Turkish president to visit Iran for talks on Syria

White House pledges to 'respond swiftly' if Assad uses chemical weapons again

Russian Federation will continue to kill "terrorists" in Idlib and elsewhere in Syria to bring back peace, the foreign ministry said Thursday.

The two men, shown arriving by plane by Iranian state television, were due to hold talks with Iranian President Hassan Rohani. Turkey could no longer take in any more refugees from any new assault in Idlib, he said.

Seized from government forces in 2015, Idlib and adjacent areas form the final major chunk of Syrian territory are still under opposition control, home to some three million people, with around half of them displaced from other parts of the country, according to the United Nations.

According to the pro-government Turkish daily newspaper, Sabah, Turkey will propose Friday a plan that includes disarming militants and evacuating them through safe corridors to a buffer zone.

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

Neighbouring Turkey has limited sway over the jihadists who control an estimated 60% of the province but it backs rebel groups there and has 12 military "observation points" across the province.

Hossein Jaberi Ansari, a senior aide in the Foreign Ministry, said the presidents would seek a compromise and that "Turkey and Iran are sufficiently mature politically to facilitate such a compromise".

Early on Friday, a series of airstrikes 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.

As part of the deal, they agreed to rout the former al-Qaeda affiliate, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, known as HTS, from the area.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has almost quashed a seven-year-long uprising and has retaken much of the territory his forces lost to the rebellion.

Jeffrey said the U.S.is taking a tougher stance and will not tolerate an all-out attack on the region.

Western powers, which never formally entered the conflict other than to back Kurdish-led militias instrumental in ousting the extremist group Islamic State (IS) from its northern stronghold in 2017, have largely watched the brewing battle in Idlib from the sidelines.

Washington warned Tuesday that if Damascus were to use chemical weapons, it would respond.

France's top military official said his forces were prepared to strike Syrian government targets if chemical weapons were used in an expected army offensive to retake Idlib. He said that "any offensive is to us objectionable as a reckless escalation" of the war.

Troops have been massing on the edges of the northwestern province which borders Turkey for weeks, raising fears of a humanitarian disaster on a scale not yet seen in Syria's seven-year conflict.

Erdogan has warned against such a catastrophic outcome, and has much at stake in efforts to prevent it at the Tehran summit.

"Millions of innocent people in Idlib province are now under the threat of imminent attack from the Assad regime, backed by Iran and Russian Federation, under the pretense of targeting ISIS".

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