Donald Trump, the president of the United States, has told the Syrian government and its Russian ally to stop bombing Syria‘s last rebel-held province, just as Israel launched a second round of air raids against Syria in 24 hours, according to state media.
“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,” Trump, whose administration has long supported its support for Israeli air raids in Syria, wrote in a post on Twitter.
“The World is watching this butchery. What is the purpose, what will it get you? STOP!”
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 2, 2019
His comments came after Moscow on Friday suggested that it would continue to back a month-long Syrian government offensive in Idlib..
In a statement, the Kremlin said it was Turkey’s responsibility to stop rebels in Idlib from firing on civilian and Russian targets.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has long complained to Moscow about the Russian-backed Syrian government attacks against rebels who control the country’s northwest.
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.
On Friday, Syrian NGOs on Friday decried international inaction in the face of mounting violence in the northwestern region.
When asked on Sunday night before departing on a state visit to Britain what he intended to do about the killing of civilians in Idlib, Trump told reporters he did not like the situation. “Bad things are happening,” Trump said.
Separately on Sunday, Syria accused Israel of targeting an airbase in Homs province, reportedly killing five people, just hours after carrying out retaliatory attacks on military and intelligence posts south of the capital, Damascus, killing 10.
“Our air defences thwarted an Israeli aggression and destroyed two of the rockets that targeted the T-4 airbase,” a military source told state news agency SANA on Sunday evening.
The remaining rockets “killed one soldier, wounded two others, and damaged an arms warehouse”, the source added.
Hours earlier, Israel said it had struck targets in the province of Quneitra, which includes the Golan Heights, most of which is occupied and annexed by Israel.
It said the attack was in response to rare rocket fire from its neighbour late on Saturday.
Two rockets were fired from Syria at Mount Hermon in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and one had been “located within Israeli territory”, the Israeli army
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based war monitor, said 10 were killed, including Syrian soldiers and foreign fighters in the attack south of the capital.