In a historic meeting at a highly sensitive time, Presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey are holding a trilateral summit in Tehran to discuss the situation building in the Idlib province of Syria. The Summit will pave the strategy for future course to be taken and it will be notable to see if diplomacy plays an effective alternative to military action.
Syrian government has pledged to retake every inch of Syrian soil back from rebel control. Idlib is home to over 3 million people with more than half being displaced from other parts of Syria. All three nations have their own interests in the Syrian battlefield while Iran and Russia to have always backed the Assad regime, Turkey has been supporting the rebels.
The recent air bombardment of the province a few days before the Summit was severely criticised by the Turkish government which warned of a major human catastrophe if the offensive took place. Syrian and Russian forces have been amassing around Idlib look in no mood to step back.
Idlib holds great geopolitical importance due to its geographic proximity to Latakia, which is completely under government control and also houses the biggest Russian airbase in the country. Thus, victory over Idlib will mean a complete end to the civil war which started 8 years ago and has led to largescale destruction and massive human displacement. Iran has also called for a complete cleansing of Idlib as it will mean Tehran will have to contribute in the reconstruction of the war-torn land rather than taking care of much expensive military operations.
Staffan de Mistura, UN Special envoy to Syria has stated that the offensive will result in a brutal massacre of civilian lives despite the presence of 10000 Al-Qaeda linked fighters in the area. US and France have issued warnings that they will have to attack Syria if the latter uses chemical weapons in Idlib.