Turkish President Erdoğan urges ceasefire in Idlib to avert ’bloodbath’

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A handout picture taken and released on September 7, 2018, in Tehran by the Turkish presidential press service shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shaking hands with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

The northwestern province along the Turkish border is the last major part of Syria in rebel hands.

Putin noted that "all our agreements on Syria have been always based on the fact that we seek and will continue seeking reconciliation of all conflicting sides and we have always left aside terrorist organizations".

Putin - travelling with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, and foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov - met with Erdogan before the trilateral talks.

Northwestern Idlib province and surrounding areas are home to about three million people - almost half of them civilians displaced from other parts of Syria.

The attacks were carried out after the USA government urged the Syrian government, which is assisted by Russian Federation and Iran in its civil war, not to attack the rebel stronghold where approximately 3 million people live.


The spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry is calling a summit on Syria between Iran, Turkey and Russian Federation an "invaluable opportunity".

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.

Al-Watan, a Syrian newspaper close to the government, reported Monday the military operation could "immediately follow the summit".

Activists and residents say warplanes have struck areas on the southern edge of the Syrian Idlib province, the rebels' last bastion, killing one and causing loud explosions and large plumes of smoke.

Among them were positions of the HTS and Ahrar al-Sham groups, the observatory said.

Assad's government has been massing thousands of troops in preparation for an assault.


As the conflict approaches its endgame, Iran, Turkey and Russian Federation are seeking to safeguard their own interests after investing heavily militarily and diplomatically in Syria.

The Turkish leader put forth his views, stating that the continuation of attacks on Idlib might lead to a collapse of the ongoing political process in Syria.

Western powers, which never formally entered the conflict other than to back Kurdish-led militias instrumental in ousting the extremist group Islamic State (IS) from its northern stronghold in 2017, have largely watched the brewing battle in Idlib from the sidelines. Over the past week Russian Federation has warned that a chemical weapon provocation is being prepared in Idlib to be further used by the West as a pretext for a new strike on the Arab Republic.

Though President Donald Trump has previously expressed a desire to pull U.S. forces out of Syria, Jeffrey said the President "is on board" with the new approach.

America's ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has warned any military offensive in Idlib "would be a reckless escalation".

Erdogan has warned against such a catastrophic outcome, and has much at stake in efforts to prevent it at the Tehran summit.


Erdogan continued by saying that a rational solution in Idlib that will address everyone's concerns needs to found. Russia, however, has accused Turkey of failing to act and has recently stepped up airstrikes in Idlib. And Turkey has sought to separate some of Idlib's more moderate fighters from the hardcore Islamist militants affiliated with al-Qaeda.

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