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09 September 2018, 04:27 | Tara Lloyd
United States Ambassador Nikki Haley addresses a UN Security Council meeting on Thursday
The fate of Idlib, Syria's last rebel-held area, is in the balance after the leaders of Iran and Russian Federation backed an offensive to recapture it.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Friday of a "bloodbath" in Syria's last rebel-held bastion of Idlib if a much anticipated government offensive goes ahead.
Northwestern Idlib province and surrounding areas are home to about 3 million people almost half of them civilians displaced from other parts of Syria.
There are an estimated 10,000 fighters, including al Qaeda-linked militants, in the province.
Russian Federation and Iran backed a military offensive to reclaim the last major rebel-held area of Syria, while Turkey called for a ceasefire to prevent mass casualties among the province's estimated 3.5 million population.
Despite his having expressed his desire to get USA troops out of Syria only months ago, a reportpublished Friday in The WashingtonPost claims that President Donald Trump is allegedly "on board" with a new "indefinite military and diplomatic effort in Syria".
An offensive is likely to first strike southwest Idlib and the al-Ghab plains, which overlook the coastal area where Russian Federation has its military and naval bases. "The Assad regime must halt its offensive ..."
"The fires of war and bloodshed in Syria are reaching their end", Rouhani said, while adding that terrorism must "be uprooted in Syria, particularly in Idlib".
Amnesty International warns that the residents of Idlib, many of them already refugees from elsewhere in Syria, can not bear another offensive using starvation and indiscriminate bombardment.
The White Helmets, a team of first responders, said it also recorded the four killed in Abdeen.
The Observatory said shooting broke out when Kurdish security forces at a checkpoint demanded that regime fighters step out of their patrol vehicle but they refused.
Turkey understands the concerns of Iran and Russian Federation over the presence of the terrorist groups in Idlib, he said, adding that "we also expect our friends to consider our concerns as well". Kalin said an attack there to "eliminate terrorist groups" would undermine the ongoing Astana process with Russian Federation and Iran to reach a political solution. He also charged militants in Idlib province with preparing their own chemical weapons attacks. It insists it is the rebels who are planning a chemical attack.
"If the regime uses CW [chemical weapons] - which it has throughout the war - then the U.S. will likely strike Assad regime targets", says Andrew Tabler, a Syria expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Any assault on Idlib would be "a unsafe escalation of the conflict in Syria", Haley noted.
France has invited the United States, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Britain for talks on the sidelines of the UN meeting to discuss Syria, Jeffrey said.
"My fear is that past will be prologue with the Trump administration", says Frederic C. Hof, diplomat in residence at Bard College in NY and State Department special adviser on Syria during the Obama administration.
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