Syrian government and Russians target Idlib in heavy strikes

09 September, 2018, 08:04 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • US has seen evidence of Syria preparing chemical weapons in Idlib: envoy

At the meeting between Russia, Iran and Turkey, Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected Turkey's calls for a truce in Idlib.

In addition to opposition forces who have sworn to fight to the death, Idlib is also home to nearly 3 million civilians who will be caught up in the battle.

Erdogan said Turkey no longer had the capacity to take in any more refugees from Syria should the government offensive in Idlib go ahead.

Speaking at a major summit in Tehran, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's president, warned his Russian and Iranian counterparts that an attack on the densely populated province would lead to a "bloodbath" and an unsustainable surge of refugees into Turkey.

Iran, Russia and Turkey all have their own competing interests over Syria.

A member of the Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the "White Helmets", walking through the wreckage of their center, which was destroyed Thursday by government forces in the town of al-Tamana in rebel-held Idlib province.

Russian Federation has demanded that Erdoğan force the withdrawal of jihadist forces from Idlib, a role Ankara said it could not play.

The observatory said the militants retaliated against the government air strikes by shelling a Christian village in government-held Mahrada, killing at least 10 people, some of them children, and injuring 20 others.

During a meeting of the UN Security Council in NY, the United Kingdom named individual Syrian regime commanders around Idlib and warned them they could face future war crimes charges if they went ahead with the attack.

None of Turkey's options look good, adds Aydıntaşbaş, as it faces both a humanitarian "catastrophe" and a result that could "forever alter the dynamics of the Syrian war - in favor of the regime".

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"We urge Russian Federation to consider its options carefully", Haley said, calling the approach Moscow has taken in Syria a "playbook of death".

Even American airstrikes launched against the Assad government have had limited impact in the past.

Rebel media published a video footage showing the latest airstrikes conducted on the northern countryside of Hama and southern Idlib.

For Russia, Iran, and the Syrian government, retaking Idlib is crucial to completing what they seek: a military victory in Syria's civil war, which has killed more than 400,000 people and displaced millions. Yesterday, the leaders of Russia Syria and Turkey failed to come up with a plan to end the fighting immediately.

But Hassan Hassan, a Syria expert and a fellow at the Washington-based Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, said he is doubtful an offensive is imminent, pointing to Turkey getting US backing in opposing a major offensive. Stop Assad's assault on Idlib.

The rare flare-up in the Kurdish-majority city near the Turkish border saw 11 regime fighters and seven Kurds killed, the Kurdish security forces said.

"Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed". Occasional clashes erupt there over turf control and authority, reflecting deepening political tension between the uneasy partners. This prompted the clashes that lasted no more than 20 minutes, Sheikmos said.

The Damascus regime has vowed to reintegrate the Kurdish-held areas, by force if necessary.

The Kurdish-led administration control almost 30 per cent of Syria, mostly in the northeastern part of the country, including some of Syria's largest oil fields.

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