Northwestern Syria offensive
Russian warplanes have carried out fresh airstrikes in the de-escalation zone in northwestern Syria, killing at least 12 civilians, a Syrian civil defense group said on Jan. 21.
The victims included nine members of a single-family, six of whom were children, in Kafr Taal in Aleppo province, according to White Helmets.
Nearly 27,000 civilians have fled Syria's northwestern region of Idlib to places near the Turkish border in the last three days, amid heightened bombardments by the Syrian regime and Russia, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Jan. 19.
The assault took place for the first time since a ceasefire agreed with Turkey came into force two days ago, witnesses and rebels sources said to Reuters.
They said the towns of Khan al Subl, Maasaran and several others in southern Idlib province were targeted after a two-day lull in aerial strikes against the last rebel bastion that had been bombed continuously for over a month.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu discussed the latest developments in the Middle East with his U.S. counterpart Mike Pompeo over the phone on Jan. 12.
Pompeo "reiterated the need for NATO to play a greater role in the region and stressed the U.S. commitment to the UN-facilitated peace process in Syria," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
A new cease-fire in an area of northwestern Syria rocked by violence is set to start just after midnight on Jan. 12, Turkey announced.
Turkey had pushed hard for the cease-fire, coming after Idlib, Syria endured months of battering by the Assad regime and its allies, sending about a million war-weary civilian refugees flocking to the Turkish border.