United Nations chief calls for prevention of full-scale attack on Syria's Idlib - USA

Turkey deploys military vehicles to Syria

Turkey urged the worldwide community on Tuesday "to vocally and actively support" Turkish calls for a cease-fire in Syria's last rebel-held stronghold in neighbouring Idlib province where Syria and its allies have intensified attacks ahead of an expected offensive.

Erdogan wrote in The Wall Street Journal that the West has an "obligation to stop the next bloodshed" but that Moscow and Tehran, were "likewise responsible for stopping this humanitarian disaster".

Erdogan failed to secure a pledge for a ceasefire from Russian Federation and Iran at a trilateral summit in Tehran.

"The Syrian regime seeks to legitimize its operation on counter-terrorism grounds".

Last month, 14 moderate opposition factions unified under a single umbrella group dubbed the National Liberation Front (NLF).

A full-scale military offensive on Idlib risks creating the worst humanitarian tragedy of the 21st century, United Nations aid agencies have said, amid concerns that a severe funding shortfall threatens the most vulnerable victims of the conflict.

Russia's United Nations ambassador said "terrorists" can't be allowed to hold hundreds of thousands of people as "human shields" in Idlib where he said "tens of thousands" of fighters linked to al-Qaida, the Islamic State and other extremist groups are concentrated.

The Syrian regime recently announced plans to launch a major military offensive in the area, which has always been controlled by various armed opposition groups.

The Turkish army has also deployed in the last week more troops and heavy weaponary to 12 positions in the Idlib region that observe a "de-escalation zone" agreed with Iran and Russian Federation.


Turkey, which now hosts some 3.5 million refugees, has also said that it could not accommodate any more migrants if an attack on Idlib caused a new surge of refugees towards its border.

Assad's forces began amassing in the areas of Idlib already under its control and on its southern and eastern flanks.

Complicating matters, the Turkish armed forces also have several outposts in Idlib in support of rebel groups.

The ICC could investigate, however, through a U.N. Security Council referral.

The Idlib area forms part of an arc of territory in the northwest representing the last big area held by the opposition.

The powerful allegations come at a time when President Donald Trump and officials in his administration continue to warn Assad of potential consequences for using chemical weapons or otherwise attacking forces openly at war with his regime. "And no number of Security Council meetings will ever change that", said UN Representative Nikki Haley at a UNSC meeting on Tuesday.

The United States will use the "false flag" poisoning as a casus belli for retaliation, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Another camp for a further 20,000 people was being set up close to the border in northern Idlib near the city of Azaz, Bozkir added.

"The attack being prepared by the Syrian regime with Russia's backing is extremely risky", he added.

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