At least 11 Syrian soldiers were killed on Friday by strikes from Turkish drones in the northwestern province of Idlib, a war monitor reported.

The drone strike targeted the Syrian positions in the area between the Maarat al-Numan city and Saraqeb city in the eastern countryside of Idlib on the M5 highway that links Damascus in the south with Aleppo in the north, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Turkish forces also shelled the same area with artillery, said the observatory. It added that the Syrian forces also targeted areas where Turkish forces are present, leaving unknown losses.

The attack comes hours after the Turkish forces killed 16 Syrian soldiers in a previous attack.

The Turkish attacks were kind of reprisal to the killing of over 30 Turkish soldiers by Syrian airstrikes the day earlier.

The recent showdown reflects the tension between Syria and Russia on one side and Turkey on the other side.

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Also on Friday, the Syrian Foreign Ministry released a statement, renewing accusation that Turkey is supporting the "terrorist groups" in Idlib.

The Syrian army also said in a statement that its forces will continue to fight terrorism.

Syrian conflict has changed in nature: UN chief

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday warned that the Syrian conflict has changed in its nature, calling on parties concerned to heed the risk that the military escalation in northwest Syria might run out of control.

"I would like to say a few words to express my deep concern with what I believe is the changing nature of the conflict in Idlib," the UN chief told an emergency meeting on Syria requested by Belgium, France, Germany, Estonia, Britain, the United States and the Dominican Republic.

"The council is well aware of the dramatic humanitarian situation in the region, namely, following the most recent offensive," he said.

"But beyond the dramatic humanitarian situation, I think it's important to acknowledge that the conflict has changed in its nature. And we have witnessed a very meaningful escalation in the last few days," said the secretary-general.

"As far as I'm informed, without having a solution found, I think all this creates an environment in which the risk of the escalation getting out of control, taking into account the volume of the forces that are in Idlib and around Idlib is something that cannot be taken lightly," said Guterres.

The council called an emergency meeting Friday on the escalating conflict in Syria's Idlib region, the last major opposition stronghold in the conflict-torn country.

An airstrike killed 33 Turkish soldiers on Thursday in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, heightening tensions between pro-opposition Turkey and the Syrian government's ally Russia.

Broader military escalation devastating for civilians in NW Syria: UN political affairs chief

UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo said Friday that the security situation has continued to gravely deteriorate in and around Idlib, and the latest developments are unfolding in the context of a broader military escalation that was already devastating for civilians in the northwest Syria.

Speaking at a hastily called meeting in the Security Council, DiCarlo urged Russia and Turkey to "build upon their previous agreements to secure a fresh ceasefire for northwest Syria."

For months now, bombing and shelling by the government of Syria, supported by its allies, has continued in the so-called de-escalation zone of Idlib, said DiCarlo, adding that strikes have been launched on populated areas from both air and ground, seemingly without regard for civilians.

Noting that nearly a million people have been displaced since early December, many multiple times, including more than 560,000 children, she said they are fleeing north, away from the intensifying aerial and ground bombardment and into ever-shrinking areas where they still hope to find relative safety.

"The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has verified at least 1,750 civilians have been killed since last April. The actual number is probably higher, 351 civilians have been killed in the last two months alone," she added.

Civilians in Idlib are living under daily threat and terror, seeking refuge from airstrikes and volleys of shells and mortar rounds, said DiCarlo. "They are not asking for a pause in the fighting. They are asking for an end to the killing. We must all assume our responsibility to do all we can to stop this violence.''