Syria’s parliament has recognised the 1915-1917 murder of up to 1.5 million Armenians as genocide, as tensions run high with Turkey after deadly clashes in northwest Syria. “The parliament... condemns and recognises the genocide committed against the Armenians by the Ottoman state at the start of the twentieth century,” the legislature said in a statement.

The Armenians seek international recognition that the mass killings of their people under the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1917 amounted to genocide. They say 1.5 million died. Turkey strongly denies the accusation of genocide and says that both Armenians and Turks died as a result of World War I. It puts the death toll in the hundreds of thousands. The move comes after weeks of tensions between Ankara and Damascus over deadly clashes between the two sides in northwest Syria that Ankara says has killed 14 of its soldiers. Russia-backed government forces have since December upped their deadly bombardment of the last major bastion of opposition in northwest Syria, where Ankara supports the rebels and has deployed troops.

The offensive on the jihadist-dominated bastion of Idlib has also forced 700,000 people from their homes towards the closed Turkish border.