By Servet Gunerigok
WASHINGTON (AA) - Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Monday threw his support behind U.S. efforts to help Turkey amid a halted offensive in Syria’s Idlib province.
"I fully support the Trump administration’s efforts to get NATO more involved in Syria to help Turkey defend Idlib against Russian/Syrian aggression," Graham wrote on Twitter.
“The fall of Idlib would be a humanitarian crisis for the world and would directly affect our European allies – for that reason NATO should be more supportive of Turkey."
In recent weeks, Syrian regime forces have stepped up attacks on Turkish troops in Idlib amid their offensive in the region.
The Turkish soldiers were working to protect local civilians under a 2018 deal with Russia under which acts of aggression are prohibited in the region.
Ankara launched Operation Spring Shield on Feb. 27 after at least 34 Turkish soldiers were martyred in Idlib.
Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed to a new ceasefire for Idlib effective as of midnight on March 5.
Under the agreement, all military activities are to end in Idlib with the establishment of a security corridor 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) to the north and south of the key M4 highway.
Since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.