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Fighting in Syria's Idlib worries Italy

07 febbraio 2020 | 17.27
LETTURA: 2 minuti

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Italy is watching the government offensive in Syria's rebel-held northwest province of Idlib "with concern and anxiety", the foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday.

"We are following the developments taking place in the area of Idlib with concern and anxiety," said the statement.

The statement was issued the day that Turkish armoured vehicles to reinforce troops and equipment sent by Ankara in recent weeks.

"The intensified clashes has caused hundreds of civil victims, thousands of casualties, further destruction and the displacement from their homes of over 500,000 people,"the statement went on.

At least eight Turkish military and civilian personnel and 13 Syrian soldiers were killed on Monday in clashes with Syrian troops.

The Turkish troops were sent to Idlib to observe a previous truce which has since crumbled but also deployed around towns threatened by the Syrian military advances.

Syrian government troops overran Idlib's strategic former rebel town of Saraqeb this week, after a two-day siege in which they exchanged artillery fire with Turkish forces who were supporting Syrian rebels.

The capture of Saraqeb follows weeks of aerial bombardment by the Syrian air force and its Russian backers, combined with a ground offensive.

In Friday's statement, Italy appealed to the warring sides in Idlib to "immediately cease hostilities and allow the arrival of humanitarian aid" and to "respect international humanitarian law".

"No solution to the Syrian crisis can come from the military option but should be centred on a credible and inclusive political process, in line with UN Resolution 2254," the statement said.

The statement referred to a resolution that the UN Security Council unanimously adopted on 18 December 2015 calling for a ceasefire and political settlement to Syria's bloody civil war.

"This is why we must continue to firmly support the work of the Special Envoy of the United Nations, Mr Pedersen," the statement concluded.

Geir O. Pedersen has been the UN special envoy for Syria since 7 January 2019.

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