Turkish-backed Syrian rebels celebrate their recapture of the stategic crossroads town of Saraqib in a counterattack that reversed one of the main gains of a government offensive on their last major stronghold. (Photo: AFP)
WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- US President Donald Trump spoke by phone with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the ongoing situation in northwest Syria on Friday, said the White House.
Trump voiced Washington's support for Ankara's "efforts to de-escalate the situation in northwest Syria and avoid a humanitarian catastrophe," said a statement released by the White House.
Trump and Erdogan also called for Syria, Russia and Iran to halt their offensive before more civilian deaths, according to the statement.
A total of 33 Turkish soldiers were reportedly killed in air strikes occurring in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib on Thursday, a heavy loss for Ankara following days of clashes between Turkey-backed forces and Russia-backed Syrian government troops and escalating tension between Turkey and Russia.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called for an immediate ceasefire in Idlib "before the situation gets entirely out of control."
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday urged de-escalation in Syria and highlighted the organization's solidarity with Ankara.