Turkey, Russia Talk Syria as Thousands Flee Bombing

Trump on Thursday praised Turkey's efforts, tweeting that Ankara "is working hard to stop this carnage".

Since mid-December, Russian-backed regime forces have pressed on with an assault against jihadists in southern Idlib, despite an August ceasefire deal and calls for de-escalation from Turkey, France and the UN.

Almost a quarter of a million people have fled their homes in the last-remaining Syrian rebel stronghold of Idlib to escape a Syrian and Russian offensive on the area.

A Turkish delegation will travel to Moscow on Monday to discuss Syria and Libya, areas where the nations have some opposing views, for talks that President Tayyip Erdogan said would determine Turkey's course of action in the region.

"Russia, Syria, and Iran are killing, or on their way to killing, thousands" of civilians in the northwestern province, Trump tweeted, adding: "Don't do it!"

Russian military have secured the village as Moscow continues to patrol strategic areas along the Turkish-Syrian border, and the Russian flag was raised atop an abandoned building, Russia Today reported.

Erdogan said on Sunday Turkey could increase military support to Fayez al-Serraj's UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), which has been fighting off an offensive by east Libya forces led by Khalifa Haftar.

Meanwhile, Assad maintained earlier pledges to recapture Idlib province from al-Qaeda-affiliated groups and Turkey-backed opposition forces. "This is our main expectation from the Russian side".

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The Damascus regime, which now controls 70 percent of Syria, has repeatedly vowed to take back the area.

Idlib in north-western Syria is the last major region held by rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.

Opposition activists say more than 40 villages and hamlets are now under government control in southern parts of Idlib.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to United Nations officials.

The leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran agreed in Ankara in September to "de-escalate" conflict in Idlib after a months-long campaign that forced at least 500,000 civilians to flee.

The latest spike in violence comes after Russian Federation and China on Friday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have extended for a year cross-border aid deliveries to four million Syrians, many of them in Idlib.

Syria's war has killed over 370,000 people and displaced millions since beginning in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

  • Sonia Alvarado