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The province and its surrounding areas are the last major enclave held by rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. President Tayyip Erdogan has warned of a humanitarian disaster and security risks for Turkey.

Never mind that independent United Nations investigators have previously proved that the Syrian regime, backed by Moscow's political and military machine, have carried out chemical attacks that have killed hundreds of civilians around the country.

However Russia's Syria envoy said on Tuesday it would be up to Turkey to separate terrorist elements from the moderate opposition. "It was noted that the situation there is really hard and every effort is needed to spare civilians from suffering", he stressed.

He warned that such an offensive would only "create further suffering, alienate and radicalize more Syrians" and "play into the hands of terrorists".

De Mistura's talks Tuesday came as top United Nations officials were expressing deep concern about the humanitarian consequences of an expected assault on Idlib, where an imminent offensive by the Syrian forces, aided by Russian Federation, is likely to take place.

Britain and France backed the call for a ceasefire, recalling that these had been agreed under arrangements for a "de-escalation zone" in Idlib that were overseen by Russia, Iran and Turkey.

Turkey is backing rebel groups and has troops in the country's north.




UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura on Tuesday continued to meet diplomats from Iran, Russia and Turkey in Geneva to discuss the process of moving forward to end the Syrian conflict with constitution-related discussions.

"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.

But while Erdogan had also called for a truce, Putin said this would be pointless as it would not involve the Islamist militant groups that Russian Federation deems terrorists, and Rouhani said Syria must regain control over all its territory. Between 700 and 1,200 of those killed by Russian Federation died during the brutal campaign to reclaim eastern Ghouta earlier this year, according to the non-profit Air Wars, a campaign that also saw the Syrian regime use chemical weapons in the town of Douma.

And Haley warned Assad and his allies for a second time that any assault on Idlib would be considered "reckless" by the US and "the consequences will be dire".

Roughly half of the displaced are staying in camps, Dujarric said.

"The president expects us to have military options in the event that chemical weapons are used", Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford said Saturday, "We have provided updates to him on the development of those military options".

"More than two million of them came from other areas of Syria, some from Ghouta, some from Aleppo. Let us make no mistake: such an operation would not achieve the stated goal", he told the Security Council.


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