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Turkey is working to reach ceasefire in Syria's Idlib: foreign minister

15 September 2018, 11:12 | Devin Moran

A convoy of Turkish military trucks carrying tanks heads past the town of Kilis yesterday bound for Syria Resit Celebioglu DHA /AP

A convoy of Turkish military trucks carrying tanks heads past the town of Kilis yesterday bound for Syria

The lion's share of the rest is the Kurdish-controlled northeast.

"More than 10,000 rebels in that province are believed to be aligned with Al-Qaeda".

"It appears that the Russians and the Assad regime have temporarily looked the other way", said one of the sources, Colonel Mustafa Bakour, a commander in the Jaish al-Ezza rebel group. With nowhere left to go, some might opt to fight till death rather than surrender.

Hulusi Akar, the Turkish defense minister, said a military operation in the densely populated rebel enclave would drag the already problematic region toward disaster.

The UN said as many as 800,000 people could be displaced by the assault on Idlib and the surrounding areas. They say the province is home to terror groups.

A full-scale air and ground offensive is likely to send waves of refugees surging toward the sealed Turkey border, coinciding with the onset of winter.

Turkey, which backs the anti-Assad opposition, has been warning Assad and his allies against attacking Idlib.

Even a partial offensive focusing on specific areas of Idlib could displace hundreds of thousands of people and cut off aid access to the province.

"They did not differentiate between civilians and others", he told Reuters from a village near the Bab al-Hawa crossing with Turkey.

Displaced Syrian children in the Hope camp at Kafaldin on the Turkish Syrian border. Thousands of civilians have fled ahead of the Syrian army attack
Turkey is working to reach ceasefire in Syria's Idlib: foreign minister

A United Nations commission has called for Syrian opposition groups to leave urban areas in the northern province of Idlib in order to prevent an attack from the Syrian government and its allies.

The US has struck Syria twice after claims of chemical weapons use by the government in Damascus, Haley said on Wednesday in a Fox News interview.

The U.S., Britain and France launched a missile attack in April to punish President Bashar Assad for another chlorine attack that they blamed the government.

Turkey has set up 12 such posts around Idlib under a de-escalation agreement reached past year with Russian Federation and Iran.

According to the report, Turkey was represented by Ibrahim Kalin, Mr Erdogan's special adviser; Germany by its national security adviser John Hacker; France by Philipe Etienne, senior diplomatic counselor for French President Emmanuel Macron; and Russian Federation by Yuri Ushakov, senior adviser to Mr Putin. The U.N. has warned that a battle will spark a humanitarian catastrophe.

Turkey's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and Chief of Military Staff Yasar Guler on Friday visited the provinces of Hatay and Gaziantep bordering Syria where the country has reinforced troops in recent weeks.

Earlier this week, President Erdogan warned that a regime assault on Idlib could create serious humanitarian crisis, security risks for Turkey, rest of Europe and beyond. He said it would amount to "indiscriminate attacks to wipe out its opposition and not a genuine or effective campaign against terrorism".

Russian Federation has accused the White Helmets of staging a chemical attack in Idlib in order to provoke a Western military intervention in Syria. This would supposedly bring the group more under Turkish control and make it easier to deal with.

Lavrov promised: "We will establish humanitarian corridors, set up ceasefire zones and we are doing everything to ensure that the civilian population would not suffer".






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