US President Donald Trump spoke to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the phone regarding the escalating tense situation in northwest Syria, according to the White House on Friday.
Trump voiced Washington’s support for Ankara’s “efforts to de-escalate the situation in northwest Syria and avoid a humanitarian catastrophe”, the White House said in a statement.
President Trump and Erdogan also called for Syria, Russia and Iran to halt their offensive before more civilian deaths, the statement further added..
Earlier on Thursday, at least 33 Turkish soldiers were reportedly killed in air strikes occurring in Idlib, a heavy loss for Ankara following days of clashes between Turkey-backed forces and Russia-backed Syrian government troops and escalating tension between Turkey and Russia.
Last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would hold a summit with the leaders of Russia, France and Germany on March 5 to discuss the situation in Syria’s last rebel enclave of Idlib.
Earlier, the Syrian regime and Iranian-backed groups also launched a ground offensive in Aleppo province, a designated de-escalation zone, forcing at least 13,000 more civilians to move toward Turkey’s border.
The war in Libya, where Turkey is sending troops in support of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord, and the conflict in Syria, where Ankara and Moscow are both militarily involved, are also set to dominate the summit as well.
Turkey launched a cross-border assault on Kurdish fighters after the US decided to withdraw troops from Syria, a move that was criticised by the Republicans, with some terming it a “betrayal” of the Kurds.
More than 50 people, including civilians, have been killed last year as the Turkish offensive in Syria, which was launched by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan aimed at pushing the Kurdish forces away from its border.