The United Nations warned on Friday that escalating fighting in northwest Syria could end in a “bloodbath” as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would phone Russia’s president to discuss the quickly deteriorating situation.
Erdogan asked his French and German counterparts to provide “concrete” support in ending the burgeoning humanitarian crisis in Syria’s Idlib region, Turkey’s presidency said.
In a phone call, Erdogan said attacks in Idlib – where a Russia-backed Syrian government offensive has displaced nearly one million people and brought Ankara, Moscow and Damascus to the brink of confrontation – must be stopped.
Idlib is the final stronghold of rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government during a nine-year war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions.
Turkey, which backs some rebel groups in Idlib, has lost 16 military personnel this month in clashes with Syrian forces. It has bolstered its positions and called for Syrian forces to pull back.
With Ankara threatening an “imminent” operationagainst Syrian forces, Minister of Defence Hulusi Akar inspected troops gathered at the Syrian border on Friday.