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US warns Syria, Russia on possible Idlib offensive

Smoke rises after Assad Regime forces carried out an airstrike over a children's hospital, located at de-escalation zone Taftanaz town of Idlib, Syria on June 10, 2018. ( Ibrahim Hatip - Anadolu Agency )

The US on Tuesday warned Russia and the Syrian regime against any potential offensive on the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib, Anadolu reports.

“We would hold them responsible, and we would hold them accountable for that, most especially for the use of chemical weapons,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

“We would encourage Russia to make this point very clear to Damascus, that that will not be tolerated,” she added.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned Friday that a possible military offensive on Idlib would be a “disaster”.

Read: Syria’s FM vows to retake Iskenderun province from Turkey

“Preserving the de-escalation zone in Idlib, Syria is important in both humanitarian respects and the fight against terrorism,” Cavusoglu said.

“Separating the civilians from the combatants in Idlib is important for everyone, but a solution through force would lead to a new wave of refugees and a humanitarian catastrophe.”

Located near the Turkish border, Idlib was designated a “de-escalation zone” in May where acts of aggression are expressly forbidden.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in early 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on protesters with unexpected ferocity.

UN officials estimate that hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict.

Asia & AmericasEurope & RussiaMiddle EastNewsSyriaTurkeyUS
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