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Putin in Tehran as Damascus prepares final offensive
September 7, 2018, 10:04 am

Rouhani, Putin and Erdogan – who have met several times in the past year to discuss Middle East tensions – say the end of the war in Syria is at hand [PPIO]


Leaders of Iran, Russia and Turkey are due to meet in Tehran today to discuss ways to bring the Syria war to an end without further bloodshed.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and upreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are hosting Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as Syrian forces prepare to attack the northwestern province of Idlib in Syria, currently under Islamist extremist control.

Idlib is considered the last major territory under the control of a number of extremist groups, chiefly Tahrir Al Sham, an Al-Qaeda affiliate, estimated to be about 30,000.

But Idlib is also home to some three million civilians and the UN has warned of a humanitarian catastrophe if the Syrian government goes ahead with plans to retake the area.

They have warned of mass civilian casualties and a new refugee exodus of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children.

On Thursday, the Russian and Syrian air forces launched a number of raids on Idlib.

Turkey says it wants to de-escalate from the war footing and has called on Russia and Syria to halt what it called “carpet bombing” of Idlib.

The Russians say that the offensive on the province would be planned with pinpoint accuracy to avoid civilian casualties.

Turkey says it will push during the Tehran talks for a coordinated strategy with Iran and Russia to remove the extremist groups from Idlib.

The US has warned it will take swift action if the Syrian government uses chemical weapons.

The US says it believes there is “lots of evidence” that the Syrian government is planning to use chemical weapons in Idlib, although most military experts see no military advantage in using these banned armaments.

“Any offensive is to us objectionable as a reckless escalation,” Special Adviser to Syria Jim Jeffrey said. “There is lots of evidence that chemical weapons are being prepared.”

But Russia maintains that the Syrian government has a right to forcefully remove the extremist groups in Idlib after efforts to garner their surrender failed.

Moscow has also been warning of a planned false flag operation in the besieged city of Idlib in northwestern Syria allegedly to be carried out by Islamist extremists.

The warning comes as Syrian Army forces reinforce their positions around the city.

Earlier in the week, Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov, met with US State Department officials in Washington to share intelligence reports gathered by Russia of this imminent false flag operation. However, he said the US side rejected the intelligence.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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