The German chancellor urged Syria and its backers to end their offensive operations in Idlib province. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also called on Syria and Russia "to respect international law."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned on Friday the Syrian regime's assault in Idlib that left 33 Turkish soldiers dead.
"The chancellor condemned the ruthless attacks on Turkish troops and called for an end to the offensive operations of the Syrian regime and its supporters," said Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert.
The remarks came after the German leader spoke on the phone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Merkel offered her condolences to the families of Turkish victims and pledged solidarity with Erdogan in support for those displaced by the conflict in Idlib.
The German Chancellor joined a chorus of world leaders calling for restraint in Syria and expressing support for Turkey.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said an immediate ceasefire in the Syrian opposition's stronghold of Idlib was necessary "before the situation gets entirely out of control."
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump spoke with Erdogan on the phone and "reaffirmed his support for Turkey's efforts to de-escalate the situation in north-west Syria and avoid a humanitarian catastrophe."
NATO holds emergency meeting
NATO called for a halt to airstrikes on Friday, after the Turkish soldiers were killed rebel stronghold of Idlib, in northwestern Syria.
The alliance called the meeting under Article 4 of NATO's charter, under which any member can request talks if they believe their "territorial integrity, political independence or security" is threatened.
The attack, led by the Syrian army, was a serious escalation in the current conflict between Turkish-backed rebels and Russia-backed Syrian forces in the area since early February.
Turkish reprisals reportedly followed, with some 20 Syrian soldiers killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, but this was not immediately confirmed by Damascus.
Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called on Syria and Russia "to stop their offensive, to respect international law and to back UN efforts for a peaceful solution.''
"This dangerous situation must be de-escalated and we urge an immediate return to the 2018 cease-fire to avoid the worsening of the horrendous humanitarian situation in the region,'' Stoltenberg said.
The EU has warned that the fighting in northern Syria could lead to open war and that it stood ready to protect its security interests.
But while Turkey's allies expressed their condolences over its troop's deaths, no additional NATO support was offered to Ankara after the meeting.
Read more: Idlib: 'I'd rather suffer bombs than Assad'
Civilians flee to Europe
The Syrian attack on Turkish forces also drove a new wave of refugees into Turkey, as the situation for civilians caught in the fighting continues to worsen.
But senior officials in Ankara indicated they would no longer prevent them from heading towards Europe's borders.
A senior government official told Reuters that Ankara had decided, "effective immediately, not to stop Syrian refugees from reaching Europe by land or sea."
"All refugees, including Syrians, are now welcome to cross into the European Union," the official said, adding that police and border guards had been stood down.
Turkish broadcaster NTV showed images of dozens of people carrying backpacks, suitcases and plastic bags, making their way towards the Greek border.
The announcement would be a violation of Turkey's agreement with the EU that halted the migration crisis of 2015-2016. In response, Greece and Bulgaria responded by reinforcing their borders.
The UN Security Council has announced that it will hold an emergency session on Syria on Friday.
jcg/stb (AP, Reuters)