Syria opposition forces should leave Idlib — UN commission

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday, officials said, amid rising global concern over a looming Syrian government assault on a rebel-held province bordering Turkey.

Most of the displaced headed toward the border with Turkey, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said, packing already overcrowded camps there.

President Erdogan of Turkey had been hoping to persuade President Putin of Russian Federation and President Rouhani of Iran, both of whom are backing Assad in the warzone, to agree to a ceasefire to spare the estimated three million people...

Washington and its allies have also warned Syria that they will act not just in case of chemical weapons being used, but against any attack on the province, the USA envoy to the United Nations said.

"We have a military presence there and if that military presence is damaged or attacked in any way, it would be considered an attack on Turkey and would therefore receive the necessary retaliation", the source said.

The agency also warns that a possible offensive on the northwestern province of Idlib "would generate a catastrophic" humanitarian crisis.

The UN said in a report in August that, "any military escalation, would lead to the displacement of around 900,000 civilians over the coming six months, including 700,000 people within Idlib alone".

He and "a number of experts" plan to take part in the meeting on Syria in Istanbul on September 14.

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Turkey has intensified negotiations with Russian Federation to avert a possible attack, repeatedly calling for a ceasefire.

"Turkey is open to cooperation with everyone on efforts to fight terror groups in Syria", Turkey's state-run news agency Anadolu Agency cited Cavusoglu as saying.

At the same time, Maas also underlined Berlin's demand for Moscow to use its influence to get President Bashar al-Assad to back off from a looming major offensive against opposition-held Idlib.

"We can not bring peace that way".

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey had also contacted foreign ministers of several countries and was in touch with "all actors in Syria". The Turkish army controls the areas next to its border and has set up 12 military observation posts in the rest of the region.

Russia and Germany have reiterated their position on the Nord Stream-2 project, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference following talks with his German counterpart Heiko Maas.

Turkey deployed hundreds of its soldiers to the observation posts after a de-escalation agreement reached with Russian Federation and Iran a year ago to freeze the lines of the conflict, effectively placing Ankara as a protector of the province.

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