Airstrikes batter Syria’s last rebel stronghold after cease-fire bid fails

12 September, 2018, 01:55 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • Intense air raids reported on edge of Syria's rebel-held Idlib

Al-Qaeda-linked rebels, known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, or HTS, control more than half of Idlib, and much of the Russian and Syrian government rhetoric has focused on a need to defeat the group.

Idlib's provincial health chief Munzer al-Khalil warned Saturday that a large-scale military operation could result in "the most catastrophic crisis in our war".

Meanwhile, the Syrian government began a new round of artillery and rocket shelling in southern Idlib, and adjoining northern Hama Province, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group. Many have previously refused to surrender to the regime.

The WSJ report cites White House discussions of a third strike - in reference to United States attacks on Syria during the last two Aprils after chemical allegations were made against Damascus - while indicating it would "likely would be more expansive than the first two" and could include targeting Russian Federation and Iran.

The United States is threatening to attack Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime for a third time should it use chemical weapons in an assault on the northwestern province of Idlib, marking a significant shift in strategy after months of indications that the United States would soon pull out of the conflict.

Hundreds of civilians have fled villages near the front line in Syria's Idlib province fearing an imminent regime assault on the country's last major opposition and rebel bastion, a monitor said.

An influx of displaced people has roughly doubled the Idlib region's population to around 2.9 million people in recent years.

The rebel-held region of Idlib and adjacent areas are home to nearly three million people, half of whom have been displaced from other areas in the country, according to the UN.

Abandoned trucks litter California highway as wildfire rages
About 45 miles of the I-5 were closed in both directions, said Chris Losi, a spokesman for the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. The wildfire, which started near Lake Shasta last Wednesday, has already burned through 25 square miles.

It said at least four civilians were killed, including two children and a woman, majority in Abdeen, a village west Khan of Sheikhoun.

De Mistura's spokesman, Michael Contet, said in an email that any debriefing by the envoy about the meeting will be "reserved" for comments that he plans to make to U.N. Security Council next Tuesday.

Turkey on Monday urged Syria and Russian Federation to halt all bombing on the Syrian province of Idlib, and called for a ceasefire in the region near its border.

Idlib province and adjacent rural areas form the largest piece of territory still held by Syria's beleaguered rebels, worn down by a succession of government victories in recent months.

We want to tell you: if you sell Idlib or other opposition-held areas, we're going to buy Reyhanli from you.

The West has warned Assad that his regime would face serious consequences if he used chemical weapons in Idlib.

Also emphasizing Turkey's efforts, "Turkey has gone to extraordinary lengths to alleviate suffering of the Syrian people, hosting some 3.5 million refugees-more than any other country in the world", he added.

More than 350,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since Syria's civil war started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-Assad protests.

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