankara has sent thousands of troops and truckloads of equipment into the region, in Syria's northwest corner bordering Turkey, to support the rebels, and TurkishRead More – Source

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