Iran hosted a trilateral summit with Russia and Turkey to discuss the situation building up in Idlib, Syria. Syrian regime forces are all set to launch a full-scale offensive against the last rebel stronghold in Syria. The three nations failed to reach a consensus on the issue while there are multiple warnings being issued by the international community over a humanitarian catastrophe if the Syrian government launched the offensive on Idlib which houses more than 3 million people out of which nearly half are being displaced from other war zones of Syria.
Iran and Russia remain as a major supporter of President Assad while Turkey has always backed the rebels and has stated that any offensive in the province will give rise to untold misery and bloodbath. The ceasefire proposal by Turkey was rejected. Erdogan said, “An attack on Idlib will result in disaster, massacre and a very big humanitarian tragedy”.
Turkey has already accommodated over 3 million Syrian refugees and the new offensive will further choke the southern border. President Putin, rejected the ceasefire proposal saying, “We consider it unacceptable when, under the pretext of protecting the civilian population, they want to withdraw terrorists from being under attack, as well as inflict damage on Syrian government troops”.
The joint statement issued after the summit stated that the Syrian crisis can only be resolved by negotiations and not through military action. It also mentioned that safe conditions for return should be created for the displaced populations. All the three countries also back the Astana process, launched after Russian intervention in Syria and led to the formation of various de-escalation zones in the country.
Despite the talks, bombardment was continued in Idlib. UN Special Envoy called on the Syrian government that people should be granted safe passage from the province and also set a deadline for the fighters of al-Nusra Front now known as Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham to go away from the populated areas.