Syria war: Idlib rebels targeted by 'fiercest raids in weeks'

Sunday, 09 Sep, 2018

"A possible attack on these military posts (in Idlib) or provocation by the Damascus administration or the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) and other organizations that act in cooperation with the regime will be met with an extremely harsh reaction from Turkey - just as it should be", wrote Karagolin the pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper.

The presidents of Turkey, Iran and Russian Federation on Friday failed to agree on a ceasefire that would forestall an offensive.

However, the summit's final communique made no mention of a ceasefire and when Mr Erdogan made a last-minute effort to insert the term into the text he was publicly rebuffed by Russia's president Vladimir Putin.

Putin icily retorted, "The armed militants are not present at our table, are not taking part in our talks".

It is full of fear and expectations and rumours.

Those Syrian ground troops would be backed by Russian aircraft as well as military logistics and elite forces provided by Syria's other major ally, Iran.

Mr. Erdoğan has long viewed Assad as illegitimate, wrote Ms. Aydıntaşbaş, in an ECFR analysis published Thursday, so "despite a begrudging acceptance of the regime's wartime gains over the past two years, Ankara is in no mood to facilitate Assad's victory in Idlib".

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the same death toll.

The United Nations has warned of a humanitarian disaster if Syrian and Russian forces push ahead with a full-scale assault on Idlib.

Washington says that the Syrian government forces may carry out a chemical weapons attack in Idlib and warned that such actions will have serious consequences. He said: "Millions will be coming to Turkey's borders because they have nowhere to go. Turkey has filled its capacity to host refugees".

USA officials have said they will defend themselves if attacked. "This can not be the way to resolve the Syrian conflict", the presidential aide said.

Progressive anti-war activists and commentators warned throughout the Obama years and during Trump's presidency that the US strategy in Syria was a slippery slope that would inevitably lead to ever-increasing engagement in a complex conflict and fuel perpetual war. Naji al-Mustafa, a spokesman for the Turkey-backed National Front for Liberation, said before the summit that his forces were prepared for a battle that they expect will spark a major humanitarian crisis.

Twice before the USA has resorted to missile strikes in response to chemical weapons attacks, only to see them used again.

Aid organisations have warned that any military campaign to retake the region of almost three million people on the Turkish border could spark one of the worst humanitarian disasters in Syria's seven-year war.

Furthermore, just past year, Brett McGurk - the US government's Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL (Daesh, ISIS) - called Syria's Idlib province "the largest Al Qaeda safe haven since 9/11, tied directly to Ayman al-Zawahiri [current leader of Al Qaeda]".

"These commanders, these units, will be held accountable by the global community", said Karen Pierce, the British ambassador to the UN.

"I think the last chapter of the Idlib story has not been written. We have to find a rational way out in Idlib that could meet our security concerns".