U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday urged Russia and Syrian government forces to stop bombing Syria's Idlib province, following a Friday Kremlin statement that signaled Moscow would continue to back a month-long Syrian government offensive there.
"Hearing word that Russia, Syria and, to a lesser extent, Iran, are bombing the hell out of Idlib Province in Syria, and indiscriminately killing many innocent civilians. The World is watching this butchery. What is the purpose, what will it get you? STOP!" Trump wrote in a Twitter post.
On Friday, the Kremlin said it was Turkey's responsibility to stop rebels in Syria's Idlib province from firing on civilian and Russian targets. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has long complained to Moscow about the Russian-backed Syrian government strikes against rebels who control the country's northwest.
Trump in September of 2018 also called for an end to violence in Idlib, saying at the time that he learned about the crisis from a woman at a rally.
"I was at a meeting with lots of supporters and a woman stood up and she said there is a province in Syria with 3 million people right now. The Iranians, Russians and Syrians are surrounding that province and they are going to kill my sister and kill millions of people in order to get rid of 25,000 or 30,000 terrorists," Trump recalled.
"I said that's not going to happen. I didn't hear of Idlib province. I came back and picked up the Failing New York Times and opened it up ... not the front page, but there was a very big story and I said wow that's the same story the woman told me and I found hard to believe and I said how, why would anyone do that?"
The offensive in Idlib is the biggest escalation of the war between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and rebel opponents of his government since last summer, and has raised fears of a humanitarian crisis as Syrians displaced by the fighting seek shelter at the Turkish border.
More than 200,000 people have fled the violence in Idlib since the strikes began at the end of April, according to the United Nations.
When asked on Sunday night before departing on a state visit to Britain what he intended to do about the massacre of civilians in Idlib, Trump told reporters he did not like the situation. "Bad things are happening," Trump said.
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