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United Nations urges truce to bring aid to besieged Syrians

07 February 2018

Syrian government forces have been on the offensive in Idlib in recent weeks but the push intensified after militants shot down a Russian Su-25 near the town of Saraqeb over the weekend.

"It is expected from the global community to work at all levels to condemn the attacks as well as to save civilians in Idlib, Ghouta and all across Syria and to stop the attacks", the statement read.

Previously, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had said that at least 16 people were killed.

Almost 200 people were wounded, and rescuers said many of those probably will not survive because of lack of medical supplies. A local official, Khalil Aybour, put the toll at 53.

The United Nations called on Tuesday for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Syria of at least one month.

The UN warned of "dire consequences" due to the humanitarian crisis, adding that if access was granted, three convoys could be dispatched each week, reaching more than 700,000 people in these areas in two months.

It was the second attack in a week on Turkish soldiers trying to establish a position near the front line between rebels and pro-Syrian government forces, under a deal with Russian Federation and Iran meant to reduce fighting in the area.

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President Bashar al-Assad's government has vowed to retake all of Syria from rebels who have lost large swaths of the territory they have held in a war now entering its eighth year. Though he appears to have survived the insurgency, his forces continue to bomb and besiege opposition pockets across Syria, including in eastern Ghouta and Idlib.

Airstrikes reportedly hit at least three hospitals in Ma'aret al Nu'man, Kafr Nabl and Mardikh in Idlib, he said. It said one of its workers was killed by an airstrike while attempting a rescue in the area.

Meanwhile, Turkish operations against Syrian Kurdish forces and U.S. and Russian-backed operations against ISIL have compounded the suffering of Syrians in the country's north and east.

Turkey's military said a Turkish soldier was killed in an attack in Idlib, where the Turkish troops are establishing an observation post.

The United States proposed that the council adopt a statement condemning "in the strongest terms" the reported February 1 chlorine attack in the town of Douma that injured more than 20 civilians including children, according to the draft seen by AFP.

The army began setting up the outpost on Monday southwest of Aleppo city, the deepest position Turkey has established so far inside northwestern Syria under the agreement with Moscow and Tehran aimed at "de-escalating" the violence.

Erdogan blasted the US for its military presence in Manbij with fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Ankara sees as a terror group affiliated with the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey's southeast.

United Nations urges truce to bring aid to besieged Syrians