Turkey urges global support for

cease-fire in Syria’s Idlib

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Turkey urged the international community on Tuesday “to vocally and actively support” Turkish calls for a cease-fire in Syria’s last rebel-held stronghold in neighboring Idlib province where Syria and its allies have intensified attacks ahead of an expected offensive.

Turkey’s Ambassador Feridun Sinirlioglu made the appeal after telling the U.N. Security Council that President Bashar Assad’s regime seeks to legitimize its military operation in Idlib on the grounds that it’s fighting terrorism.

He warned that such an offensive would only “create further suffering, alienate and radicalize more Syrians” and “play into the hands of terrorists.” He also warned that “an all-out military operation would result in a major humanitarian catastrophe” and “trigger a massive wave of refugees and tremendous security risks for Turkey, the rest of Europe and beyond.”

That warning was echoed later by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who said a full-scale battle in Idlib “would unleash a humanitarian nightmare unlike any seen in the blood-soaked Syrian conflict.”

Brazilian court spares far-right

candidate from racism trial

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s top court on Tuesday spared leading presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro from having to stand trial for racism, less than a week after the far-right politician was injured in a knife attack during a campaign event.

A court panel voted 3-2 to drop a racism accusation against Bolsonaro, who leads polls ahead of October’s election after Brazil’s Workers’ Party decided that it would not field imprisoned former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as its candidate.

Justice Alexandre de Moraes ruled that Bolsonaro had the right to voice disrespectful opinions toward blacks in a 2017 speech at a club in Rio de Janeiro. He also pointed out that Bolsonaro has immunity as a sitting lawmaker.

Bolsonaro said last year that members of rural settlements founded by the descendants of slaves, called “quilombolas,” are “not good even to procreate.” He also talked about the weight of those slave descendants using a measure that Brazilian farmers apply to animals.

Moraes said those comments did not exceed the limits of his freedom of expression.