Middle East

Arab League demands immediate cease-fire in NW Syria

Military escalation in Syria displaced more than 1M Syrians, says organization’s head

Aydogan Kalabalik   | 01.03.2020
Arab League demands immediate cease-fire in NW Syria

CAIRO 

The Arab League called for an immediate cease-fire in northwestern Syria, the group's secretary-general said Saturday.

“Military escalation in northwestern Syria has formed a model of blatant violation of humanitarian international law and caused an unprecedented humanitarian disaster by displacing more than 1 million Syrians,” Ahmed Aboul Gheit said in a statement.

Gheit said the intervention of regional and international forces in the conflict has worsened the situation.

Recent developments made have made it difficult to find a peaceful solution to the crisis, he said, and tensions also negatively affected security and stability in the region.

At least 34 Turkish soldiers were martyred late Thursday and several more injured in an airstrike by Assad regime forces in Idlib, just across Turkey’s southern border.

Turkish soldiers are working to protect local civilians under a September 2018 deal with Russia, which prohibits acts of aggression in the Idlib de-escalation zone.

But more than 1,300 civilians have since been killed in attacks by Assad and Russian forces in the zone as the cease-fire continues to be violated.

Thursday’s attack was one in a series since January on Turkish troops, with officials in Ankara keeping a pledge that such assaults would not go unanswered.

The de-escalation zone is currently home to 4 million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced in recent years by regime forces throughout the war-torn country.

More than 1.7 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks.

Since the eruption of the Syria conflict in 2011, Turkey has taken in nearly 4 million Syrians who fled their country, making it the world’s top refugee-hosting country.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

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