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Smoke rises after an air strike in Saraqeb in Idlib province, Syria on February 28, 2020. Photo by Umit Bektas/Reuters

UN Security Council to hold emergency meeting on Syria conflict

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council has scheduled an emergency meeting on the escalating conflict in Syria’s northwest Idlib region, the last major opposition stronghold in the conflict-torn country.

Belgium’s U.N. Ambassador Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, the current council president, told reporters the meeting will take place Friday afternoon (4 p.m. EST).

“The escalation is very, very concerning, and that’s why this urgent meeting is requested,” he said. “We want to call for restraint, for deescalation and a cease-fire.”

The meeting was requested by Belgium, France, Germany, Estonia, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Dominican Republic, Pecsteen de Buytswerve said.

Syrian government airstrikes killed 33 Turkish troops on Thursday, heightening tensions between pro-opposition Turkey and Syrian ally Russia, and raising the possibility of an all-out war with millions of Syrian civilians trapped in the middle.