Turkey urges global support for cease fire in Syria's Idlib

Bolton promises ‘much stronger’ response if chemical weapons used in Syria

Bolton promises ‘much stronger’ response if chemical weapons used in Syria

Both Turkey and the United Nations have warned of a massacre and humanitarian catastrophe involving tens of thousands of civilians in the event of a full-scale offensive.

Erdogan had called for a truce in an attempt to avoid a full-scale Syrian government assault on Idlib.

Turkey's president warned of a humanitarian disaster if a Syrian government offensive on the rebel enclave of Idlib goes forward. "I make a clear appeal to all parties directly and indirectly involved - and in particular the three guarantors of the de-escalation zone, namely Iran, Russia and Turkey: Spare no effort to find solutions that protect civilians".

Air strikes and bombings will trigger a "massive wave of refugees and tremendous security risks for Turkey, the rest of Europe and beyond", he warned.

Senior Turkish officials, who wished to remain anonymous, last week told MEE that Ankara feared that a new offensive in Idlib would disrupt its plans to send refugees now living in Turkey back to northwest Syria by the end of the year.

Turkey, Russia and Iran past year set up the Astana process, a negotiating track to end Syria's war that complements the UN-led peace process. "We will see them finding a secure place on the border and create their own living areas if the operation starts".

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said the Trump administration hasn't seen "any actions to indicate that Russia, Iran and Assad are interested in a political solution".

During what was the second session on Idlib in four days, Haley told the council that "the world has seen a clear military escalation" this month by Russian Federation and the Syrian regime, whose forces have conducted more than 100 airstrikes, using "barrel bombs, rockets and artillery" in an attempt to retake the last rebel holdout after more than seven years of war.

"Russia has requested an open session of the UN Security Council, bearing in mind the interest demonstrated by a number of Security Council members to the results of the Russia-Iran-Turkey summit". Many have previously refused to surrender to the regime.

She also said that "Russia has the power to stop the catastrophe looming in Idlib".

A top United Nations official warned Monday that an attack on rebel-held parts in Syria's Idlib in coming months could lead to this century's worst loss of life as government forces pounded the area from the air and ground.

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

On Saturday, the "most violent" Russian air strikes in weeks hit southern and southeastern areas of Idlib, leaving four civilians dead according to the UK-based war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

OCHA spokesman David Swanson told Reuters that as of Sunday, 30,542 people had been displaced from northwest Syria, moving to different areas across Idlib.

"In Idlib, we're watching very closely what the Assad regime, aided and abetted by the Iranians and the Russians are up to", Mattis told Pentagon reporters.

A newly displaced Syrian child arrives with his family at a refugee camp in Atimah village, Idlib province, Syria, Sept 11, 2018.

Some three million people are living in Idlib, half of them Syrians who have fled from other parts of the country.

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