Turkey talking to all sides in Syria conflict for Idlib ceasefire

UN chief pushes for protection of civilians in Syria's Idlib

A top U.N. humanitarian aid official for Syria says the United States, Russia and other powers have expressed a "common agreement" on the need for a peaceful way forward for the rebel-held province of Idlib.

Idlib's most powerful armed faction is the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) jihadist group, which Ankara officially designated a "terrorist" group last month.

Russia-backed regime forces have massed around Idlib in recent weeks, sparking fears of an imminent air and ground attack to retake the last major opposition bastion.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday a Turkish convoy entered from Kfar Lusin crossing in northern Idlib, heading to some of the 12 Turkish observations points that ring Idlib.

With help from his Russian and Iranian allies, Assad has recaptured almost two-thirds of Syrian territory.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan met with the leaders of Iran and Russian Federation last week in Tehran, but failed to win a ceasefire pledge.

Erdogan met with the leaders of Iran and Russian Federation last week in Tehran to discuss Syria, but failed to win a ceasefire pledge.

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But Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, in comments on Wednesday evening, indicated that there were continued contacts with Russian Federation and Iran for a diplomatic solution.

Others noted how neocons who cheered for the Global War Against Terrorism in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks were now painting Al-Qaeda militants in Idlib as besieged rebels.

Although it opened its doors to Syrians escaping the fighting in the early years of the conflict, Turkey has since built a wall along its 900 km (560 mile) border with Syria.

"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.

Turkish presidential aide Ibrahim Kalin said after talks with Russian, German and French officials in Istanbul that they agreed the consequences of an attack on Idlib would be severe and a refugee wave would impact not just Turkey but Europe too.

He also stressed that it's the responsibility of Turkey now to separate the terrorist groups from the moderate ones.

An estimated 3 million people live in Idlib, almost half of them having arrived there after being displaced by fighting elsewhere in Syria. "Specifically the munitions documented were built around industrially-produced Iranian artillery rockets known to have been supplied to forces commanded by the (Syrian) government", the report added.

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