Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

United Nations chief calls for prevention of full-scale attack on Syria's Idlib - USA

United Nations chief calls for prevention of full-scale attack on Syria's Idlib - USA

Turkey is reinforcing its military posts inside Syria's rebel-held province of Idlib, Turkish and Syrian rebels sources say, seeking to deter a government offensive which it says would unleash a humanitarian disaster on its border.

According to the Russian defence ministry, Middle Eastern and USA television networks have already sent operatives into northern Syria to stage and film a fake chemical attack ahead of an expected Russian and Syrian government operation in Idlib, billed as the last major battle of the civil war.

According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, there is "no doubt" that Islamic militants with ties to Western intelligence agencies that are hostile to Assad's regime are planning a false-flag chemical weapons attack in Idlib province, the scene of fierce fighting between forces loyal to the Syrian regime and terrorist groups opposed to it. "It was noted that the situation there is really hard and every effort is needed to spare civilians from suffering", he stressed. The Syrian Network for Human Rights, known for its more conservative estimates, has verified over 6,000 civilian deaths caused by Moscow.

The intensive strikes resumed on Sunday, according to residents and rescuers, as Damascus stepped up its assault on the area after a Russian-Iranian-Turkish summit failed to agree on a ceasefire.

Russian Federation called for the council meeting to brief members on a summit it held with Iran and Turkey on military plans to re-take Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold in Syria.

"A tragedy that will occur in a possible [military] operation in Idlib is not only Turkey's problem but Europe's as well", Yildirim said. "This includes some 1.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), the majority of whom are women and children, who came to the region from other areas". After more than seven years of civil war, they face a familiar choice - get away as fast as you can, or stay put and risk death.

"Establishing and making this committee - which is on the agenda thanks to the Astana process - will bring a new dynamism to the political process", he said.

She told the Council: "If Assad, Russia and Iran continue down the path they are on, the consequences will be dire".

Haley, the United Nations envoy, again warned Assad and his allies that any assault on Idlib would be considered "reckless" by the USA and "the consequences will be dire". The Turkish army has also sent troops into Syrian rebel-held territory further east, in an area north of Aleppo city. "We are going to work towards that not happening", Ansari said as he arrived in Geneva for United Nations talks about setting up a Syrian constitutional committee. "We're talking about a terrorist operation".

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