ibusinesslines.com November 17, 2018

United Nations chief pushes for protection of civilians in Syria's Idlib

15 September 2018, 11:12 | Erica Roy

Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet Vladimir Putin in Sochi

Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet Vladimir Putin in Sochi

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday, officials said, amid rising worldwide concern over a looming Syrian government assault on a rebel-held province bordering Turkey.

Turkey, already hosting 3.5 million Syrians, says it can not take in another wave of refugees.

"We had come (to Idlib) without anything", he said.

"At the present time, as humanitarians, while we hope for the best, we are preparing for the worst", but "we are in no way ready for the worst-case scenario, if we were to see three million people head towards the Turkish border, in what would be a scenario that would exceed by far the capacity of all humanitarian organizations together", said Mr. Moumtzis.

The UN has warned a full-fledged assault on Idlib could create the century's "worst humanitarian catastrophe", sending thousands more fleeing.

U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said two weeks ago there were an estimated 10,000 fighters in Idlib designated by the United Nations as terrorists.

Roughly half of the displaced are staying in camps, Dujarric said.

He and "a number of experts" plan to take part in the meeting on Syria in Istanbul on September 14.

The opposition accuses Russian Federation and its allies of attacking hospitals and civil defense centers to force rebels to surrender in a repeat of earlier, large-scale military offensives in areas such as Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura at a meeting in Geneva
UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura at a meeting in Geneva

The rebels have held Idlib province since 2015, but a government offensive captured chunks on the eastern flanks of the province a year ago before Turkey began deploying its observation points and halting the advances.

"Turkey is open to cooperation with everyone regarding efforts to fight terror groups in Syria", he added.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres this week urged the regime to pull back and for all sides to find a peaceful solution, saying Idlib "must not be transformed into a bloodbath".

"We can not bring peace that way". The most powerful of these groups is Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra; it is an affiliate of Al-Qaeda, the terrorist organization the U.S. holds responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

Britain said it was clear the two men, who appeared on Russia's state-funded RT television station, were agents of Russia's GRU military intelligence who carried out the attack, and called their interview an example of "obfuscation and lies".

Ankara failed last week to win agreement for a ceasefire from Russian Federation and Iran, President Bashar al-Assad's main backers, but there has been a recent lull in air strikes and a pro-Damascus source indicated a ground attack may not be imminent.

Turkey stands to lose the most from a battle on its border that is sure to have a destabilizing effect on the country and areas it controls inside Syria.

Russia and Germany have reiterated their position on the Nord Stream-2 project, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference following talks with his German counterpart Heiko Maas.

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