Battle For Idlib: The Syrian War's Final-And Potentially Explosive-Act


The United States appears resigned to the likelihood of a final military victory by Syrian government forces, even as it warns Bashar al-Assad and Moscow against launching a major offensive in the rebel-held northwest, analysts say.

He said France will press at this month's U.N. General Assembly for a political solution in Syria, and is holding talks with Russia, Turkey and Iran to push them to use their influence with Assad to ensure political negotiations after the war ends. Syria would try to avoid civilian deaths, he added. The al-Qaeda-affiliated Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group only is estimated to have almost 60,000 militants in the city.

In Jordan and Turkey the two envoys are expected to tell officials that the USA continues to believe a regime offensive in Idlib will escalate the crisis in Syria and the region, as well as offer praise and thanks for the two countries' work to help to alleviate the human suffering caused by the war.

But Lavrov on Wednesday called on the West not to stand in the way of what he described as an "anti-terror operation" in Idlib, which borders Turkey.

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar held a closed-door meeting with US Special Envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey, in capital Ankara on Tuesday. Similarly, tens of thousands of anti-regime fighters have been relocated to Idlib after surrendering elsewhere to Assad-aligned troops.

A major offensive in the Idlib area, where displaced people already make up half the population, risks forcing another 700,000 Syrians from their homes, the United Nations has said.

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Where Syria and its Russian and Iranian allies see a chance to crush the remaining opposition, Western leaders warn of a humanitarian calamity in Idlib, where an estimated 3 million civilians live.

Turkey says it is seeking to ward off a full-scale offensive, urging Russian Federation and Iran to allow more time to separate "radical militants" from the armed groups it has backed. For those fighters, the battle for Idlib will likely be the last showdown with the government and they are expected to put up a hard fight.

Turkey has 12 military observation posts inside Idlib aimed at monitoring a de-escalation zone and media reports have said it has sent concrete blocks over the border to reinforce them in case of an assault. The U.S. has deployed its navy in the Mediterranean to attack Syria with Tomahawk missiles while Russian Federation has also deployed its warships in front of the U.S. warships.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey will meet President Vladimir Putin of Russian Federation and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran on Friday to discuss Syria, in the latest round of their discussions on Syria known as the Astana process.

The UN and aid workers are bracing for disaster, warning that up to 800,000 people are in danger of renewed displacement if a government offensive gets underway.

With the liberation of Idlib, the Syrian government will return to pre-crisis conditions, and those who launched the war over Syria for seven years will be defeated and Damascus will be victorious.