Syria's FM stresses determination to recapture last major rebel stronghold of Idlib

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The United States appears resigned to the likelihood of a final military victory by Syrian government forces, even as it warns Bashar al-Assad and Moscow against launching a major offensive in the rebel-held northwest, analysts say.

Muallem said there was clear evidence that the USA was continuing to support terrorist groups like Daesh and Nusra Front, adding that the United States would certainly use a chemical weapons incident as a pretext to attack Syria.

Reminding Turkey's willingness to trade with its top trade partners like China and Russian Federation in local currencies instead of the USA dollar, Erdoğan said that Turkey was in the process of finalizing the move and added: "These last events have showed how right we are".

Idlib is adjacent to Latakia province, the coastal heartland of Assad's Alawite minority and home to the Russian military airport of Hmeimim.

According to Hüsnü Mahalli, a Syrian journalist living in Turkey and who has a variety of sources from the field, told Cumhuriyet newspaper the real problem regarding the Idlib crisis could be the foreign terrorist fighters among the native jihadists.

They include tens of thousands of rebels and civilians evacuated to Idlib from other areas recaptured by government troops.

"Russia seeks to ensure not just the regime's military victory in Syria but its full political restoration through global re-legitimation at war's end". But de Mistura continued to plead for protection for the millions of civilians who could be caught up in the battle.

"At our meeting with Nasr Al-Hariri, president of Syrian Negotiations Commission, we exchanged views on recent developments in Syria, including Idlib and also the period ahead concerning the political process", Cavusoglu said in a tweet. Thousands protested in various towns in Idlib and Hama, denouncing threats of an attack and hailing the area's readiness to fight. "The 3 million Syrians who have already been forced out of their homes and are now in Idlib will suffer from this aggression", he wrote in a Twitter post on Friday. Two points can be drawn from the words of the UN Representative for the Syrian affairs: first, the description of the Tahrir al-Sham (Jabhat al-Nusra) group as a terrorist group, which can be considered a green light to break them up and exclude them from any settlement plans.

There were also reports that terrorist factions in Idlib were literally setting the stage for a false flag chemical "incident". "If the Russians and the Syrian government attack Idlib, the door to Hell will open in the region because of all the Syrian dissident terrorists gathered in Idlib and its suburbs", said one of Syrian.

An attack on Idlib would be a "singular catastrophe", according to the Soufan Group, a New York-based company providing security analysis to governments and organizations. On Friday, however, Turkey officially declared the group a terrorist movement, a designation also used for the group by the United States and European Union.

Turkish, Russian and Iranian leaders are due to meet on September 7 in Iran and are expected to discuss the situation in northwestern Syria.

The UN and aid workers are bracing for disaster, warning that up to 800,000 people are in danger of renewed displacement if a government offensive gets underway.