Erdogan urges Russia, Iran to stop 'disaster' in Idlib


Senior officials from Russia, Iran and Turkey met with UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura in Geneva Tuesday.

On Sunday, government forces bombed the village of Hobeit in Idlib province, killing an infant girl and wounding several other civilians, the Syrian Civil Defence search-and-rescue group reported.

Damascus, backed by allies Russian Federation and Iran, has been preparing a major assault to recover Idlib and adjacent areas of northwest Syria from rebels.

"Fighting terrorism does not absolve warring parties of their core obligations under global law", said Guterres, who directly appealed to Iran, Russia and Turkey to spare no effort to protect civilians, "preserve basic services such as hospitals, ensure full respect for worldwide humanitarian law".

She also said that "Russia has the power to stop the catastrophe looming in Idlib".

Feridun Sinirlioglu, the Turkish ambassador to the United Nations, made it clear that his country is opposed to an assault on Idlib.

"All members of the worldwide community must understand their responsibilities as the assault on Idlib looms".

Iran, Russia and Turkey previous year set up the Astana process, a negotiating track to end Syria's war that has largely eclipsed the UN-led peace process.

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Rebel-held Idlib province and adjacent rural areas, worn down by a succession of government victories in recent months.

About 3.5 million people are crammed into Idlib and the surrounding areas, at least half of whom have fled vanquished opposition areas.

According to USA officials who have cited intelligence reports, Syrian President Bashar al Assad has approved the use of chlorine gas in the upcoming military operations in Idlib, The Wall Street Journal reported September 9. "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.

Data on the resolution on Assad's use of chemical weapons were received by United States intelligence.

A second rebel commander said: "They are getting new shipments of munitions - they don't need more than munitions".

"We are extremely alarmed at the situation, because of the number of people and the vulnerability of the people", he said, warning that "civilians are severely at risk".

One source close to the White House told Al-Monitor that the United States administration was resigned to the Syrian offensive and acknowledged there were few options to stop it. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict and millions more displaced, according to the UN.