Russian and Syrian jets pound Idlib province in Syria after summit

A general view taken with a drone shows part of the rebel-held Idlib city

A general view taken with a drone shows part of the rebel-held Idlib city

The renewed strikes came a day after the leaders of rebel backer Turkey and regime allies Russian Federation and Iran failed at the summit in Tehran to agree on how to stave off a threatened offensive on the northwestern province of Idlib.

A critical summit between the presidents of Russia, Iran and Turkey to find common ground on Syria's rebel-held province of Idlib descended into televised drama today, as Russia's Vladimir Putin and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan aired their differences before the cameras.

More than 3 million people live in the area, almost half of them already displaced from fighting elsewhere in Syria.

There are an estimated 10,000 fighters, including al Qaeda-linked militants, in the province.

Russian Federation and Iran backed a military offensive to reclaim the last major rebel-held area of Syria, while Turkey called for a ceasefire to prevent mass casualties among the province's estimated 3.5 million population.

While President Donald Trump had signaled that he wanted USA forces out of Syria, in April he agreed to keep troops there a little longer.

"I think the last chapter of the Idlib story has not been written".

"The consequences of a major offensive operation in Idlib will nearly certainly be the suffering of a large number of innocent civilians", Dunford told journalists. Turkey has troops stationed in Idlib and 12 observations posts around the province as part of the pact.

A bloody offensive that creates a massive wave of death and displacement, however, runs counter to their narrative that the situation in Syria is normalising, and could hurt Russia's longer-term efforts to encourage the return of refugees and get Western countries to invest in Syria's postwar reconstruction.

None of Turkey's options look good, adds Aydıntaşbaş, as it faces both a humanitarian "catastrophe" and a result that could "forever alter the dynamics of the Syrian war - in favor of the regime".

US, India sign new deal on military collaboration, sharing intel
Pompeo and Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met separately Thursday before joining top defense officials for talks. After the conclusion of the talks, the two sides signed crucial defence pacts and agreed to work together to combat terrorism.

Syria and Russian Federation have carried out their most intensive air raids in weeks on rebel positions in the northern province of Idlib, activists say.

"The U.S. has been very clear" in its warnings against Syria, Haley said.

They're determined to reclaim it from the thousands of militants they say are hiding among civilians.

The presidents of Turkey, Iran and Russian Federation on Friday failed to agree on a ceasefire that would forestall an offensive.

Early on Friday, a series of air strikes struck villages in southwest Idlib, targeting insurgent posts and killing a fighter, said Rami Abdurrahman, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. "The Turks have shown a great deal of resistance to an attack".

Russian Federation is Assad's top global backer; its support, including aircraft, special forces and mercenaries, enabled him to reverse the course of his country's seven-year civil war, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions more.

"The regime might conduct a face-saving attack on areas away from Turkey's zones of operation, a low-hanging fruit", he said.

Smoke rises near the Syrian village of Kafr Ain in the southern countryside of Idlib province after an airstrike, September 7, 2018.

Hossein Jaberi Ansari, a senior aide to Iran's foreign minister, told state TV on Thursday the final statement for the summit had already been "finalized" by senior representatives of the three countries.

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