Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Syria's Idlib 'must not be transformed into bloodbath': United Nations chief

Humanitarian crisis worsens in Syria as crippling assault on Idlib continues Idlib assault would lead to risks for Europe - Erdogan
Kenny Thornton | 14 September, 2018, 23:11

Participants in the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, held in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi on January 30, made a decision to establish a constitutional committee that will work on the country's new constitution together with United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

Damascus, backed by Iran and Russian Federation, is preparing a major offensive on Idlib and other areas of northwest Syria to bring them under regime control.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Erdogan said the West had an "obligation to stop the next bloodshed" but that regime allies Moscow and Tehran were "likewise responsible for stopping this humanitarian disaster".

In Geneva, the United Nations and Russian Federation are discussing a new Syrian constitution, far removed from Idlib, where constitutional rights are powerless to stop a bloodbath.

Feridun Sinirlioglu, the Turkish ambassador to the United Nations, made it clear that his country is opposed to an assault on Idlib.

Airstrikes and bombings would trigger a "massive wave of refugees and tremendous security risks for Turkey, the rest of Europe and beyond", he warned.

Turkey has renewed calls for global backing for a ceasefire in Idlib, telling the United Nations security council that an all-out assault on Syria's rebel-held province would trigger a huge wave of refugees and could threaten Europe.

De Mistura will meet on Monday and Tuesday with the guarantor countries of Astana process - Turkey, Russia, and Iran.

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About 3 million people live in the opposition-held area, which comprises most of Idlib province and adjacent small parts of Latakia, Hama and Aleppo provinces.

The Turkish leader also criticised Assad s bid to legitimise the fight in Idlib as a counter-terrorism operation.

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley issued a stern warning on the Syrian government, Russian Federation and Iran over military operations in Idlib.

"An operation would result in a massacre", Erdogan says. Such a response is especially likely due to the high visibility of the Idlib situation and Washington's multiple warnings about chemical weapons use.

More than 3 million people live in the rebel-held territory, almost half of them already displaced from fighting elsewhere in Syria.

Assad's regime has been repeatedly accused of using chemical weapons during the conflict and previous year US President Donald Trump unleashed Tomahawk missiles against the regime's Shayrat airbase following an attack that killed more than 80 people.

"All we've seen are the actions of cowards interested in a bloody military conquest of Idlib". "That's something we're monitoring very closely", OCHA spokesman David Swanson said.

A newly displaced Syrian child arrives with his family at a refugee camp in Atimah village, Idlib province, Syria, Sept 11, 2018. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict and millions more displaced, according to the UN.

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