Friday, 16 November, 2018

Iran FM says 'terrorists must be purged' from Syria's Idlib

Blasts at Damascus air base after possible missile strike Explosions have been repored at Syria's Mazzeh military airport YouTube
Jay Anderson | 04 September, 2018, 20:12

Russian Federation said on Tuesday that the Syrian regime army is getting ready to solve the problem of "terrorism" in the rebel stronghold of Idlib, apparently referring to a looming regime offensive.

Seized from government forces in 2015, Idlib and adjacent areas form the last major chunk of territory still in rebel hands.

For President Bashar al-Assad, the defeat of rebels in the northwestern province would be a breakthrough in crushing active armed opposition, though other large areas remain beyond his control.

Spokesman Dmitry Peskov added: "We know that Syria's armed forces are preparing to resolve this problem".

According to a Syrian opposition aircraft observatory, so far a total of 20 attacks were carried out by three Russian warplanes, which took off from Hmeimim airbase.

The French Foreign Ministry is "ready to act" if Assad uses lethal chemical weapons, it said in a statement on Monday.

"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.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Moscow on September 3 that Syrian government forces had the right to "liquidate terrorists" in Idlib.




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.

Separately, the United Nations special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said he was "determined" to hold talks with high-level envoys from Turkey, Iran and Russian Federation on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, despite concerns that an offensive on Idlib may begin before then.

Earlier, Trump tweeted that in his opinion an attack on Idlib might result in hundreds of thousands of fatalities and it would be a major humanitarian mistake. "Don't let that happen!"

Towns and villages in the northern Idlib province, where Syria's rebels are holed up, came under intense airstrikes throughout Tuesday, killing at least eight people, according to a search and rescue group and a conflict monitoring group.

They are also home to some 3 million civilians.

Assad's forces and their allies have massed for an attack on Idlib, and the US and France have each warned that the Syrian dictator may resort to chemical weapons in the assault.

"Russia seeks to ensure not just the regime's military victory in Syria but its full political restoration through global re-legitimation at war's end".

"Frankly speaking, I don't think there's anything the United States can do about it".

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