Russian Federation claims Syria rebels 'staging chemical attack'

14 September, 2018, 15:34 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Arab media highlights Erdoğan’s efforts for Idlib

Britain and France backed the call for a ceasefire, recalling that these had been agreed under arrangements for a "de-escalation zone" in Idlib that were overseen by Russia, Iran and Turkey.

He told council members there is "an urgent need" to separate opposition fighters seeking a political settlement from the "terrorists" in Idlib, and appealed to those with influence to exert pressure to achieve this.

More than 30,000 people have so far fled their homes in northwest Syria since Syrian government and allied forces resumed air and ground bombardments there last week, the United Nations agency coordinating relief efforts said on Monday. The report said any military action would have to be approved by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

An estimated 3mn people live in Idlib - the last major stronghold of active opposition to President Bashar al-Assad.

Nebenzia, the Russian diplomat, also summed up last week's summit among Russia, Turkey and Iran as "a major milestone in restoring peace and ensuring lasting settlement in Syria".

"We're deeply concerned about this recent escalation of violence, which has resulted in the displacement of over 30,000 in the area".

It is important that the parties - especially the three guarantors of the Astana process - find a way in which it is possible to isolate terrorist groups and it is possible to create a situation in which civilians will not be the price paid to solve the problem of Idlib, he said.

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USA national security adviser John Bolton said the United States, Britain and France agreed Syria would be met with a "much stronger response" compared with previous air strikes if its government conducted another chemical weapon attack, The Guardian reported. "That's something we're monitoring very closely", OCHA spokesman David Swanson said.

The three countries had failed to reach an agreement for a ceasefire, however, prompting Sweden and other nations to again warn of a "humanitarian catastrophe" should the Syria government, backed by Russian Federation, wage a military offensive on Idlib, where millions are at risk.

Witnesses said hundreds of families had begun fleeing from villages and towns in southern Idlib that have been the target of heavy strikes closer to camps near the Turkish border.

Turkey has continued to provide humanitarian relief to opposition areas in Idlib and Latakia - situated in Syria's north - and operates a number of military observation posts in the province.

"There is a lack of water storage capacity in numerous areas in which we operate, with just two or three days worth of water available to civilians", she told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: Hossein Jaberi Ansari, Iran's senior representative in Syria talks, speaks to the media on the sidelines of the Syrian Congress of National Dialogue in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia January 30, 2018.

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