France demanded an end to air strikes in Syria on Friday as warplanes mounted further attacks on a rebel stronghold near Damascus where a war monitor said government bombardments have killed 229 people, the deadliest week in the area since 2015.
Turkey launched an offensive into the enclave on January 20 against Syrian Kurdish fighters that Ankara considers to be a security threat due to their links to outlawed rebels in Turkey.
Under the deal reached with Tehran and Moscow to try to reduce fighting between pro-government forces and mainly Islamist insurgents in the northwest Syria, Turkey agreed to set up 12 observation posts in Idlib and neighbouring provinces.
The U.S. involvement is a rare example of U.S. forces striking directly at Syrian regime troops. Civilians in, or returning to, Ar-Raqqa Governorate continue to face major hardships after the expulsion of ISIL forces late previous year, and their ability to enjoy basic human rights remains severely restricted given the large-scale destruction of homes and key infrastructure during the fighting, and the large quantities of explosive objects scattered among the ruins. In June, a US fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane after it bombed USA -backed fighters.
Idlib is one of the last main strongholds of rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad, who have been driven from most of their bastions in Syria since Russian Federation joined the war on the side of Assad's government in 2015.
Russia's foreign ministry meanwhile claimed Thursday that the US airstrike on pro-Assad troops reflected Washington's attempts to seize Syrian economic assets.
SANA labeled it an "aggression" and a "new massacre". In the east of the country, airstrikes and ground-based strikes continue in areas still under ISIL control - primarily in Deir-ez-Zor Governorate - with reports of civilian casualties, although the greatest threat now faced by civilians in such areas are improvised explosive devices and other explosive remnants of war. "It is now normal".
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as protect Syrian people from cruelty and oppression of terrorists.
The clashes prompted the coalition response with land-to-land missiles and airstrikes, the Observatory said.
Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member, has been carrying out a military offensive to clear a US -backed Kurdish militia from in a northwestern border town, increasing tensions between Washington and Ankara. Turkey insists it does not target civilians and says none have been killed as a result of its military's actions. In Idlib, the largest area controlled by the opposition, at least two million people reside.
The U.S. State Department said it was "extremely concerned" about growing violence in Idlib and the eastern Ghouta area. "These attacks must end now", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said. However, the US chose to step back, saying that they no longer held an interest in Afrin. The military says it has "neutralised" more than 1,100 "terrorists" in Afrin.
He said Erdogan and the Turkish media were "trying to cover the Turkish army's failure in Afrin". It was not immediately clear when the Istanbul meeting would take place.
The Kurdish military official, however, stated that Afrin's districts of Jandaris, Rajo, and their villages to the west on the border with Turkey saw the most significant infrastructural destruction under intense bombing. A total of at least 671 civilians have also allegedly been injured in the Eastern Ghouta attacks, with a school and a kindergarten damaged alongside the three medical facilities.
The officials provided the information on condition of anonymity in line with government rules.