30,000 Civilians Displaced from Idlib Province

UN chief pushes for protection of civilians in Syria's Idlib

Turkey arms rebels as Idlib prepares for Syrian onslaught

Most people made a dash for Syria's northern border with Turkey, with just under half seeking refuge in displacement camps, staying with local families or in rental apartments.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday that preparations are under way for Putin's meeting with Erdogan in Sochi on Monday.

The UN has warned that such an offensive would lead to the "worst humanitarian catastrophe in the 21st century".

"They did not differentiate between civilians and others", he told Reuters from a village near the Bab al-Hawa crossing with Turkey. The report added that "specifically, the munitions documented were built around industrially produced Iranian artillery rockets known to have been supplied to forces commanded by the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic". "There is no escape".

"The reality is. that Bashar al-Assad only wants a military victory and has started the offensive to retake the Idlib region with the support of Russian Federation", he said.

The issue of Idlib's fate has prompted intense diplomatic activity of late as Russian-backed Syrian government forces have continued to amass troops near the city of three million.

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Last Friday, the leaders of Iran, Russia and Turkey met in Iran for talks on Idlib and on the same day the UN Security Council held a session on Idlib.

Already hosting 3.5 million Syrians, Turkey says it can not take in more and has accused the West of abandoning it to the consequences of Assad's reconquest of Syria.

The Turkish military, which is deployed across an arc of northwest Syria near Idlib with its rebel allies, has also set up 12 observation posts around Idlib this year.

"What will we do? We will continue our efforts on global platforms as well", he said.

The province, population 3 million, is now the final shelter for close to 1.5 million displaced Syrians that fled fighting in other parts of Syria.

Germany's foreign minister is pressing his Russian counterpart to prevent potential chemical attacks by the Syrian government and raising concerns over civilian casualties ahead of an expected government offensive to retake Syria's last opposition-held province.

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"We hope it won't happen. we hope it will not be needed", Moumtzis, speaking in Geneva, said.

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.

"While President Trump & VP Pence give 9/11 speeches about how much they care about the victims of al-Qaeda's attack on our country, they are simultaneously acting as protectors of AQ in Syria/Idlib, threatening Russian Federation and Syria that if they attack al-Qaeda, we will punish them", Gabbard tweeted.

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

He said entire villages were emptied.

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