23:21 GMT29 November 2020
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    UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an immediate ceasefire amid the ongoing offensive in northwest Syria, his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

    "The Secretary-General is alarmed by the rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation in northwest Syria and the tragic suffering of civilians", Dujarric said on Tuesday. "The Secretary-General calls for an immediate ceasefire".

    The situation in Syria's northwest has escalated recently, mainly in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo.

    The Syrian Army has liberated many of the remaining militant-controlled areas in western and northwestern Aleppo province, destroying enemy fortifications and shelling militia with artillery along the way, according to Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reports.

    In Idlib, Syrian Army shelling of one of Turkey's 12 observation posts in the militant-held province last week prompted Turkish forces to attack dozens of Syrian targets, with Moscow urging Ankara against further escalation. 

    Erdogan accused the Syrian government of violating the ceasefire in the de-escalation zone of Idlib and threatened to launch a full-scale military offensive in all areas if Damascus attacks the Turkish Army, vowing to drive the Syrian forces from Idlib before the end of February. The Syrian government has said that the armed groups in the province have ignored the ceasefire agreement and repeatedly attacked the military.

    The Syrian government has been carrying out counter-terrorism operations in Idlib for quite a while, aimed at eliminating the terrorist elements in the province, which still remains a hotbed for militant factions, mostly under control of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly known as Al-Nusra Front*). 

    *Al-Nusra Front (also known as Jabhat al-Nusra, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, or al-Qaeda in Syria) is a terrorist group outlawed in Russia

    Tags:
    reconciliation, Antonio Guterres, Bashar al-Assad, terrorist, militants, civil war, Idlib, Turkey, Syria
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