U.K. Foreign Office minister Andrew Morrison on Monday denounced an attack on Syria’s Idlib province by forces of the Bashar al-Assad regime in which five Turkish soldiers and three civilians were martyred.
“I condemn the Assad regime’s attacks in Idlib today and the unacceptable loss of life of Syrian civilians and Turkish soldiers,” Morrison said on Twitter.
He called on the Assad regime and its backer Russia “to adhere to agreed ceasefires and take urgent action to deescalate tensions.”
Located in northwestern Syria, Idlib has been the stronghold of the opposition and anti-government armed groups since the outbreak of the civil war.
It is currently home to some four million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced in recent years by regime forces from throughout the war-weary country.
Turkey and Russia agreed in September 2018 to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone where acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
The Syrian regime and its allies, however, have consistently broken the terms of the ceasefire, launching frequent attacks inside the zone and killing at least 1,300 civilians since the agreement.
In a fresh move, Turkey announced on Jan. 10 that a new ceasefire in Idlib would start just after midnight on Jan. 12. However, the regime and Iran-backed terrorist groups continued their ground attacks.
More than 1.3 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks since the beginning of 2019.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.
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