Syria's Idlib 'Cannot Be a Slaughter'

Syrian President Bashar al Assad attends an interview with Russian television channel NTV

Syrian government forces attack rebel-held city

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived Friday in Tehran for a key trilateral summit on Syria which could determine the fate of Idlib. President Bashar Assad's "brutal regime - backed by Russian Federation and Iran - can not continue to attack and terrorize Syria's citizens".

While President Donald Trump had signaled that he wanted United States forces out of Syria, in April he agreed to keep troops there a little longer.

Rouhani also stated that the battle in Syria will prevail until militants are pushed out of the entire country, especially in Idlib, but also underlined that any military operation should avoid civilians casualties.

The occupying Tel Aviv regime, whose identity is formed with occupation, aggression and instability, can not claim to fight terrorism, Rouhani said, adding that the immediate exit of the regime from Syria is a common demand of all the Syrian people.

For Russia and Iran, both allies of the Syrian regime, retaking Idlib is crucial to complete what they see as a military victory in Syria's war after the regime forces recaptured almost all other major towns and cities, largely defeating the rebellion against Assad.

As Putin and Erdogan were arriving in Tehran, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said air strikes were targeting positions belonging to rebel groups in the northern Hama and southern Idlib provinces.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has massed his army and allied forces on the frontlines in the northwest, and Russian planes have joined his bombardment of rebels there, in a prelude to a possible assault.

Syrian government forces resumed shelling of rebels there. "We do not have power and facilities to host another 3.5 million".

When the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran meet in Tehran Friday, Sept. 7, all eyes will be on their diplomacy averting a bloodbath in Idlib, Syria's crowded northwestern province and last opposition stronghold.

"But at the same time they made it clear that rebuilding Syria and getting refugees back to Syria has to be an global effort".

And Russia wants to maintain its regional presence to fill the vacuum left by America's long uncertainty about what it wants in the conflict.

Rouhani raised six leading points in efforts to put an end to the seven-year crisis in Syria and said the worldwide community is duty-bound to counter the Israeli regime's measures, particularly the continuation of its occupation of the Syrian land and its increasing moves against the Arab country's government and nation.

Naji Al-Mustafa, a spokesman for the Turkey-backed National Front for Liberation, said Friday his fighters were prepared for a battle that they expect will spark a major humanitarian crisis.

On Wednesday, Trump warned the Syrian regime that "the world is watching" and expressed concern about the 3 million civilians living there.

In a statement, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that "millions of innocent people in Idlib province are now under the threat of imminent attack from the Assad regime, backed by Iran and Russian Federation, under the pretense of targeting ISIS".

Russia, which has been building up forces in the region, said it's only targeting al-Qaeda fighters, and accused the USA of preparing to fake a chemical attack to justify new intervention.

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

Turkey also does not want to see another Kurdish-controlled area rise along its border, as it already faces in northern Iraq.

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