United Nations chief pushes for protection of civilians in Syria's Idlib

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

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

Although the Foreign Minister did not specify where the meeting would take place, several local media outlets reported it would be held in Sochi, the Russian city that hosted a Turkey-Iran-Russia summit in November past year.

Idlib is the last remaining stronghold of various jihadist groups that once sought to overthrow the government of President Bashar Assad, with support from the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other regional powers. It said a military offensive could trigger the worst humanitarian catastrophe of the 21st century.

Already hosting 3.5 million Syrians - the world's biggest refugee population - Turkey says it can not absorb more victims of the war and has accused the West of abandoning it to face the consequences of President Bashar al-Assad's reconquest of Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are expected to meet in the Russian city of Sochi on Monday.

Four hospitals in Hama and Idlib have been hit by air strikes in the past week, constituting "serious attacks" that violate worldwide law, Moumtzis said.

Pahon said the US questions the continued presence of more than a dozen Russian warships off of Syrian Mediterranean coast, adding the ships must operate safely and abide by worldwide law.

The Turkish military, which is deployed across an arc of northwest Syria near Idlib with its rebel allies, has also set up 12 observation posts around Idlib this year. But the Turkish military did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Rebel sources told Reuters that Turkey has also stepped up supplies to the rebel forces in Idlib in recent days, including ammunition and rockets.

At least 30,000 residents have already been displaced from northwestern Syria's Idlib province, the U.N. Secretary General's spokesman warned Monday.

"It is in our interest for Syria to be a stable country".

"We will keep the refugees in Syria for the safety of both Turkey and European countries".

Senior officials from Russia, Iran and Turkey met with UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura in Geneva Tuesday.

Displaced Syrian children in the Hope camp at Kafaldin on the Turkish-Syrian border.

Turkey has said for months that jihadi fighters, who control several major towns in Idlib, should be specifically targeted to avoid the humanitarian consequences of an indiscriminate war.

"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. "The operation is not canceled, but we have time".

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