France warns Russia, allies of committing war crimes in Syria's Idlib

Iranian Foreign Minister's Special Assistant for Political Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari Russian President's Special Representative for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal and UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan

Iranian Foreign Minister's Special Assistant for Political Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari Russian President's Special Representative for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal and UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan

"All we've seen are the actions of cowards interested in a bloody military conquest of Idlib".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his call for Iran and Russian Federation to stop a looming "humanitarian disaster" in Syria's Idlib province.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said an all-out military assault on the last major stronghold of active opposition to President Bashar al-Assad could set 800,000 people to flight.

He warned that such an offensive would only "create further suffering, alienate and radicalize more Syrians" and "play into the hands of terrorists".

Syrian government and Russian warplanes began air strikes in Idlib last week in a possible prelude to a full-scale offensive.

The UN also noted on Monday that 30,000 Syrians were displaced inside Idlib from their homes in northwest Syria after the Syrian government and allied forces resumed air and ground strikes this week.

USA ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley issued a stern warning on the Syrian government, Russian Federation and Iran over military operations in Idlib.

Senior Turkish officials, who wished to remain anonymous, last week told MEE that Ankara feared that a new offensive in Idlib would disrupt its plans to send refugees now living in Turkey back to northwest Syria by the end of the year. He also stressed the need to prevent civilian casualties.

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Turkey is a leading opposition supporter which has troops in the country and has erected 12 observation posts around Idlib.

He said this requires time and patience and is what Turkey has been trying to achieve in its separation efforts in Idlib.

"Russia has the power to stop the catastrophe looming in Idlib", she said. "We will know that the Assad regime and its enablers are serious about a political process for peace in Syria not when they repeat their empty promises, but when they act".

Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Hassan Rouhani of Iran and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey held their third summit meeting on Syrian settlement in Tehran on Friday.

On Tuesday US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Assad has been well warned against any chemical weapons use in an anticipated assault on Idlib province.

"More than two million of them came from other areas of Syria, some from Ghouta, some from Aleppo".

Russia's Nebenzia responded saying attempts to separate the three Astana guarantors "will not be successful". Previously, an alleged chemical weapons attack in the town of Douma, 10km north of the capital, Damascus, was used as pretext for American, British, and French airstrikes against Syrian government targets in April, while an attack in the northern city of Khan Shaykhun in 2017 was also blamed on Assad, and triggered a U.S. missile attack in response. "We are on the eve of a considerable humanitarian and security catastrophe", Le Drian said. "There is no doubt that such provocations are being prepared", he added, noting that terrorist groups operating in Syria are on the defensive and are getting desperate, as the Syrian government's mission to combat and defeat the terrorist threat continues to make progress.

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