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Pompeo urges Syrian, Russian, and Iranian forces to halt Idlib offensive

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo (U.S. State Department photo by Freddie Everett)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The United States has expressed concern and called for an immediate cease-fire in northwestern Syria where the combined forces of Russia, Iranian proxies, and the Syrian government are reportedly conducting an assault on the Idlib and Aleppo provinces.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on January 27 the military assault is causing a humanitarian crisis affecting “hundreds of thousands” of civilians in Idlib Province, the last rebel stronghold where millions have taken refuge after fleeing other parts of Syria during its nearly nine-year civil war.

Pompeo said these forces “are conducting indiscriminate aerial bombardment and ground attacks that have trapped thousands of civilians under bombardment in Marat an-Numan, leaving them nowhere to flee.”

He blamed the “destabilizing actions of Russia, the Iranian regime” and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for directly preventing the establishment of a cease-fire in northern Syria, as called for in a UN Security Council resolution.

Assad’s renewed push to recapture rebel-held territory started on December 19 and his forces have regained control over 46 settlements covering 320 square kilometers.

“The United States condemns these unjustifiable attacks against the people of northwest Syria,” Pompeo said. “We call for an immediate cease-fire and full access to the affected areas by humanitarian organizations to alleviate the suffering of the hundreds of thousands that have fled the incessant bombing.”