Published: Thu, September 06, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Iran seeks Idlib liberation with 'least humanitarian cost'

Iran seeks Idlib liberation with 'least humanitarian cost'

The US State Department also warned that Washington would respond to any chemical attacks by the Syrian government or its allies.

Several strikes against Syrian government or allied forces have in the past been attributed to U.S. forces, which were deployed with the declared goal of fighting the Islamic State (IS) group.

Assad has vowed to defeat the opposition in its last refuge in the province if the rebels do not surrender to government rule.

Pope Francis on Sunday, September 2, warned of a "human catastrophe" in the Syria's Idlib province, the last major rebel bastion which is being shelled by government forces.

Peskov also said the situation in and around Idlib Province will be a main item on the agenda when President Vladimir Putin meets in Tehran on September 7 with the leaders Iran and Turkey.

The top USA military officer warned on Tuesday that a major Syrian military assault on the rebel-held enclave of Idlib would lead to a "humanitarian catastrophe" and instead recommended more narrowly tailored operations against militants there.

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Hundreds of thousands of civilians in the Idlib area have nowhere to flee.

Syria's government is determined to retake Idlib, which it says is being held hostage by terrorists.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said "terrorists" must be wiped out in Idlib, accusing them of using civilians as human shields.

Idlib is one of the last major rebel enclaves in Syria and President Bashar al-Assad has sworn to recapture every inch of the country.

Zarif left early on Monday and "is at the moment in talks with Syrian officials", spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told reporters in Tehran.

Syrian President Assad's regime has moved armed helicopters closer to Idlib in recent weeks, according to two defense officials.

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The three countries have backed the Astana process for Syria and agreed to establish four de-escalation zones including Idlib.

"A rather large group of terrorists has entrenched itself there", Peskov said.

The Kremlin said Tuesday the Syrian army is getting ready to solve the problem of "terrorism" in the rebel stronghold of Idlib, apparently referring to a looming regime offensive.

However, the strongest set of fighters is led by an al Qaeda-linked group, which controls most of an area that is home to more than three million people.

Asked about Mr Trump's tweet, Mr Peskov said such warnings do not take into account "the risky and negative potential" of the rebel-held enclave and show that the White House does not have a "comprehensive approach" to solving the Syria crisis.

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