Turkey will launch an operation in Syria if a safe zone is not established, Turkey's Minister of Foreign Affairs says, as US envoy James Jeffrey meets senior officials in Ankara and regime and Russia step up deadly attacks in de-escalation zones.
According to the UNHCR, Turkey is hosting the largest number of refugees in the world for the fifth consecutive year. Out of the 3.7 million refugees, only 3.5 percent of them actually live in camps, the rest are spread out across the country.
The Kremlin also rebuffed criticism from US President Donald Trump of Russian and Syrian military action in Idlib, saying it was needed to shut down rebel attacks being launched from there.
Ankara has promised a cross-border operation and a safe zone east of the Euphrates in Syria and says the operation would not only secure Turkey's national interests but allow displaced and refugee families to return home.
“It is critically important that a vacuum during the US withdrawal [from Syria], which can be exploited by terrorists, doesn't form," Turkey's president said at a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
US-coalition spokesperson confirms the drawdown ordered by President Trump is now underway. However, it's unclear what the equipment is going, or from which parts of Syria it's being removed.
As residents in Idlib look to Turkey for security, UN envoy for Syria urges Turkish President Erdogan and Russian President Putin to "make a telephone call, organise a formula" which could help avoid a battle ending in a bloodbath.
At least 120 journalists have been killed in Syria in relation to their work since the war began in 2011, according to research by Committee to Protect Journalists.
This is the first formal appeal broadcast on official media. The regime recently retook large areas near Damascus, and are waging a new offensive in the south that UN officials say has displaced more than 270,000 people.
After UN refugee agency calls on Jordan to let Syrians in, Jordan's army says the border will remain closed and displaced Syrians are being provided with humanitarian aid.
The UNSC meeting comes as civilians in Syria's eastern Ghouta shunned Russia's offer to quit the besieged enclave for a second day, as opposition forces and Moscow blamed each other for the humanitarian deadlock.
UNSC vote on a resolution calling for a one-month humanitarian ceasefire in Syria delayed until Saturday as member states fail to reach a consensus with Russia. The death toll of this week has topped 500, a quarter of them are children.
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