World, Europe

EU urges Syrian regime to stop Idlib offensive

Fight against terrorism not an excuse to ignore international humanitarian law: EU’s foreign, security policy service

Agnes Szucs   | 23.01.2020
EU urges Syrian regime to stop Idlib offensive

BRUSSELS

The EU in a statement on Thursday called the Syrian regime and its allies to stop a new offensive hurting civilians near Idlib in northwestern Syria, the second time in a month. 

“The renewal of the offensive in Idlib, including repeated airstrikes and shelling targeting civilians are unacceptable and must cease”, the European External Action’s Service spokesperson Peter Stano said in the statement.

Airstrikes by the Syrian regime and its backers have killed at least 35 people in the last few days in north west Syria. More than 350,000 civilians have been displaced.

The EU’s foreign and security policy service reaffirmed its commitment to keeping the sanctions against the Assad regime as long as the “brutal attacks” continue, and urged them to give safe access for humanitarian organizations that deliver help for the civilians in need.

The statement warned that fighting the UN-listed terrorist groups in the region does “not permit international humanitarian law to be ignored”, despite the fact that the EU shared the concerns about the security threat these terrorist groups pose.

The EU communication did not precise, but the recent airstrikes have been carried out by Russian airplanes despite the fact that Turkey and Russia agreed in September 2018 to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression is expressly prohibited.

Since then, more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces as the cease-fire continued to be violated.

In total, 1 million Syrians moved near the Turkish border because of the intensified attacks last year.

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