Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed with his US counterpart Donald Trump to continue cooperation on Syria’s Idlib to avert new humanitarian crises, Ankara said on Wednesday.
The pair “agreed to continue cooperation for the protection of civilians in Idlib where regime attacks continue, and prevention of new humanitarian crises” in a phone call late Wednesday, the Turkish presidency said.
Bombardment by the Syrian regime and its ally Russia killed 16 civilians including seven children in the country’s northwest on Wednesday, a monitor said, as Damascus presses an offensive on Idlib near the Turkish border.
After months of heavy bombardment, the Russian-backed forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched an offensive against Idlib, the last major province of Syria outside government control.
The fighting in Idlib comes despite a deal between Russia and rebel backer Turkey last year to try to avert a full-scale offensive in the region.
Earlier on Wednesday, air raids hit near a Turkish military post in the area of Sheir Maghar, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, after Ankara vowed to take necessary steps to protect its troops deployed across the border.
Erdogan on Tuesday said the situation in Idlib had put lives of the country’s soldiers at risk and vowed necessary steps would be taken when needed, after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.