Turkey reinforces military in Syria's Idlib after ceasefire call fails

Iranian Foreign Minister's Special Assistant for Political Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari Russian President's Special Representative for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal and UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani back military action, despite a cease-fire call by their Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

A senior Syrian rebel said Turkey had sent dozens of armored vehicles and tanks, as well as hundreds of special forces personnel to Idlib, a move he said showed Idlib would not share the fate of the other rebel regions.

On Thursday, the Observatory said that 185 truckloads of weapons and military gears entered areas in Idlib from Turkey under the supervision of the Turkish forces, which maintain 12 observation points in Idlib and nearby Hama countryside.

The UN has warned that such an offensive would lead to the "worst humanitarian catastrophe in the 21st century".

The presidents of Turkey, Iran and Russian Federation met in Tehran last week but did not agree a ceasefire that would prevent an expected offensive.

At least 30,000 residents have already been displaced from northwestern Syria's Idlib province, the U.N. Secretary General's spokesman warned Monday.

Any attack on Syria's Idlib province is going to be "dealt with", U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley warned, as Washington seeks to stop the Russian-backed Syrian army from retaking the last remaining jihadist stronghold.


Mamdouh Abu al-Saoud, who fled with his wife and three daughters, said he anxious the fighting would only get worse. Both said the convoy was heading to two different observation points, one south of Idlib and another in the center. His family, along with brothers and cousins, arrived in the informal camp near Bab al-Hawa three days ago.

"We as humanitarian advocates must raise our voice", said Jens Laerke from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The Turkish deployment comes amid a lull in a concerted government and Russian aerial bombing campaign on the southern edge of Idlib.

Throughout the seven-year war, which has claimed more than 350,000 lives, Syrian regime forces have repeatedly been accused of targeting rebel-held areas with chemical attacks - mostly with chlorine but also with deadly sarin nerve gas. Civilians and fighters have poured in, shuttled out of towns and cities where Assad's military crushed rebels with the help of Russian Federation and Iran.

Located near the Turkish border, Idlib is home to almost two million internally displaced people, who fled from other cities following attacks by the regime forces. "A warplane struck my uncle's sheep".

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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