30,000 flee in Syria as UN fears century’s ‘worst’ crisis

11 September, 2018, 13:29 | Author: Donnie King
  • Pentagon ‘routinely’ briefs Trump on ‘military options’ in case of chemical attack in Syria

The United States" top general said Saturday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpEx-Playboy model accuses GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy of physical abuse: reports Cohen seeks to vacate hush-money deal with Stormy Daniels Stormy Daniels says she broke into "sobs' when she heard about Cohen's plea MORE has been presented with military options should Syria ignore USA warnings and use chemical weapons in an offensive against the rebel-held Idlib.

Idlib's provincial health chief Munzer al-Khalil warned Saturday that a large-scale military operation could result in "the most catastrophic crisis in our war".

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned against a "scorched earth" policy, but said "fighting terrorism in Idlib is an unavoidable".

Damascus, backed by allies Russian Federation and Iran, has been preparing a major assault to recover Idlib and adjacent areas of northwest Syria from rebels.

The United Nations and human-rights groups have pleaded against any military offensive in fear of unprecedented bloodshed. "That's something we're monitoring very closely", OCHA spokesman David Swanson told the AFP news agency.

On Monday, on the main highway running across the province, men on motorbikes headed north with their children on foot, herding dozens of sheep.

"We consider it unacceptable when the protection of the civilian population is used as a pretext for letting terrorists avoid a strike", said Russian President Vladmir Putin at a news conference in Tehran Friday.

The daily went on to say that Turkish army has urged its allied militants to report the exact number of their gunmen and volume of arms and ammunition. "Every day, I need water, hay, and bran to feed them".

Nicholas Heras, a researcher at the Centre for New American Security, said the spike in Russian raids on Saturday aimed to put pressure on Turkey to agree to a deal for a regime takeover of Idlib.

More than 3 million people live in the area, almost half of them already displaced from fighting elsewhere in Syria.




"The Russian jet fighters and the regime ground forces can not afford attacks while Turkish soldiers are there", Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, wrote in a newspaper column at the weekend.

Meanwhile, the bombs keep falling.

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

The local council of Morek, a town that serves as a crossing between Hama and Idlib, sent an urgent appeal, asking Turkey to intervene.

"There needs to be ways of dealing with this problem that don't turn the next few months in Idlib into the worst humanitarian catastrophe with the biggest loss of life in the 21st century", Mark Lowcock told reporters in Geneva.

There are estimated to be as many as three million civilians living in the province. The group said one of its already damaged centers had been hit in the wave of airstrikes.

Russian Federation and Iran, which support Assad's regime, and Turkey, which backs the moderate opposition, have been in close cooperation for the last 1.5 years that aim at finding a solution to the Syrian conflict.

In Geneva, the United Nations special envoy Staffan de Mistura was negotiating privately with Turkish, Iranian and Russian officials as part of a two-day effort to get the countries to seek political and not military solutions.

Moscow wants to keep rebels from using weaponized drones against Russian warplanes positioned nearby.

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