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Trump calls for end to killing in Syria rebel bastion


Washington (AFP)

US President Donald Trump on Thursday called for the governments in Moscow, Damascus and Tehran to stop the violence in Syria's rebel-held province of Idlib.

"Russia, Syria, and Iran are killing, or on their way to killing, thousands" of civilians in the northwestern province, Trump tweeted, adding: "Don't do it!"

Heightened regime and Russian bombardment has hit jihadist-held Idlib -- the country's last major opposition bastion -- since mid-December, as regime forces make steady advances on the ground despite an August ceasefire and UN calls for a de-escalation.

Nearly 80 civilians have been killed by air strikes and artillery attacks over the same period, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which estimates that more than 40,000 people have been displaced in recent weeks.

Turkey called Tuesday for the attacks to "come to an end immediately," after sending a delegation to Moscow to discuss the flare-up.

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Ankara was pressing for a new ceasefire to replace the August agreement.

Trump on Thursday praised Turkey's efforts, tweeting that Ankara "is working hard to stop this carnage."

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