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

Attack on Idlib could lead to worst loss of life this century: UN official

Attack on Idlib could lead to worst loss of life this century: UN official

A Syrian government offensive in the country's northern region of Idlib would cause humanitarian and security risks for Turkey, Europe and beyond, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday in an article in the Wall Street Journal.

However Russia's Syria envoy said on Tuesday it would be up to Turkey to separate terrorist elements from the moderate opposition. He also stressed the need to prevent civilian casualties. "Conventional weapons are responsible for far more deaths", he said.

Speaking at the UN Security Council meeting on the crisis in Syria, Mrs Haley said the "world has seen a clear military escalation" from Assad and his allies, whose militaries have conducted over 100 airstrikes in the Syrian province of Idlib.

Assad's regime has been repeatedly accused of using chemical weapons during the conflict and previous year US President Donald Trump unleashed Tomahawk missiles against the regime's Shayrat airbase following an attack that killed more than 80 people.

Last week's summit in Tehran between the three sides did not produce any agreement, as Iran and Russian Federation rejected Turkey's call for a continued ceasefire in the rebel bastion.

As Russia continues to bombard the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib from the skies, in support of the country's ruling government's campaign to retake territory, Washington is warning of retaliatory strikes.

Syrian, Russian, and pro-regime forces are now massing around Idlib, the last rebel stronghold in Syria, and the US government has intelligence that the Syrian government may again use chemical weapons.

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He said that the today's meeting of the guarantor nations' representatives also focused on the situation in the Idlib governorate.

"We've been hearing the regime and Russian Federation threaten to bomb us with chemical weapons", said Hadheefa al-Shahhad. "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.

There are also tens of thousands of rebels from Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army groups as well as millions of civilians - many already displaced from other parts of Syria.

On Monday, the head of the United Nations humanitarian agency, Mark Lowcock, warned that Idlib could see "the worst humanitarian catastrophe, with the biggest loss of life of the 21st century".

Turkey, which now hosts some 3.5 million refugees, has also said that it could not accommodate any more migrants if an attack on Idlib caused a new surge of refugees towards its border.

"More than two million of them came from other areas of Syria, some from Ghouta, some from Aleppo. Our fear as humanitarians is the worst may be ahead of us", said Laerke reading from the statement.

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