Published: Thu, September 06, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

U.S. sees assault on Idlib as escalation of Syria conflict - Pompeo

U.S. sees assault on Idlib as escalation of Syria conflict - Pompeo

Among the main targets that could be struck if US President Donald Trump were to order a new round of airstrikes in the country are Syrian facilities alleged to be connected with chemical weapons production, CNN reported.

The explosions rocked the area in al-Ghab plains, south of idlib and came after rebels detected government troop movement in the area, according to Rami Abdurrahman, head of the war monitoring Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The minister said the attack took place without an investigation, saying "no one believes such narratives" anymore. According to reports, while Assad will be launching a ground offensive, Russian Federation is expected to support the regime from the air.

Pope Francis on Sunday warned of a "human catastrophe" in the Syria's Idlib province, the last major rebel bastion which is being shelled by government forces.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has warned Russian Federation that seeking a military solution in Idlib would cause "catastrophe" and trigger an new influx of refugees across its borders. Additionally, Turkey is liable at least in the short-term to maintain control over areas in the northern Syria near the shared border, whereas Iran continues to spearhead the fighting with some 80,000 foreign troops under the command of about 3,000 Revolutionary Guard Corps soldiers.

"The only thing that concerns us is the security interests of the State of Israel".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned of large-scale catastrophe for civilians in Idlib.

Developments in Idlib are accelerating and Damascus and its allies are ready to attack the terrorists.


Abdel Bari Atwan, an analyst of the Arab world, wrote: "The sudden emergence of Staffan de Mistura, the UN Special Envoy for Syria, and his position regarding the complex crisis in Idlib suggests a repetition of the eastern Aleppo scenario, with the difference that there will be no other Idlib situation afterwards".

Al-Moallem noted that a humanitarian corridor was set up through the Abu Al-Duhur air base in Idlib, adding that through that corridor hundreds of families left rebel-held areas in Idlib toward government-controlled ones.

In Jordan and Turkey the two envoys are expected to tell officials that the U.S. continues to believe a regime offensive in Idlib will escalate the crisis in Syria and the region, as well as offer praise and thanks for the two countries' work to help to alleviate the human suffering caused by the war.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will travel to Iran to meet with his Russian and Iranian counterparts Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani, state-run TRT Haber television said.

Zarif met with Assad in a surprise visit to Damascus on Monday ahead of the expected offensive.

While Russia and Syria in the past have often have referred to all of their armed opponents as "terrorists", in the case of Idlib, they appear to be making a distinction in a bow to Turkey, which provides backing for numerous more moderate Sunni rebels in the province and which has joined Moscow and Tehran in sponsoring Syrian peace negotiations in the past year.

Those areas were handed over to regime forces in surrender deals, with many opposition fighters and civilians bussed to Idlib. "Don't let that happen!"

Nevertheless, for the past two months, Idlib has remained the target of fierce air bombardments by Russian Federation and Assad regime forces.


The Observatory said Turkey-backed rebels blew up the bridges as part of their reinforcement around the stronghold.

Last year, they had designated Idlib as a "de-escalation" zone where violence would halt in preparation for a countrywide ceasefire. Pockets of the province remain under ISIS control.

More than 350,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since Syria's war started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

He said the move was meant to stage a gas attack on civilians and then blame it on the Syrian government as soon as it begins its long-anticipated operation to retake Idlib from the terrorists.

Russia, whose air support would be crucial for the offensive to succeed, should understand that a bloodbath in Idlib would jeopardize its own political goals, according to ICG.

"By backing an all-out offensive, Russian Federation risks undermining its long-term political objectives in Syria", ICG wrote in a nine-page briefing.

Earlier this year, the United Nations began sharing the Global Positioning System coordinates of health facilities with Russian Federation and the U.S. in a bid to protect them but four have been struck since.

Further Iranian engagement in Syria meanwhile risks drawing Israel deeper into the conflict. Israel rarely acknowledges such strikes, but has recently targeted suspected Iranian posts inside Syria.


But Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday signalled strikes could be extended to Iraq if necessary. But a new round of limited reprisals would not fundamentally alter the "US administration's military hands-off approach to Syria". "It must be clear".

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