Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Russian Federation claims Syria rebels 'staging chemical attack'

Russian Federation claims Syria rebels 'staging chemical attack'

In an article in the United States daily Wall Street Journal published on Tuesday, Erdogan echoed the UN's concerns on a potential humanitarian crisis, adding that an attack on the last rebel-held province would affect Turkey, Europe and beyond.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged the worldwide community to prevent a Syrian government offensive in Syria's Idlib, as the United Nations says it fears the century's "worst humanitarian catastrophe" there.

The US has conducted two recent high-profile airstrikes in Syria in response to alleged chemical weapons attacks, once in April 2017 and again in April of this year.

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari, Russia's special envoy on Syria Alexander Lavrentiev, Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal, and U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura attend a meeting during consultations on Syria at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland September 11, 2018.

Other aid organisations also operate in the area, but their support is mostly limited to providing supplies to civilians already living in the existing border camps.

He warned that such an offensive would only "create further suffering, alienate and radicalize more Syrians" and "play into the hands of terrorists".

On Tuesday US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Assad has been well warned against any chemical weapons use in an anticipated assault on Idlib province.

Idlib is one of the four "de-escalation zones" in Syria agreed under a deal reached past year by Iran, Russia and Turkey in Kazakhstan's capital Astana.

Russian Federation and Iran want to eliminate what they call "terrorist groups" in the province neighbouring Turkey.

Government forces, backed by Russian Federation and Iran, have been massing troops for weeks in preparation for an attack on Idlib province that is the last major rebel stronghold in the country.

He said that the today's meeting of the guarantor nations' representatives also focused on the situation in the Idlib governorate.

But he stressed that "there are 100 civilians, majority women and children, for every fighter in Idlib". "The consequences of inaction are vast". Between 700 and 1,200 of those killed by Russian Federation died during the brutal campaign to reclaim eastern Ghouta earlier this year, according to the non-profit Air Wars, a campaign that also saw the Syrian regime use chemical weapons in the town of Douma.

"We have a collective responsibility to protect people who have already suffered too much", he said.

Turkey, fearing an influx of refugees in the event of a major assault, has repeatedly warned against a "massacre" in this last stronghold of the Syrian opposition. It said that followed a US request to the chancellery. They are believed to be holding them in the Safaa area. "We're talking about a terrorist operation".

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