Ceasefire talks fail as airstrikes target last rebel-held region in Syria

Ceasefire talks fail as airstrikes target last rebel-held region in Syria

Ceasefire talks fail as airstrikes target last rebel-held region in Syria

The presidents of Turkey, Iran and Russian Federation, meeting in Tehran on Friday for a summit of key foreign players in Syria's war, failed to agree on a ceasefire in Idlib.

More than 350,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since Syria's civil war started in 2011 with the repression of anti-Assad protests.

In Idlib itself, large crowds gathered in rebel-held cities across the province to wave the green and black flag of the Syrian revolution and to call for the global community to protect them from assault.

Turkey has 12 observation posts in Idlib in keeping with the provisions of the Astana process.

Assad's biggest backer: Russian President Vladimir Putin in Iran on Friday.

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

The Turkish leader said he feared a massacre and Turkey could not accommodate any more refugees flooding over its border. Chariman of the Joint Chief of Staff General Joseph Dunford warned against a large scale Assad-forces attack in Idlib as that might lead to a humaniterian disaster. The Turkish leader even recited a verse from celebrated Iranian poet Saadi: "If you have no sympathy for human pain, the name of human you can not retain".

A journalist and resident of the area, Arin Sheikmos, said the government security troops went on an arrest campaign in Kurdish-controlled areas, detaining people it accuses of skipping compulsory military service.

Putin icily retorted, "The armed militants are not present at our table, are not taking part in our talks". It would be nice [if they declared a cease-fire].

Mr Putin said a ceasefire "would be good" but he could not commit to one because there was no guarantee that terrorist groups in Idlib "will stop shooting or stop using drones with bombs". "We are postured to respond".

"We never want Idlib to turn into a bloodbath", Erdogan told a Tehran summit in Damascus with his Iranian and Russian counterpar that is expected to determine the province's fate.

A bloody offensive that creates a massive wave of death and displacement, however, runs counter to their narrative that the situation in Syria is normalising, and could hurt Russia's longer-term efforts to encourage the return of refugees and get Western countries to invest in Syria's postwar reconstruction.

One small source of comfort is the Turkish military presence in Idlib. While Idlib is expected to top the agenda, the trio are also expected to discuss mechanisms for minimizing the impact of United States financial pressure.

They're outgunned by the regime, which has Russian and Iranian support.

Like Turkey, the United States is formally opposed to a regime assault on Idlib and Kurdish participation in it. "As far as we can see, this is also the goal of the attempts to stage chemical weapons incidents by Syrian authorities". And on Thursday, the man Pompeo chose to be his point-man on getting the Geneva process back on track, veteran diplomat James Jeffrey, reiterated Trump's message, saying the United States would use all the "tools" it has to respond to a chemical attack. This suggests Turkey is increasingly isolated as it weighs its next move in Syria.

"There are more babies in Idlib than there are terrorists and I think that should give those engaging in military action pause for thought", Pierce told a U.N. Security Council meeting on Idlib on Friday.

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