Guterres calls for prevention of full-scale attack on Syria's Idlib

Guterres calls for prevention of full-scale attack on Syria's Idlib

Zarqa says demonstrators are flying the green, white and black flag of Syria's uprising against Assad.

Turkey, which backs the anti-Assad opposition, has been warning Assad and his allies against attacking Idlib.

Russia is trying to facilitate creation of humanitarian corridors in Syria's Idlib to prevent civilian casualties, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday.

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The UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, called a meeting about the crisis with senior officials from Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Britain and the United States in Geneva on Friday.

Last week, the United Nations warned that such an offensive would likely lead to the "worst humanitarian catastrophe of the 21st century".

Already hosting 3.5 million Syrians, Turkey says it can not take in more and has accused the West of abandoning it to the consequences of Assad's reconquest of Syria.

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Speaking at a joint news conference with his Pakistani counterpart, Cavusoglu said Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the topic of Syria on Monday.

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Thousands of Syrians are already sheltering in camps close to the Idlib border, relying on proximity to Turkey to protect them from Syrian or Russian air strikes.

A pro-Assad source in Syria said: "There is patience and repositioning now".

Activists had said that the Nusra Front, otherwise known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Arabic for the Levant Liberation Committee (LLC), rounded up and killed tens of the reconciliation advocates in Idlib.

Idlib province and the adjacent rural areas form the largest piece of territory still held by Syria's beleaguered rebels, who have been worn down by government victories in recent months.

"They did not differentiate between civilians and others", he told Reuters from a village near the Bab al-Hawa crossing with Turkey. He added that several hundred pro-Assad forces had withdrawn from frontlines in the northern Hama countryside.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor has previously said that Turkey attempted to pressure the LLC to dissolve itself but to no avail.

Another proposal is to open humanitarian corridors through which civilians could leave to government-controlled areas, although that suggestion has yet to gain any traction.

"In conducting airstrikes beginning on 20 January, the Turkish air force may have failed to take all feasible precautions prior to launching certain attacks, in violation of global humanitarian law", the report said.

Putin also discussed the situation Idlib with members of Russia's Security Council on Friday, telling them he was concerned by militant activity there, the RIA news agency cited the Kremlin as saying.

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