Turkish border closed as Syrians flee fighting in Idlib Province

12 September, 2018, 23:26 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Attack on Idlib could lead to worst loss of life this century: UN official

"All members of the worldwide community must understand their responsibilities as the assault on Idlib looms".

Since 2015, Idlib has been home to a complex array of anti-regime forces: secular rebels, Islamists, Syrian jihadists with ties to Al-Qaeda - and their foreign counterparts. "He's been warned and so we'll see if he's wised up", Mattis added.

UK's United Nations ambassador Karen Pierce said her country "strongly" agreed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's op-ed on Idlib published in the Wall Street Journal on Monday.

Yesterday, the United Nations warned that a large-scale military operation against Idlib could create "the worst humanitarian catastrophe with the biggest loss of life in the 21st century". Turkey has staked a major claim in Idlib as a way of staving off the chaos from its borders.

Meanwhile, Turkey, which already hosts three million Syrian refugees, is keen to prevent an assault that would see hundreds of thousands more mass along its border.

Some three million people live in the zone now, about half of them already displaced by the brutal seven-year war and others heavily dependent on humanitarian aid to survive. Syria, backed by Russian Federation, accuses numerous rebels of belonging to terrorist groups.

A Syrian rebel fighter watches smoke rising from an explosion in the northern countryside of the Idlib province, September 5, 2018.

President Bashar al-Assad has now set his sights on Idlib, and his forces have stepped up bombardment of the densely populated province since the beginning of the month.

People demonstrate against the regime and its ally Russian Federation, in the rebel-held city of Idlib, Sept. 7, 2018.

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


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called on Russian Federation and Iran to halt a looming "humanitarian disaster" in Idlib, saying Syrians there could not be left to the mercy of President Bashar Assad.

De Mistura's spokesman, Michael Contet, said in an email that any debriefing by the envoy about the meeting will be "reserved" for comments that he plans to make to U.N. Security Council next Tuesday.

"We will keep the refugees in Syria for the safety of both Turkey and European countries". In the past, Damascus allowed the PKK to use Syria as a base to attack Turkey. A senior security source said the army has reinforced 12 Turkish military posts inside Idlib itself.

"Arguably removing US force presence [in northeast Syria] allows the Assad regime to retake that territory, and of course, who comes with them?" Turkey can deal with Assad.

Intermittent artillery fire hit southern districts of Idlib province and adjacent rebel-held areas of Hama province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Other analysts say they are not completely convinced.

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.

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, 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. The talks appeared to end in deadlock over efforts to avert conflict in Idlib. Let's stop this civil war in Idlib.

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