Syrian President May Have Approved Gas Attack In Idlib


It was the second day of bombardment on the jihadist and rebel-held province and adjacent areas, after key powerbrokers in Tehran failed to reach a deal to avert a government assault. But Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a "total annihilation of terrorists in Syria", while Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke of "cleansing the Idlib region of terrorists".

Aid organisations have warned that any military campaign to retake the region of almost three million people on the Turkish border could spark one of the worst humanitarian disasters in Syria's seven-year war.

"Regime helicopters dropped more than 60 barrel bombs on the village of Hobait in Idlib's southern countryside, killing at least one young girl" and wounding six other people, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

SOHR said that Jeish al-Islam has started deploying militants in more than ten contact points with the Syrian Army in Tadif in Northeastern Aleppo after coordination with Ankara-backed Ahrar al-Sharqiyeh.

But he stressed that "there are 100 civilians, majority women and children, for every fighter in Idlib".

Some three million people live in the zone now, about half of them already displaced by the brutal seven-year war and others heavily dependent on humanitarian aid to survive.

A leading United Nations official warned on Monday that a Syrian regime offensive on an opposition province could spark the "worst humanitarian crisis" of the 21st century.

"Any attack on Idlib would result in a catastrophe". But the Pentagon pushed for a more measured response, US officials said, and the idea was eventually rejected as too risky.

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Mr Putin said Damascus "has a right and must eventually take under control all of its national territory", while Mr Rouhani warned against a "scorched earth" policy but said "fighting terrorism in Idlib is an unavoidable".

Jeffrey, the new Syria envoy, and Joel Rayburn, the State Department's deputy assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs, likely worked hard in recent weeks to convince the president that maintaining a longer-term US presence in Syria is crucial to keeping Russian and Iranian influence in the region at bay, Dalton said.

Back home, and having signed a joint communique that excluded his demands, Erdogan promised that Turkey would not "allow any faits accomplis under the pretext of fighting terrorism", without further elaboration or how his administration would stop Russian Federation and Iran in Syria. Up to 30,000 rebel and jihadist fighters are thought to be entrenched in Idlib province. Turkey is a leading opposition supporter which has troops in the country and has erected 12 observation posts around Idlib.

The US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley warned on Friday of dire consequences if Idlib was attacked.

"We urge Russian Federation to consider its options carefully. Work with us and the United Nations to find peace at last for Syria". In late July, it opened talks with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. Occasional clashes erupt there over turf control and authority, reflecting deepening political tension between the uneasy partners. Many fear conscription or arrest.

It further said that Jeish al-Islam set up a large base in the town of Afrin after retreating from Eastern Ghouta, adding Jeish al-Islam stationed its fighters in Afrin base.

There was no immediate comment on the clashes by the government. "We're deeply concerned about this recent escalation of violence, which has resulted in the displacement of over 30,000 in the area".

The Kurdish-led administration control almost 30 percent of Syria, mostly in the northeastern part of the country, including some of Syria's largest oil fields.