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

US has seen evidence of Syria preparing chemical weapons in Idlib: envoy

Tehran and Moscow have helped Assad turn the course of the war against an array of opponents ranging from Western-backed rebels to the Islamist militants, while Turkey is a leading opposition supporter and has troops in the country.

And on Saturday, Syrian government and Russian warplanes targeted the province's southern edge in what activists described as the most intense airstrikes in weeks.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeated that warning Friday as a trilateral summit involving his country and Russian Federation, and hosted by Iran, appeared to end in deadlock over efforts to avert conflict in the Idlib enclave.

Eight European countries are urging Syrian allies Russian Federation and Iran to uphold the cease-fire in Syria's last major rebel-held province of Idlib and avoid putting at risk the lives of 2 million adults and 1 million children.

More than 60 air raids killed at least four civilians in southern Idlib, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and rescue workers.

The Observatory said shooting broke out when Kurdish security forces at a checkpoint demanded that regime fighters step out of their patrol vehicle but they refused.

State-run Al-Ikhbariya TV said the government was retaliating against overnight shelling from rebel-held areas on a government-held town in Hama province, south of Idlib.

Dunford has warned about the potential for a humanitarian catastrophe in Idlib and instead has recommended more narrowly tailored operations against militants there.

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Emma Ashford of the Cato Institute summed up the situation nicely: "In short, the Trump admin appears poised to commit us to a costly, unnecessary years-long commitment in Syria".

However, Russia and Iran said jihadist groups in Idlib must be wiped out. "Millions will be coming to Turkey's borders because they have nowhere to go".

"The Trump Administration and the global community have made it clear that there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict", Haley told the Council, which was to hold another meeting Friday on the crisis in Idlib.

"Any attack on Idlib will result in tragedy and the massacre of the civilians, . and 3.5 million people will be affected", he said. Yesterday, the leaders of Russia Syria and Turkey failed to come up with a plan to end the fighting immediately.

Those remarks capped a week of rising U.S. rhetoric opposing the Idlib operation.

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 rare flare-up in the Kurdish-majority city near the Turkish border saw 11 regime fighters and seven Kurds killed, the Kurdish security forces said. Clashes rarely erupt there over turf control and authority, and are usually a reflection of deepening political tension between the uneasy partners. This prompted the clashes that lasted no more than 20 minutes, Sheikmos said.

The Kurdish-led administration control almost 30 per cent of Syria, mostly in the north-eastern part of the country, including some of Syria's largest oilfields. When top officials pushed back, saying they needed time to ensure that ISIS wouldn't reemerge in the region, Trump reportedly relented, saying they could have five or six months to wrap up the mission.

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