Turkey’s Erdogan warns against ‘bloodbath’ in Syria’s Idlib; calls for ‘ceasefire’

Syrian President Bashar al Assad attends an interview with Russian television channel NTV

America's ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has warned any military offensive in Idlib "would be a reckless escalation".

The 2,200 or so troops now stationed in Syria will stay, even though their stated primary goal of ousting ISIS "has almost been completed", notes The Washington Post.

Citing senior State Department officials, the Post reported that the strategy has changed because of growing doubts on if Russian Federation is willing and able to expel Iranian forces from the war-torn nation.

Putin pushed for a muscular military response to crush rebel fighters in Idlib, calling at one point for the "total annihilation of terrorists in Syria".

The warning comes as the United Nations urged Russian Federation - a key supporter of Assad that has complained about militants in Idlib targeting its own facilities - and Turkey to help avert a "bloodbath" in the rebel-held province.

The president said Turkey has been making efforts to help end bloodshed in Syria since the beginning and that his country does not want any Syrian brother to even suffer a "nose bleed".

The battle for Syria's Idlib province looms large in what could prove to be the bloodiest conflict yet in this long and painful civil war.

Diplomatic traffic has intensified lately on the negotiations on Idlib, amid rising concerns in the worldwide community due to an imminent offensive by the Syrian regime. Moscow, however, has called Idlib a "nest of terrorists", the word it uses to refer to the rebels. His comments evoked past USA warnings about Syrian military activities and the regime's use of chemical weapons, which has previously triggered United States military strikes against Syrian targets. "There is lots of evidence that chemical weapons are being prepared".

Russia, Turkey and Iran are seeking to end violence in Syria and facilitate negotiations between its government and opposition groups, which agree to cease hostilities and seek a political transition for their country.

Iran wants to keep its foothold in the Mediterranean state neighbouring Israel and Lebanon. Turkey, which backed opposition forces against Assad, fears a flood of refugees fleeing a military offensive and the destabilization of areas it now holds in Syria. Russian Federation wants to maintain its regional presence.

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Syrian government warplanes struck the last rebel-held province of the country Tuesday.

A major assault would be devastating for the almost three million people living in the northwestern province, many of them rebels and civilians who were moved out of other areas as they came back under regime control.

"Al-Qatirji and his company have been found to be working with ISIS militants and also maintain a strong working relationship with multiple officials within the Government of Syria", according to the announcement.

A general view taken with a drone shows part of the rebel-held Idlib city, Syria, June 8, 2017.

"But at the same time they made it clear that rebuilding Syria and getting refugees back to Syria has to be an global effort".

For Turkey, the stakes couldn't be higher. The country hosts 3.5 million Syrian refugees and has closed its borders to newcomers. It has also created zones of control in northern Syria and has several hundred troops deployed at 12 observation posts in Idlib.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on sources in Syria for its reports, said at least nine civilians - including five children from the same family - were killed in the raids, while 10 people were wounded.

Syrian and Russian forces stand guard as civilians enter the Abu Duhur crossing on the eastern edge of Idlib province, on August 20, 2018.

Elsewhere in his address, Rouhani said joint efforts made by regional and world countries as well as the United Nations have contributed to almost ending war and bloodshed in Syria, stopping acts of terror in the country and preventing their long-term regional and worldwide consequences.

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