Russian Federation says Syrian regime preparing to 'solve' Idlib problem

Sep 06, 2018, 00:20
Russian Federation says Syrian regime preparing to 'solve' Idlib problem

A Syrian war monitor said Russian air strikes had resumed against the opposition and rebels in Syria's northwestern Idlib province on Tuesday after several weeks.

In a tweet he warned of "a grave humanitarian mistake" in which hundreds of thousands of people could be killed.

He added: "Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed".

After an all-out military offensive-accompanied by a complex patchwork of ceasefire agreements-ended hostilities in the country's south in July, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Russian media that "now, Idlib is [the] goal".

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In a new UN-led effort to move forward the process to end the Syrian conflict, senior officials from Russia, Turkey and Iran will meet in Geneva next week for constitution-related discussions, the United Nations special envoy on Syria said Tuesday.

"Idlib would see a humanitarian catastrophe that exceeds the level of any seen in the Syrian conflict so far", said Lina Khatib, head of the Middle East and North Africa program at the Chatham House think tank in London.

"Let's try to avoid that the last probably major battle of the Syrian territorial conflict. ends in a bloodbath", he told reporters in Geneva, insisting Russian Federation and Turkey held "the key for the soft solution to the Idlib issue".

Assad has been building up forces for a phased offensive aimed at taking control of the province in northwest Syria.

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A spokesman for the Kremlin in Moscow dismissed Mr. Trump's warning about the looming offensive, saying it failed to address the root problem of "a nest of terrorists" in the province, where an estimated 3 million civilians also remain.

Jeffrey and Rayburn would travel on to Jordan and Turkey, where they would reiterate the U.S. position against a military offensive in Idlib, the State Department said.

ICG said Russian Federation, whose air support would be crucial for the offensive to succeed, should understand that a bloodbath in Idlib would jeopardise its own political goals. The official denied reports that senior Syrian officials were at the site.

Israel has grown nervous of Iran's growing presence in Syria and threatened to prevent a build-up of pro-Iranian forces near its frontiers with Syria.

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The US, with Britain and France, unleashed a missile barrage against Syrian facilities earlier this year after chemical weapons were used against civilian and rebel forces. "Now talks are ongoing between our soldiers, intelligence agencies and foreign ministries about what kind of steps could be taken", he said in Ankara late on Monday.

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