European Union urges Assad regime to stop Idlib offensive

The EU in a statement on Thursday called the Syrian regime and its allies to stop a new hurting civilians near Idlib in northwestern Syria, the second time in a month. "The renewal of the offensive in Idlib, including repeated airstrikes and shelling targeting civilians are unacceptable and must cease," EU spokesman said in a statement.

The European Union on Thursday condemned renewed fighting around a rebel stronghold in northwest Syria, demanding an end to "unacceptable" air strikes that have killed civilians.

The regime of Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russia, is tightening the noose around Idlib, the last major rebel-held bastion in Syria's civil war, with killing at least 23 civilians on Tuesday.

"The renewal of the in Idlib, including repeated air strikes and shelling targeting civilians are unacceptable and must cease," an EU spokesman said in a statement.

"The EU will keep the sanctions against the Assad regime under review as long as these brutal attacks continue."

Most of Idlib and parts of Aleppo province are still controlled by factions opposed to Assad.

The Damascus regime, which controls around 70 percent of the country after nearly nine years of war, has repeatedly vowed to recapture the region.

Idlib hosts at least three million people, many of whom have fled other parts of the country and are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

The EU demanded "rapid, safe and unhindered access" for humanitarian organisations and stressed the need for a political solution to the conflict.

The surge in violence comes despite a ceasefire announced by Moscow earlier this month that never really took hold, and there are warnings that a ground offensive could be imminent.

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