Powers cite need for peace in Idlib — UN official

Over 30,000 Displaced from Idlib Already Syria Faces Worst Catastrophe of Brutal Civil War			AREF TAMMAWI  AFP  Getty Images		11 Sep 2018

Senior rebel officials said Turkey had sent more military aid to rebels in and around the Idlib region since a summit meeting with Iran and Russian Federation last week failed to agree a deal to avert a government offensive into the area.

Already hosting 3.5 million Syrians, Turkey says it can not take in more and has accused the West of abandoning it to the consequences of Assad's reconquest of Syria.

"President Erdogan will meet with Mr Putin on Monday", Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a televised press conference on Friday.

"We had come (to Idlib) without anything", he said.

The UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, called a meeting about the crisis with senior officials from Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Britain and the United States in Geneva on Friday.

"The Idlib province, as it was agreed one and half years ago, is a zone of certain responsibility of Turkey, the member of Astana process, and it's their responsibility to separate the moderate opposition from the extremists", Lavrentyev said.

Earlier this week, President Erdogan warned that a regime assault on Idlib could create serious humanitarian crisis, security risks for Turkey, rest of Europe and beyond.

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UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura at a meeting in Geneva on September 14, 2018. Turkey has also gathered forces on its own borders to deter Syrian civilians fleeing the fighting.

Erdoğan met with the leaders of Iran and Russian Federation last week in Tehran to discuss Syria, but a concrete ceasefire pledge did not came from the meeting.

He said the postponement of the military operation against the rebels in Idlib relies on "to what extent the worldwide community members could assist in the separation of moderate opposition from radicals in Idlib". He said the solution must be political.

President Bashar al-Assad has now set his sights on Idlib, and his forces and their Russian allies have since the beginning of the month stepped up bombardment of the densely populated province. The most powerful of these groups is Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra; it is an affiliate of Al-Qaeda, the terrorist organization the U.S. holds responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

Turkey stands to lose the most from a battle on its border that is sure to have a destabilizing effect on the country and areas it controls inside Syria.

Syrian activists are reporting that new military reinforcements have arrived to beef up Turkish observation points inside Syria's last rebel bastion Idlib as a Syrian government offensive looms over the crowded enclave.

Also on Friday, the Turkish news agency reported that a meeting between German, Russian, French, and Turkish senior officials was underway in Istanbul to discuss the situation in Syria.

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