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UN reaches out to Ankara as Assad coils around Idlib

The United Nations will reportedly ask Turkey to keep its borders open to millions more Syrian civilians fleeing an expected regime offensive on Idlib.
Special Advisor to the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Jan Egeland, adresses the media during a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Pierre Albouy - RC1DA4ACDBC0

Jan Egeland, adviser to the United Nations’ special envoy for Syria, said the body will ask Turkey to keep its borders open for civilians to flee in the event of a regime offensive against Idlib, a rebel-held province on Syria’s northwest border with Turkey. Egeland warned the offensive could propel some 2.5 million people toward Turkey, which is already host to over more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees.

Egeland’s appeal came amid news that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will be traveling to Turkey on Aug. 13-14 for meetings with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu. The main topic of discussion is expected to be Idlib.

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