Turkey looks for diplomatic solution to avoid 'massacre' in Syria's Idlib

False-flag failure… US cuts to the chase to defend its terrorists in Syria

A warehouse which stored portable air-defence systems and drone launch zones for attacks on Russia's Hmeimim airbase and towns in provinces Aleppo and Hama were also targeted, he added.

A Syrian man rides a motorcycle past a destroyed building in an area that was hit by a reported airstrike in the district of Jisr al-Shughur, in the Idlib province, September 4, 2018.

Rebel-backer Turkey has held several rounds of talks with Moscow aimed at averting a major assault on Idlib, but the Kremlin on Tuesday dubbed the province a "pocket of terrorism" as Syrian troops massed near the region.

According to an excerpt from the book by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, the U.S. president told Defense Secretary James Mattis that he meant to assassinate the Syrian leader, after Washington accused the government in Damascus of a suspected chemical weapons attack against the militant-held village of Khan Shaykhun in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib a year ago. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported nine people killed.

The United Nations and aid groups have warned a military campaign could spark one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in a war that has already killed more than 350,000 people and displaced millions.

Damascus and its main backer, Moscow, have vowed to root out the jihadist groups that dominate Idlib province.

The White House said in a statement that President Donald Trump was monitoring the situation in the rebel-held Idlib province, where it said millions of innocent civilians are under threat of an attack by Assad's government.

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Despite these claims, Israel and the United States say Iran has been building its military presence in Syria, as well as transferring arms to its Shi'ite allies in neighboring Iraq.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also told Reuters that the situation in Idlib is of ongoing concern for Russian Federation.

Russian presidential advisor Yuri Ushakov described the meeting as "very important".

Friday's summit in Tehran between key power brokers Erdogan, Putin and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani is expected to determine the scope and timing of any assault on Idlib.

Since 2011, Assad's regime has repeatedly been accused of using chemical weapons, including this year in its battle to retake the former rebel bastion of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus.

She warned on Tuesday against the use of any chemical weapons in Idlib, after the White House pledged to "respond swiftly and appropriately" to any such attack.

Western countries rushed to blame the incident on Damascus, with the United States launching a missile attack against Shayrat Airbase in Syria's Homs Province on April 7, 2017.

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