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Tehran summit to discuss fate of Syria’s Idlib

Orient Net 2018-09-07 06:29:00

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The presidents of Russia ,Turkey, and the Iranian regime meet Friday (Sep. 7) in Tehran for a summit set to decide the future of Idlib province amid fears of a humanitarian disaster in Syria’s last major opposition bastion.

Hundreds of civilians fled the northwestern province Thursday as Assad militias and their allies readied for what could be the last -- and bloodiest -- major battle of Syria’s devastating seven-year war.

Neighbouring Turkey, which has long backed Syrian opposition, fears the assault could prompt an influx of desperate Syrians attempting to find safety on its territory.

Ankara, Moscow and Tehran are also guarantors of the Astana process, a track of negotiations that has eclipsed the UN-led Geneva process and helped Assad re-assert his authority over the country.

Hassan Rouhani will host his Russian and Turkish counterparts Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday afternoon.

Iranian television reported that the three leaders would each have "bilateral meetings" on the sidelines of the main summit.

The Tehran meetings could determine the scale and the timeline of the Idlib offensive, which the UN has warned may displace 800,000 people.

While Ankara has said it will try to prevent the assault taking place, both Moscow and Tehran confirmed their support for Assad ahead of Friday’s summit.

The Kremlin claimed the Assad army was preparing to solve the problem of "terrorism" in the opposition stronghold.

"We have killed, we are killing and we will kill ... whether that be in Aleppo, Idlib or other parts of Syria," said Kremlin spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

On Wednesday, the UN warned of a "bloodbath" in the province, fearing that an offensive will cause a humanitarian catastrophe unprecedented since the beginning of the Syrian war, which has left more than 350,000 people dead since 2011.

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