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Merkel, Macron want to meet Putin, Erdogan to discuss Syria crisis

Idlib is the last rebel stronghold [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 February, 2020

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Merkel and Macron want to meet with Putin and Erdogan to discuss the intensified fighting in Idlib.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron told Russia's Vladimir Putin they want to meet him and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan to defuse the crisis in Syria.

In their phone call with the President Putin, Merkel and Macron expressed their "concern over the humanitarian catastrophe for residents of Syria's Idlib province," Merkel's office said.

A months-long offensive by Russia-backed Syrian troops against rebels backed by Turkey in northwest Idlib has seen close to one million civilians flee the violence.

The two European Union leaders "expressed their willingness to meet President Putin and Turkish President Erdogan to find a political solution to the crisis," the chancellor's office said.

Merkel and Macron "called for the immediate end to the fighting and unfettered humanitarian access to people in need," their statement said.

Read more: For Syrians fleeing Idlib, there's nowhere left to run

Since Syria's civil war erupted in 2011, the country has never seen so many people displaced in so short a time. 

In nine years, millions of civilians have fled their homes and more than 380,000 have been killed.

Russia on Wednesday objected to the UN Security Council adopting a statement that would have called for a ceasefire in Idlib, diplomats said, after a tense closed-door meeting.

The UN urged neighbouring Turkey to admit the new displaced people but Ankara is resisting as it already has some 3.7 million Syrians on its territory.

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