Turkey renews call for ceasefire in Idlib

Turkey renews call for ceasefire in Idlib

Turkey renews call for ceasefire in Idlib

Idlib is the insurgents' only remaining major stronghold and a government offensive could be the war's last decisive battle.

Underscoring the necessity of preventing civilian casualties, he further called on Russia, Iran, the US, France and the United Kingdom as well as all other partners and actors in Syria to work together and find a peaceful solution. His comments echoed recent remarks by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In response, US President Donald Trump is considering military intervention which could involve targeting Russian or Iranian forces supporting Assad, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Turkish women protest against a Syrian military operation in the rebel-held Idlib province of northwest Syria in Istanbul, Turkey, Sept. 7, 2018.

Turkey has already taken in more than 3 million refugees from Syria and Ankara fears any large offensive will lead to a new influx of up to two million people from Idlib.

The United Nations has warned of a major humanitarian catastrophe if the offensive takes place in the enclave where some three million people live - about half of whom have already been displaced in the seven-year war.

Rebel sources said Turkey had pledged to take strong measures against the jihadists once Russian Federation holds back the Syrian army from waging a major assault.

In a direct warning to the Assad regime, President Trump said: "President Bashar al-Assad of Syria must not recklessly attack Idlib Province".

But there is a further obstacle; the strip of land between Turkey-controlled Afrin and Idlib is controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a former al-Qaeda affiliate. It wasn't clear from the latest intelligence if Mr. Assad also had given the military permission to use sarin gas, the deadly nerve agent used several times in previous regime attacks on rebel-held areas.

Smoke rises from a Syrian government airstrike, in Hobeit village, near Idlib, Syria, in a photo provided by the White Helmets on September 10, 2018.

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The US-led coalition, which earlier vowed to carry out an airstrike on Syria if chemical weapons are used in the province of Idlib, now says that a military operation will be a sufficient reason for a military action, Russia's United Nations envoy said on Tuesday.

In June, the member states of the OPCW, responsible for investigating the use of chemical weapons, voted on Wednesday to give it additional powers, aimed at holding accountable those who might use such weapons. "We can not leave the Syrian people to the mercy of Bashar Assad", Erdogan wrote. In the past, Damascus allowed the PKK to use Syria as a base to attack Turkey. Civilians and fighters have poured in, shuttled out of towns and cities where Assad's military crushed rebels with the help of Russian Federation and Iran.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Tuesday also called on global allies to work together in Syria's Idlib with efforts to prevent civilian casualties. Turkey can deal with Assad.

Haley further blamed Russian Federation and the regime for allegedly carrying out more than 100 airstrikes, some of which she said were "ruthless double tap" strikes targeting first responders. Soli Ozel, an worldwide relations expert with Istanbul's Kadir Has University, asked how Turkey could "have a war with the Syrian regime, if the Syrian regime is being supported by the Russians to the bitter end, and the Russians control the airspace?"

Let's stop this civil war in Idlib.

For the past 18 months, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been cultivating a deepening relationship with Erdogan, much to the angst of Turkey's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

"We had come (to Idlib) without anything", he said.

Analysts suggest Erdogan could be engaging in a high-stakes gamble, betting that Moscow and Damascus aren't ready to risk a clash with Turkey and could yet seek a last-minute diplomatic settlement over Idlib.

On Friday at a summit in Tehran, the presidents of Russia, Iran and Turkey could not agree on staving off military action in the province. The talks appeared to end in deadlock over efforts to avert conflict in Idlib.

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