UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a press conference on Tuesday that the recent escalation of tensions between the Turkish and the Syrian forces in the province of Idlib is extremely worrying and called on both sides to cease all hostilities.
“We are particularly worried that now the escalation came into a situation in which we have the Turkish army and the Syrian army bombing each other that, of course, is a change in the nature of the conflict that is extremely worrying", Guterres said. “My strong appeal is for a cessation of hostilities”.
Guterres stressed that it is vital to lower tensions before the escalation provokes an uncontrollable situation in the region.
The Turkish Defence Ministry announced on 3 February that five Turkish military personnel and one Turkish civilian had been killed in shelling by Syrian government forces in Idlib. The ministry pledged to take retaliatory action.
The area surrounding the city of Idlib is one of four nominated de-escalation zones created in Syria by representatives of Russia, Iran and Turkey during talks in Astana (now Nur-Sultan) in May 2017. Idlib is the only de-escalation zone not under the control of the Syrian government, after members of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terrorist group (formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra*) took control of a number of regions in the territory.
*Al-Nusra Front or Jabhat al-Nusra, known as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham is a terrorist group banned in Russia
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