Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Erdogan warns any Idlib attack will affect Europe

Erdogan warns any Idlib attack will affect Europe

Idlib is the insurgents' only remaining major stronghold and a government offensive could be the war's last decisive battle. Over two million people live in the zone now, hundreds of thousands of them already displaced by the brutal seven-year war and others heavily dependent on humanitarian aid to survive.

Assad has vowed to retake the region, backed by his Russian and Iranian allies.

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

"In order for our efforts to succeed, guarantees must be given to civilians and moderate opposition groups that they will not be targeted once they separate from terrorists", Sinirlioglu said.

On Friday, the presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey failed to agree during the Tehran summit on how to stave off military action on the northwestern province.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Syria and its backers Tuesday against launching a full-scale offensive in Idlib, saying the rebel-held province "must not be transformed into a bloodbath". "The United States followed through when we said that we would respond to the use of chemical weapons". "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.

He said 47 percent of those displaced have moved to camps, 29 percent are staying with families, 14 percent have settled in informal camps and 10 percent are in rented accommodation.

The talks in Geneva, under United Nations envoy Staffan de Mistura, come amid concerns about a looming battle for northern Idlib province - the last remaining rebel stronghold in Syria after seven years of war, which is home to three million civilians. "There is no military solution to the conflict".

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

"There is a lack of water storage capacity in numerous areas in which we operate, with just two or three days worth of water available to civilians", she told Reuters.

"In the space of less than a week, four hospitals have been hit in southern Idlib and neighbouring Hama governorate".

Russian Federation has repeatedly issued the same warning over the past weeks, and has submitted what Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says are "concrete facts" about an impending false-flag chemical attack to the U.S. government, the United Nations, and the OPCW (Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons).

"Our fear as humanitarians is that the worst may be ahead of us", the statement from Panos Moumtzis read.

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