Published: Sun, September 09, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Airstrikes batter Syria’s last rebel stronghold after cease-fire bid fails

Airstrikes batter Syria’s last rebel stronghold after cease-fire bid fails

Putin, Erdogan and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani began a meeting Friday in Tehran to discuss the war in Syria, with all eyes on a possible military offensive to retake the last rebel-held bastion of Idlib.

Speaking at a major summit in Tehran, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's president, warned his Russian and Iranian counterparts that an attack on the densely populated province would lead to a "bloodbath" and an unsustainable surge of refugees into Turkey.

While it's hard to be sure of the depth of Trump's engagement on Syria policy considering his quick reversals in recent months, he was part of an effort by US officials this week to warn the Syrian regime and its allies not to use chemical weapons or target civilians as they prepare for an assault on Idlib province, the last rebel stronghold. There are an estimated 30,000 rebel fighters still in the area, including some 10,000 al-Qaeda-linked militants.

Turkey, Iran and Russian Federation on Friday called for a political solution to the crisis in Syria in a joint statement issued at the end of a trilateral summit in the Iranian capital Tehran.

President Donald Trump has twice bombed Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons, in April 2017 and April 2018.

An offensive is likely to first strike southwest Idlib and the al-Ghab plains, which overlook the coastal area where Russian Federation has its military and naval bases.

In April past year, the United States struck a Syrian air base with cruise missiles in response to a chemical attack three days earlier, attributed to the Assad regime, on Khan Shaykhun.

She also said the United States would not consider reconstruction aid for Syria until it sees "concrete results from a genuine political process that ends the war and offers freedom to the Syrian people". The barrage late Friday in Mhradah killed at least nine civilians, according to state media.

Airstrikes hammered rebel positions in Idlib as the summit got underway.

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But regime backers Russian Federation and Iran have sworn to wipe out "terrorists" and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has declared his determination to retake control of the entire country.

Syrian civil defense members search near a burned vehicle in Hass after an airstrike southern Idlib province on September 8, 2018.

Notably, in the past, Jefferyhas promoted USA military intervention in other conflicts provoked by US regime-change efforts, such as his advocacy for sending USA troops into Ukraine in order "to send [Russian President Vladimir] Putin a tough message". "We expect the Russians to abide by this agreement", Urban said.

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It insists it is the rebels who are planning a chemical attack.

Erdogan may have been the leader with the most to lose ahead of the offensive.

"The Trump Administration and the worldwide community have made it clear that there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict", Haley told the Council, which was to hold another meeting Friday on the crisis in Idlib. Syria should regain control of all its territory, he said.

In this April 14, 2018 file photo, Damascus skies erupt with surface to air missile fire as the USA launches an attack on Syria targeting different parts of the Syrian capital Damascus, Syria.

In a Twitter thread breaking down the Trump administration's new Syria objectives on Friday, Emma Ashford-a foreign policy research fellow at the Cato Institute-argued that the White House's plan is "not a strategy".

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