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Trump thanks Erdogan for averting catastrophe in Idlib

U.S. President Donald Trump thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by phone for preventing a "humanitarian catastrophe" in northwestern Syria’s Idlib province, the White House said Sunday.  "Trump expressed concern [yesterday] over the violence in Idlib, Syria and thanked Erdogan for Turkey's efforts to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe," deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement. "President Trump conveyed the United States’ desire to see an end to Russia's support for the [Bashar al-Assad] regime's atrocities and for a political resolution to the Syrian conflict," he added.

The two leaders also discussed the need to eliminate foreign interference in Libya, Deere said. 

"President Trump also reiterated that continued foreign interference in Libya would only serve to worsen the situation," he added.

Turkish troops are in Idlib as part of an anti-terror and peace mission. 

In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

But more than 1,800 civilians have been killed in attacks by regime and Russian forces since, flouting a 2018 ceasefire and a new one that began on Jan. 12.

Libya's legitimate government has been under attack by renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar since last April, claiming the lives of more than 1,000 people.

Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and the other in Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.

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