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United Nations official: Powers cite need for peace in Idlib

15 September 2018

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlu Cavusoglu had said earlier that Erdogan and Putin would hold talks on the crisis in Syria on Monday.

Turkey deployed hundreds of its soldiers to 12 observation posts that ring Idlib, following a de-escalation agreement reached with Russian Federation and Iran a year ago to freeze the lines of the conflict, effectively placing Ankara as a protector of the province.

The U.N. warned last week that such an offensive would lead to the "worst humanitarian catastrophe in the 21st century".

The delay follows moves by Turkey to fortify its positions in Idlib province, the last major holdout for Syria's armed antiregime opposition, with troops and tanks.

Turkey, already hosting 3.5 million Syrians, says it can not take in another wave of refugees. President Tayyip Erdogan has warned of a humanitarian disaster and security risks for Turkey.

"We hope it won't happen. we hope it will not be needed". Syrian government and Russian warplanes began air strikes in Idlib last week in a possible prelude to a full-scale offensive.

On Thursday, the Observatory said that 185 truckloads of weapons and military gears entered areas in Idlib from Turkey under the supervision of the Turkish forces, which maintain 12 observation points in Idlib and nearby Hama countryside.

"There are very big reinforcements of Turkish forces inside Syria and these observation posts have now in effect become permanent military bases", Mustafa Sejari said.

Rebel sources told Reuters that Turkey has also stepped up supplies to the rebel forces in Idlib in recent days, including ammunition and rockets.

Still, a meeting of presidential aides from Russia, Germany, Turkey and France devoted to Syria will take place in Istanbul on Friday.

During the first 12 days of September, "available information indicates that a sharp increase in hostilities and fears of further escalation has led to the displacement of over 38,500 people", the United Nations humanitarian agency (OCHA) said.

Most people made a dash for Syria's northern border with Turkey, with just under half seeking refuge in displacement camps, staying with local families or in rental apartments.

"The global community also needs to take responsibility", Kalin said after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

So in light of the recent development, the anticipated operation is believed to have been pushed back to a later time this month to give a chance for the efforts to separate the terror groups from other rebel factions, according to Maher Ihsan, a Syrian analyst.

"This will spread from here to Europe and other countries".

United Nations official: Powers cite need for peace in Idlib