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Idlib residents, displaced rally against Assad's imminent offensive

Local | 2018-09-14 16:22:00
Idlib residents, displaced rally against Assad's imminent offensive
 (Zaman Al Wasl)- For the second consecutive Friday, thousands of Syrians came out to the streets of rebel-held areas to rally against the imminent regime offensive on the northern province.

Demonstrators, who held up the three-star flag of the Syrian revolution, have condemned the Russian intervention, calling on rebels to form united front despite rifts.

At least 30 civilians killed in the Russian airstrikes on Idlib in two weeks as hundreds of civilians have been fleeing villages near the front line in Idlib fearing an imminent regime assault on the country's last major rebel bastion. 

The situation in Idlib, the rebels' only remaining major stronghold, is an immediate issue as Bashar Assad's forces, backed by Russia and Iran, prepare for what could be the conflict's last decisive battle.

A major assault on Idlib would “unleash a humanitarian nightmare unlike any seen in the blood-soaked Syrian conflict,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Turkey is reinforcing its military posts inside Idlib, Turkish and Syrian rebels sources told Reuters, seeking to deter the regime offensive.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that an assault by the army and its Russian and Iran-backed allies on Idlib, home to around 3 million people, will uproot hundreds of thousands.

Already hosting 3.5 million Syrians, the world’s biggest refugee population, Turkey says it cannot absorb more victims of the war and has accused the West of abandoning it to face the consequences of President Bashar Assad’s reconquest of Syria.

At a meeting in Tehran last Friday with the presidents of Russia and Iran, seen as the last realistic chance to avert all-out conflict in the insurgent-held region, Erdogan failed to win a pledge of cease-fire from Assad’s two main backers.

But his Defense Minister Hulusi Akar says Turkey remains determined to halt the weekslong airstrikes on Idlib and forestall a ground offensive, while officials warn that Turkey would respond if its forces inside Idlib come under fire.

Zaman Al Wasl, Agencies

Zaman Al Wasl
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