Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

United Nations warns of 'bloodbath' in Idlib as Putin's jets attack Syrian rebels

Explosions at a Syrian military airport close to Damascus Series of explosions reported at Syrian military airport
| 04 September, 2018, 20:11

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria must not recklessly attack Idlib Province.

Last week the United Nations envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said the Nusra Front and al Qaeda, both of which the worldwide body designates as terrorists, had an estimated 10,000 fighters in Idlib.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov attends a news conference of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in St. Petersburg, Russia May 24, 2018.

Russian Federation resumed air strikes against insurgents in Idlib province on Tuesday after a hiatus of several weeks, according to a Syrian rebel and a war monitor.

"Just to speak out with some warnings, without taking into account the very risky, negative potential for the whole situation in Syria, is probably not a full, comprehensive approach", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said at a press conference in the capital Moscow. Idlib is Syria's sole large region remaining in the hands of illegal armed groups.

"Two civilians have been killed, but no major facilities have been hit at the moment".


Turkey has expressed fears of a potential humanitarian crisis on its borders.

Elsewhere in his Tuesday remarks, Zarif also pointed to his last week's talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Istanbul as well as a planned summit of Iranian, Russian and Turkish presidents in Tehran and said efforts would be continued to "prevent any damage to the Syrian people and complete the process of clearing extremists".

On the opposite front, the USA - along with Israel and its other allies - has been backing the militant groups fighting to topple the Assad government. Ankara last week added Tahrir al-Sham to its list of designated terrorist groups. Iranian media also quoted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif saying during a visit to Syria that Idlib should be put back under the control of the Syrian people, and that reconstruction efforts in Syria and the return of refugees should go forward.

"Just to speak out with some warnings, without taking into account the very risky, negative potential for the whole situation in Syria, is probably not a full, comprehensive approach", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, apparently in reference to Trump's comment.

Last week, a source close to Damascus said the government was preparing a phased offensive to recover Idlib province, but Turkey, whose army has a string of observation posts around the edge of the rebel area, has warned against such an assault.

Earlier, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Russian jets bombed Idlib province after a 22-day pause.

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