Erdogan calls for Idlib ceasefire at Tehran summit

Erdogan calls for Idlib ceasefire at Tehran summit

Erdogan calls for Idlib ceasefire at Tehran summit

A shepherd was also killed and four other people wounded in the bombardment, the observatory said, although it was not immediately clear if they were fighters or civilians.

Turkey backs numerous rebel groups in the province but recently moved toward its negotiating partners in declaring that the Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, formerly known as the Al-Nusra Front, is a "terrorist organization" that should be eliminated.

While Turkish leader Erdogan proposed a ceasefire in the rebel-dominated bastion of Idlib in northwestern parts of Syria, President Putin affirmed that Russian Federation opposes the call for any truce with the rebels in the hope that the rebels opposing Assad's rule "would have the common sense to lay down their weapons and surrender".

"We never want Idlib to turn into a bloodbath", Erdogan told a Tehran summit in Damascus with his Iranian and Russian counterpar that is expected to determine the province's fate.

Russian Federation and Iran are Syria's top allies, and Turkey fears another refugee crisis along its border if Syrian forces attack Idlib. As part of the deal, they agreed to rout the former al-Qaeda affiliate, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, known as HTS, from the area. They said a military strike on Idlib would lead to a "humanitarian catastrophe".

"The illegal United States meddling in Syria is not in conformity with any global regulations and adds to the ongoing problems in that country while posing a serious challenge to the process to achieve sustainable peace in Syria", the Iranian president said.

As the conflict approaches its endgame, Iran, Turkey and Russian Federation are seeking to safeguard their own interests after investing heavily militarily and diplomatically in Syria.

"Any offensive is to us objectionable as a reckless escalation", Jeffrey told a few reporters in his first interview on the situation in Syria since his appointment.

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While U.S. President Donald Trump had signalled that he wanted American forces out of Syria, in April he agreed to keep troops there a little longer.

The Tehran meetings could determine the scale and the timeline of the Idlib offensive, which the United Nations has warned may displace 800,000 people.

Erdogan has warned against such a catastrophic outcome, and has much at stake in efforts to prevent it at the Tehran summit.

"We need to find a rational solution in Idlib that will address everyone's concerns". Russia, however, has accused Turkey of failing to act and has recently stepped up airstrikes in Idlib. He noted that there are many heavy armaments in Idlib. "There are a million children".

Iranian fighters have provided critical support for Assad throughout the war.

This comes as a summit is set to be held in the Iranian capital Tehran in the presence of the leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran regarding Syria.

Their previous meetings in Sochi and Ankara established so-called de-escalation zones in several areas, including Idlib, that temporarily reduced violence. Yet the goal remained to have the roughly 2,200 US troops in Syria exiting sometime this fall.

An AFP correspondent in Idlib saw convoys of families heading north, towards areas closer to the border with Turkey and less exposed to the launch of a major offensive.

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