Iran, Russia and Turkey leaders to meet for crunch talks on Syria

Syrian government forces attack rebel-held city

The UN has warned that an all-out offensive in Idlib will lead to death and destruction even greater than that seen previously in Syria, including the displacement of another 800,000 civilians - most of whom are likely to seek refuge in nearby Turkey, which already hosts 3.5 million war refugees.

America's ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has warned any military offensive in Idlib "would be a reckless escalation".

Russian President Vladimir Putin however, said that he was against a ceasefire because Nusra Front and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters located there were not part of peace talks.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday arrived in Iran to attend a trilateral meeting on Syria in the Iranian capital Tehran.

The summit between Hassan Rouhani, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday may determine whether diplomacy halts any military action.

Staffan de Mistura called for efforts "to avoid that the last probably major battle of the Syrian territorial conflict. ends in a bloodbath".

For Russia and Iran, both allies of the Syrian government, retaking Idlib is crucial to complete what they see as a military victory in Syria's civil war after Syrian troops recaptured almost all other major towns and cities, largely defeating the rebellion against Assad.

The regime holds a small southeastern sliver. Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed.

Many of those living in Idlib are rebels and civilians who were bussed out of their hometowns in other parts of the country that have come back under regime control.

The three nations a year ago declared Idlib to be a "de-escalation zone", and Turkey says the cease-fire inside Idlib must not be violated.

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A Syrian rebel fighter rests at an unknown location in Idlib province, September 5, 2018.

Air raids across the province killed at least 13 civilians, including six children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said. The attacks were launched with high precision weapons, it has been stated.

But regime backers Russian Federation and Iran have sworn to wipe out "terrorists" and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has declared his determination to retake control of the entire country. Moscow, however, has called Idlib a "nest of terrorists", the word it uses to refer to the rebels.

Maas said Germany was also concerned about massive bloodshed and "looming humanitarian catastrophe" inside Idlib.

Russian and Iranian support has been key to the regime's successes.

There was periodic cooperation between the United States and Russian Federation against the same jihadist groups operating in Idlib until mid-2017.

"The leaders will in particular focus on the situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone, where terrorist remnants are concentrated", he said, in particular referring to HTS.

Just hours later, the UN Security Council will also meet at Washington's request, also to discuss Idlib.

The White House said that the US would respond "swiftly and vigorously" if Syrian forces used chemical weapons in Idlib.

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