Turkey calls for global help to prevent humanitarian crisis in Syria’s Idlib

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu called on the world on Monday to support Turkey’s efforts to prevent attacks against civilians in Syria’s last rebel-held enclave of Idlib, or face a large humanitarian crisis in the region.

 "As of recently, we have used every means to prevent attacks against civilians in Idlib by the [Syrian] regime and its supporters. I am calling on the whole world to support our efforts to this end. I would like to warn everyone at this point that otherwise, a humanitarian crisis of proportions that will exceed that of 2015 will unfold," state-run Anadolu news agency quoted Çavuşoğlu as telling a conference of ambassadors in Ankara.

Turkey and Russia signed an agreement in September meant to prevent Syrian government attacks on Idlib, which is home to an estimated 3 million people, including hundreds of thousands of people displaced from elsewhere in the country. 

But Syrian government forces backed by Russia launched intensive bombing and ground attacks on Idlib this year after Moscow said Turkey had failed to live up to its agreement to remove extremist opposition groups from a de-escalation zone in southern Idlib.

At least 450 civilians have been killed since April and more than 450,000 have been uprooted from their homes or fled to Turkey, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey continued to lead international efforts to end the conflict in neighbouring Syria by working with Iran and Russia.