United Nations prepares for 900,000 Syrians fleeing war in Idib

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Turkey said on Friday it was talking to all parties in the Syrian conflict to prevent a government offensive on Idlib ahead of talks between Russian and Turkish leaders, who support rival sides in the looming battle for the rebel-held region.

German Foreign Minister Maas warned that a large-scale military offensive by the Syrian regime would lead to a humanitarian disaster in Idlib, which is home to more than 3 million civilians.

MOSCOW - The Kremlin confirmed on Friday that it was preparing for a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey's Tayyip Erdogan on Monday in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.

"We had come (to Idlib) without anything", he said.

U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said two weeks ago there were an estimated 10,000 fighters in Idlib designated by the United Nations as terrorists.

"The Idlib province, as it was agreed one and half years ago, is a zone of certain responsibility of Turkey, the member of Astana process, and it's their responsibility to separate the moderate opposition from the extremists", Lavrentyev said.

He stressed that Washington's extraterritorial restrictive measures against Russia, China and Iran directly affect German companies.

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

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.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres this week urged the regime to pull back and for all sides to find a peaceful solution, saying Idlib "must not be transformed into a bloodbath". Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.

Idlib's most powerful armed faction is the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) jihadist group, which Ankara officially designated a "terrorist" group last month.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey had also contacted foreign ministers of several countries and was in touch with "all actors in Syria".

Pahon said the USA questions the continued presence of more than a dozen Russian warships off of Syria's Mediterranean coast, adding that the ships must operate safely and abide by global law.

On Thursday, the Observatory said that 185 truckloads of weapons and military gears entered areas in Idlib from Turkey under the supervision of the Turkish forces, which maintain 12 observation points in Idlib and nearby Hama countryside.

Photo taken on September 11, 2018 shows a United Nationa (UN)'s Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria's Idlib province at the UN headquarters in NY.