Published: Tue, September 04, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Attacking last rebels would be tragic, Trump tells Syria

Attacking last rebels would be tragic, Trump tells Syria

"Don't let that happen!"

Syrian rebel fighters prepare for an upcoming government offensive, in the countryside of the rebel-held northern Idlib province, on September 3, 2018.

Peskov added that the presence of militants in Idlib was undermining the Syrian peace process and had turned the flash-point region to a base, from which terrorists carry out attacks, notably with "various unmanned aerial vehicles", on Russian "temporary bases" in the Arab country.

Russian Federation and Iran, however, have insisted that rebel groups in Idlib must be defeated and are expected to back government forces.

The visit comes days before the leaders of Iran, Turkey, and Russian Federation are expected to meet in Iran to discuss the situation in Idlib.

Mohammad Javad Zarif's comments in Damascus were reported by Iran's semi-official Fars news agency and came as Syrian forces and their allies are preparing for an assault on Idlib, the last opposition stronghold in the country.

The UN has warned that an attack on Idlib, where 2.9 million people live, "will overwhelm capacities and has the potential to create a humanitarian emergency at a scale not yet seen through this crisis".

Last year, they had designated Idlib as a "de-escalation" zone where violence would halt in preparation for a countrywide ceasefire.

Most of Idlib and the adjacent area of Hama remain under the control of several different armed groups - some which are backed by Turkey, others by independent Islamist groups.

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The Syrian army is getting ready to solve the "terrorism" in Idlib, according to the Kremlin, despite a warning from Donald Trump against a "reckless attack".

Further Iranian engagement in Syria meanwhile risks drawing Israel deeper into the conflict.

But Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday signalled strikes could be extended to Iraq if necessary. "It must be clear".

"Frankly speaking, I don't think there's anything the United States can do about it".

TRT World's Kevin McAleese has more from Washington DC.

But these "verbal warning shots" have little to do with today's reality in Syria, said Jonas Parello-Plesner, a researcher with the Hudson Institute in Washington who recently published a study on the USA approach to the region.

Trump has sought better relations with Russian Federation since taking office in 2017 but the United States has been unable to rein in Moscow's military and diplomatic support for Assad.

Mr. Trump said in April that "it's time" to bring American troops home from Syria - once the jihadists of the Islamic State or Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had been definitively defeated.

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