U.S. Warns Russia, Syria Against Escalating 'Already Dangerous Conflict'
06 September, 2018, 03:44 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
Speculation about the possibility of a chemical weapons attack in Syria has grown in recent weeks after Russian officials warned of a plot to launch such an assault in order to provoke Western retaliation against the Syrian government.
"I assure you that we do not have chemical weapons and are not able to use them", Walid al-Moualem told reporters.
Reminding Turkey's willingness to trade with its top trade partners like China and Russian Federation in local currencies instead of the USA dollar, Erdoğan said that Turkey was in the process of finalizing the move and added: "These last events have showed how right we are".
The change comes amid discussions with Russia over how to treat the Levant Liberation Committee (Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham), which controls most of Idlib, and other rebels, as a Russian-backed regime offensive on the last remaining rebel stronghold appears imminent.
According to Hüsnü Mahalli, a Syrian journalist living in Turkey and who has a variety of sources from the field, told Cumhuriyet newspaper the real problem regarding the Idlib crisis could be the foreign terrorist fighters among the native jihadists.
Turkey has staged two incursions into northern Syria since 2016 in support of rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad, leading to its control over a zone along the border.
"We would probably dissolve Tahrir al-Sham because it faces the pressure of Russian Federation and even Turkey".
The looming battle for Idlib in northwestern Syria may be the last in the bloody seven years of conflict, which have backed hundreds of thousands of civilians into this deadly corner of the country with nowhere to run.
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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has been warning for some time about the spillover effect of a possible military operation on Turkey, including terrorists who could cross into Turkey and another wave of migration on top of the existing 3 million Syrians in Turkey.
Those areas were handed over to regime forces in surrender deals, with many opposition fighters and civilians bussed to Idlib.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian forces have deployed at least 2,000 armored vehicles along the front lines surrounding Idlib and Hama.An offensive is likely to first strike southwest Idlib and al-Ghab plains, which overlook the coastal area where Russian Federation has its military and naval bases.
HTS has controlled much of Idlib since 2015, acting as de facto governmental authority, facilitating trade across the long border with Turkey and organising aid deliveries. Russia's foreign ministry has warned three world powers (US, UK, and France) to halt the use of chemical attacks as a means of putting pressure on the government of Damascus and its allies.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey will meet President Vladimir Putin of Russian Federation and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran on Friday to discuss Syria, in the latest round of their discussions on Syria known as the Astana process.
The campaign for Idlib is likely to be the last major theater of battle after seven years of brutal civil war.
United Nations officials say fighting could displace upward of 800,000 civilians from Idlib, yet there is no arrangement to allow safe passage to those who want to escape the fighting.
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Very few non-presidents in American history have had the kind of week remembrance that John McCain had, Brownstein added. The president did not attend Saturday's service and spent the morning sending tweets on other subjects.
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Erdogan warns of 'massacre' in Syria's Idlib
Idlib is held by a complex array of rebels and jihadists, many of whom have been blacklisted as "terrorists" by world powers. The prospect of an offensive in Idlib has alarmed humanitarian agencies. "Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed".
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