Russian Federation says Syrian regime preparing to 'solve' Idlib problem

Aaron Brown
September 6, 2018

"Terrorists must be purged" from Idlib and Syrian government control of the province restored, Zarif said in Damascus, according to Iranian media.

Turkey, which already hosts more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees, has warned that an assault by the Syrian army and its ally Russian Federation in Idlib could trigger a humanitarian crisis and unleash another wave of refugees from its southern neighbour.

"Idlib is a complicated issue as it is the last stronghold of rebels operating against the Syrian national government, and is also home to terrorist elements", he added.

Syrian rebels prepare for an expected regime offensive, in the countryside of the rebel-held northern Idlib province on September 3, 2018.

They also discussed the latest developments in Syria and other regional countries as well as a planned summit of Iranian, Russian and Turkish presidents due to be held Friday in Tehran.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have been killed and millions more displaced by the conflict.

The Mazzeh airbase houses Syrian Air Force intelligence, and in early 2017 the Syrian government accused its neighbour Israel of bombing the base.

That follows statements Monday by Iran's Foreign Ministry saying Idlib should be cleared of "terrorists".

US Warns Syria Russia Iran Not To Attack Idlib

The warning came as Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javed Zarif met with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in a surprise visit to Damascus ahead of the looming offensive.

The three countries have backed the Astana process for Syria and agreed to establish four de-escalation zones including Idlib.

Israel has previously acknowledged having carried out air strikes in Syria aimed at degrading the capacity of Iran and its allies, including Lebanon's Shi'ite Hezbollah group, which are backing Assad in the country's seven-year civil war.

A Syrian military source said that "the Mazze airport was not the target of Israeli aggression", according to a Saturday report by the official Sana news agency.

A war monitor says Russian Federation resumed air strikes on the opposition and rebel-held Syrian province on Tuesday.

Almost 3 million civilians live thre - including many refugees from other war-torn parts of Syria.

Mr Netanyahu discussed "the situation in Syria and the joint effort to stop Iran's terror and aggression" with James Jeffrey, the U.S. special representative for Syria engagement, said a statement.

Zarif's visit to Syria comes a week after Iran's defense minister traveled to Damascus and signed a defense cooperation agreement, defying USA calls for Iran to withdraw its military advisers and fighters from the war-torn country.

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It is also a hub for the Iranian Qods Force, which has propped up the Assad regime during the seven and a half years of the war.

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Other reports by Free-Prsite

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