Turkey boosts arms to Syrian rebels as Idlib attack looms

Lamar Ellis
September 14, 2018

He pointed out that Turkey, which supports the opposition groups in Idlib, has tried to dismantle the group in an attempt to avoid a military strike on Idlib.

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

"We're deeply concerned about this recent escalation of violence, which has resulted in the displacement of over 30,000 in the area".

Russian Federation will brief the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday about the results of the Tehran summit it held with Iran and Turkey on the fate of Syria's Idlib province, diplomats said.

At least nine people were killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"I am not going to tell the world ahead of time what we are going to do, it is just not my style", U.S. Defence Secretary Mattis told reporters in Washington on Tuesday. "The United States followed through when we said that we would respond to the use of chemical weapons".

Speaking at a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, Mark Lowcock, chief of the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said more than 30,000 people were already displaced by Russian and Syrian airstrikes and another 800,000 could soon follow, The Independent reported.

The offensive could lead to a humanitarian nightmare, as there are no more opposition areas left in Syria for people to flee to and borders are mostly closed to refugees.

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Guterres made the appeal after the Security Council remained divided over Idlib on Tuesday.

A former al-Qaeda affiliate, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, is believed to control more than half of Idlib, and elements in the group explained that it includes hundreds of Europeans, including dozens of British, Dutch and Germans.

"If the concern is the presence of terrorist groups, let's work together to eliminate them", Cavusoglu said at a news conference in Romania.

The escalating bombardment has already damaged civilian infrastructure.

A full-scale regime assault on Syria's last opposition and rebel-held province of Idlib would sabotage the ongoing political process, Turkey's presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said after a cabinet meeting chaired by President Erdogan.

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U.N. Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura began two days of talks in Geneva on Monday with senior officials from Russia, Iran and Turkey on forming a Constitutional Committee in Syria, but which were expected to be overshadowed by the Idlib crisis.

Moscow wants to keep rebels from using weaponised drones against Russian warplanes positioned nearby.

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.

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