Syria summit in Iran may decide Idlib military offensive

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"Any offensive is to us objectionable as a reckless escalation", he said, adding that "there is lots of evidence that chemical weapons are being prepared".

Government forces have been massing around Idlib for weeks ahead of an expected offensive on the province, which is held by jihadists led by Al-Qaeda's former Syrian affiliate and rival Turkish-backed rebels.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived Friday in Tehran for a key trilateral summit on Syria which could determine the fate of Idlib.

Worldwide calls for restraint grew Wednesday for Syria and its allies, Russian Federation and Iran, to avoid a bloodbath and humanitarian disaster in Syria's Idlib province.

While it's hard to be sure of the depth of Trump's engagement on Syria policy considering his quick reversals in recent months, he was part of an effort by USA officials this week to warn the Syrian regime and its allies not to use chemical weapons or target civilians as they prepare for an assault on Idlib province, the last rebel stronghold. Jeffrey said a United States response to a Russian assault would involve "all of our tools", but did not elaborate further.

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The Syrian military has been urging the rebels in Idlib to surrender.

Part of the motivation for this change is uncertainty about whether Russian Federation is willing or able to help get Iran - which along with Russian Federation is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's closest ally - out of the country.

"That Russia is seeking to plant false lies about chemical weapons use suggests that Moscow is seeking to deflect from its own culpability when these heinous weapons are used", Commander Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.

In an effort to increase pressure on Assad, the US Treasury Department announced Thursday it was imposing sanctions on four individuals and five companies that have facilitated weapons or fuel transfers, or provided other financial or material support, to his government.

It has carried out intense negotiations for weeks with Russian Federation.

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A handout picture taken and released on September 7, 2018, in Tehran by the Turkish presidential press service shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shaking hands with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Among them were positions of the jihadist Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) alliance, as well as of the hardline Ahrar al-Sham group, the Britain-based monitor said.

Russia, an ally of President Bashar al-Assad's regime, on Tuesday resumed air strikes on Idlib after a 22-day pause. "The Turks have shown a great deal of resistance to an attack".

According to the UN, Idlib is home to about 2.9 million civilians, including 1.4 million displaced from other parts of Syria.

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