Russia Confirms Air Strikes on Syria's Idlib

Charlene Craig
September 7, 2018

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, said Wednesday that he hoped to use the meeting to reach a deal and prevent an all-out attack on the border province.

Russian Federation first intervened in Syria in 2015, helping to turn the tide of the civil war in favor of President Bashar Assad's forces.

The area in northwest Syria is home to some 3 million people - the majority of whom were displaced from other regions - as well as an array of Sunni rebels dominated by Islamist militants linked to al-Qaeda.

The streets of Tehran were quiet on Friday, the second day of the Iranian weekend.

A former Iranian diplomat, Ali Akbar Farazi, told IRNA the summit shows that solving regional issues "in a fair way that agrees with the interests of all sides" remains important for the three countries.

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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.

It has also created border security zones in northern Syria and has several hundred troops deployed at 12 observation posts in Idlib.

Naji Al-Mustafa, a spokesman for the Turkey-backed National Front for Liberation, said Friday his fighters were prepared for a battle that they expect will spark a major humanitarian crisis.

On Friday morning, Russian air raids targeted rebel positions in the southwest of the province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Sources said he cautioned that he didn't want to hear in October that the military hadn't been able to fully defeat ISIS and needed to stay.

A United Nations team takes samples from the scene of a suspected chemical weapon attack, in the Damascus countryside in August 2013.

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The final statement of the summit between Russia, Turkey and Iran has already been finalized by senior representatives from the countries, according to Hossein Jaberi Ansari, Iran's top negotiator in the discussions.

All three nations face sanctions from the USA under the administration of President Donald Trump.

They were meeting to discuss the situation in Idlib amid concerns that an expected government offensive in the northwestern province would cause severe bloodshed, major civilian casualties, and a humanitarian catastrophe.

"The Trump Administration and the global community have made it clear that there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict", Haley told the Council, which was to hold another meeting Friday on the crisis in Idlib.

One of the newly sanctioned individuals, Muhammad al-Qatirji and his company Qatirji Company, maintain "strong ties to the Syrian regime and facilitates fuel trade between the regime and ISIS, including providing oil products to ISIS-controlled territory", according to information provided by the Treasury Department, which oversees and enforces sanctions.

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"The fight against terrorism in Idlib is an indispensable part of the mission to return peace and stability to Syria, but this fight should not harm civilians and lead to a "scorched-earth" policy", Rouhani said.

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