Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Attack on Idlib would sabotage ongoing political process - Turkey

Attack on Idlib would sabotage ongoing political process - Turkey

Turkey's president warned of a humanitarian disaster if a Syrian government offensive on the rebel enclave of Idlib goes forward. He also warned that "an all-out military operation would result in a major humanitarian catastrophe" and "trigger a massive wave of refugees and tremendous security risks for Turkey, the rest of Europe and beyond".

Erdogan had called for a truce in an attempt to avoid a full-scale Syrian government assault on Idlib. But Putin said this would be pointless as it would not involve the Islamist militant groups that Russian Federation deems terrorists, and Rouhani said Syria must regain control over all its territory.

Violence in northwest Syria has displaced more than 30,000 people this month alone, the United Nations said Monday, warning that a looming assault could create the century's "worst humanitarian catastrophe".

In late August, de Mistura warned of a "perfect storm" facing Idlib amid the suspected strikes by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Russian-backed government forces to clear militants from the al-Qaida and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham - also known as the al-Nusra Front - militant groups from the area.

Two children were killed in heavy barrel bomb attacks on a village in Idlib's south Sunday, a day after 10 civilians died in shelling across the rebel zone, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

He told council members there is "an urgent need" to separate opposition fighters seeking a political settlement from the "terrorists" in Idlib, and appealed to those with influence to exert pressure to achieve this.

Although Erdogan has been a staunch supporter to the regime's opposition forces in an effort to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, he has also been involved in talks with Iran and Russian Federation to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria which is entering its eighth year.

"In Idlib, we have to employ different approaches that require time and patience", he said, reiterating that there could be no military victory in Syria. "And if the concern is the presence of the terrorist groups, let's work together to eliminate them", Cavusoglu said during a joint news conference with his Romanian and Polish counterparts in Bucharest, capital of Romania.

"If Assad, Russia and Iran continue down the path they are on, the consequences will be dire", she said.

"It's just not my style", Mattis said when asked if and what kind of retaliation the U.S. military would carry out should the regime use chemical weapons in its offensive against Idlib.

On Friday, the presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey failed to agree during the Tehran summit on how to stave off military action on the northwestern province.

Trump has twice ordered US -led strikes against targets in Syria in response to what Washington called the Assad government's use of chemical weapons against civilians.

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