Published: Tue, September 04, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Kremlin dismisses Trump warning on Syria's Idlib

Kremlin dismisses Trump warning on Syria's Idlib

Russian Federation resumed air strikes against insurgents in Idlib province on Tuesday after a hiatus of several weeks, according to a Syrian rebel and a war monitor.

The Kremlin on September 3 confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin would travel to Tehran on September 7 for talks with the leaders of Iran and Turkey about the situation in Syria.

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

He added: "Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed".

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif's trip to war-ravaged Syria comes just days before a top-level tripartite meeting in Tehran to discuss the Syrian conflict, now in its eighth year.

Iran has lent crucial military and economic support to Assad throughout the seven-year civil war and the discussions are expected to focus on the decisive battle for Idlib.

Idlib and the surrounding area is home to some 3 million people - almost half of them already displaced a few times by the civil war.

The sources said the warplanes hit civilian residential areas in Jisr al-Shughur City; areas of Basanqul, Ghani, Innab, Sirmaniyah, west of Idlib; Zayzun area, north of Hama; as well as the opposition's frontlines.

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Iran has been also helping Damascus in its fight against various factions of terrorists on its soil through providing the government troops with advisory assistance, based on an invitation by the Syrian government, since foreign-backed militancy broke out in the Arab country in March 2011.

Located near the Turkish border, Idlib has been designated as a de-escalation zone where acts of aggression are expressly forbidden as part of the ongoing Astana process.

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

But Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday signaled strikes could be extended to Iraq if necessary. The French Foreign Ministry is "ready to act" if Assad uses lethal chemical weapons, it said in a statement on Monday.

"Frankly speaking, I don't think there's anything the United States can do about it".

Behind the scenes, American diplomats have been actively warning Moscow, which has been accused in the past of turning a blind eye to chemical weapon use by its Syrian proteges.

And that reality, he told AFP, is that "Assad is advancing on the ground, aided by Iran by land and Russian Federation by air", while the United States places its hopes on a UN-backed Geneva peace process that might best be described as "moribund".

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