10:23 GMT17 January 2021
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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) – Europe cannot stay away from the impending humanitarian catastrophe in Syria's northwestern Idlib province amid the looming counterterrorism offensive by Syrian government forces in the area, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Wednesday.

    "What is happening in Idlib in Syria now must be of deep and direct concern to us all. We cannot remain silent in face of this impending humanitarian disaster – which appears now all but inevitable," Juncker said in his annual State of the Union address to European parliamentarians, as quoted by the European Commission.

    READ MORE: Pope Expresses Concern Over Risks of Humanitarian Catastrophe in Syria's Idlib

    The Syrian crisis has shown that the international order that had served Europe after World War II was being called into question, Juncker added.

    Idlib is one of the Syrian areas which is still controlled by terrorists and militants after years of the government’s campaign to retake the country's territories from terrorists.

    Men ride a motorbike past a hazard sign at a site hit by an airstrike on Tuesday in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 5, 2017
    © REUTERS / Ammar Abdullah
    On Monday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that Damascus’ operation against terrorists in Idlib could displace hundreds of thousands of local residents and result in the worst humanitarian catastrophe of the 21st century.

    Oleg Syromolotov, the deputy foreign minister of Russia, which has been supporting the Syrian forces in their counterterrorism campaign, has said, in turn, that the Idlib operation was being worked on thoroughly and secretly, with humanitarian aspects taken into account.


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    Syrian Armed Forces, United Nation, humanitarian catastrophe, counterterrorism, disaster, operation, European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, Idlib, Europe, Syria
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