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EU Urges Halt to Syrian Idlib Offensive02/21 06:17

   BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union is urging an immediate halt to a 
crushing offensive by Syrian forces that has displaced nearly 1 million people 
in recent weeks.

   The 27-nation EU said in a statement early Friday that it is ready to boost 
aid to the most vulnerable civilians affected in Syria's Idlib region.

   As tensions mount between Russia and Turkey, which are backing opposite 
sides in Syria's civil war, the EU called for a sustainable cease-fire on all 
sides and "to allow unimpeded and direct humanitarian access to all those in 

   The offensive by Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces is aimed at 
recapturing remaining opposition-held areas and has triggered the biggest 
single wave of fleeing civilians in Syria's nine-year war. 

   German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron talked 
to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday and proposed urgent talks with 
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to ease tensions.


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