Published: Fri, September 07, 2018

‘Have killed, are killing, will kill terrorists in Syria’: Russia

‘Have killed, are killing, will kill terrorists in Syria’: Russia

The province is the last bastion of rebel control after seven years of civil war, during which Assad, with extensive Russian and Iranian assistance, pounded opposition forces into submission.

"History's verdict on the conflict in Syria is not yet written".

"Any offensive is to us objectionable as a reckless escalation", Jeffrey told reporters. The three leaders whose nations are all under USA sanctions have an interest in working together, but Idlib is complicated and they have little common ground.

"God forbid, a serious massacre could take place if there is a rain of missiles there", said Erdogan, whose country has supported Syrian rebels.

The summit between Hassan Rouhani, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday may determine whether diplomacy halts any military action.

The three presidents were due to meet Friday as part of their efforts to return peace and stability to Syria which is gearing up for a decisive battle to expel terrorists from their last major urban stronghold.

Russian Federation will continue to kill "terrorists" in Idlib and elsewhere in Syria to bring back peace, the foreign ministry said Thursday.

The regime holds a small southeastern sliver. Humanitarian organizations have warned of an unprecedented level of civilian bloodshed, and Trump himself has threatened USA retaliation if an all-out offensive is launched, especially with the use of chemical weapons.

Idlib's dominant rebel faction is Tahrir al-Sham, an alliance spearheaded by al-Qaeda's formeraffiliate in Syria, the Nusra Front, though other groups are also present.

Idlib's population has swelled as the regime chalked up a series of victories in other parts of the country, reaching evacuation deals that saw tens of thousands of people bussed to the northwestern province.

"We have made very clear that by putting out innuendo that somehow any chemical weapon use coming up in the future could be ascribed to the opposition, well, we want to see the data", Mattis said.

Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, often backed by Russian warplanes, have steadily gained on the rebels.

Moscow has accused armed groups in Idlib of sending weaponised drones to attack the Hmeimim airbase that it uses in the adjacent province of Latakia.

Maas said Germany was also concerned about massive bloodshed and "looming humanitarian catastrophe" inside Idlib.

Just a day earlier, Peskov had slammed Idlib as a "pocket of terrorism".

United States Ambassador Nikki Haley addresses a UN Security Council meeting on Thursday. Trump and his top officials have called attention to the impending Syrian government offensive in recent days, warning the Syrian regime and its backers Russian Federation and Iran not to use chemical weapons or recklessly cause civilian deaths.

USA defence chief Jim Mattis later dismissed reports that fighters inside Idlib may hold such weapons. "We can not see anything that indicates the opposition has that capability".

The Treasury Department said it was targeting four individuals and five entities for facilitating weapons and fuel transfers to the Assad government, some of whom the USA accuses of being linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Rescue workers accused regime forces of killing more than 40 people with "poisonous chlorine gas" in the town of Douma in April.

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