'Solution to Idlib must be political, not military'

By Hulya Corakci Ertan

ISTANBUL (AA) – Turkish presidential spokesperson on Friday said it is everyone's common belief that there must be a political and not military solution in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province.

Speaking to reporters after a preparatory meeting with representatives of France, Germany and Russia for the upcoming four-party summit on Syria, Ibrahim Kalin said they expect maintenance of Idlib's current status, protection of civilians, and prevention of humanitarian crisis there.

"Everyone's common point is that the solution must be political rather than military," he said.

Kalin said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's upcoming visit to Russian city of Sochi and efforts afterwards were of high importance.

"Turkey expects more open and direct support from international community and leaders," Kalin added.

Since the beginning of September, at least 30 civilians have been killed in Idlib and Hama, and dozens injured, by airstrikes and attacks by the regime and Russian warplanes, according to the White Helmets civil defense agency.

The Syrian regime has recently announced plans to launch a major military offensive to the area, long controlled by various armed opposition groups.

The UN warns that such an offensive would lead to the "worst humanitarian catastrophe in the 21st century.”