Idlib battle a climactic end to Syria rebellion?

Syrian children riding in the back of a truck loaded with furniture and a motorcycle driving along the main Damascus Aleppo highway near the town of Saraqib in Syria's mostly rebel-held northern Idlib province on Sept 11 2018

The government officials in Syria have repeatedly said that the reconciliation is a priority in Idlib, or else there will be a wide-scale offensive to retake Idlib, which is the last major rebel stronghold in Syria.

Most of the displaced headed toward the border with Turkey, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said, packing already overcrowded camps there. President Tayyip Erdogan has warned of a humanitarian disaster and security risks for Turkey. They added that the expected attack by Syrian troops on Idlib province would make other battles in the country look minor.

During the first 12 days of September, "available information indicates that a sharp increase in hostilities and fears of further escalation has led to the displacement of over 38,500 people", the United Nations humanitarian agency (OCHA) said.

He and "a number of experts" plan to take part in the meeting on Syria in Istanbul on September 14.

Recalling Turkey's efforts to find a political solution to the ongoing Syrian crisis, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Friday that Turkey is working to reach a ceasefire in Idlib and the two presidents will discuss the issue on Monday. Turkey however backs opposition fighters seeking the ouster of the Syrian leader, and has said a large-scale offensive against the rebels could trigger a mass exodus towards its border.

At a meeting in Tehran last week, the leaders of Russian Federation and Iran backed military operations in Idlib despite pleas from Erdogan for a cease-fire.

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Russian Federation has accused the White Helmets of staging a chemical attack in Idlib in order to provoke a Western military intervention in Syria.

The U.S. says it will retaliate harshly to any chemical weapons attack by President Bashar Assad's forces and has suggested such internationally prohibited weapons are being readied for the battlefield. The most powerful of these groups is Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra; it is an affiliate of Al-Qaeda, the terrorist organization the USA holds responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

Turkey has 12 military posts inside Idlib province, and activists reported on Thursday that Turkish reinforcements crossed over into Syria to fortify the installations.

Turkey's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and Chief of Military Staff Yasar Guler on Friday visited the provinces of Hatay and Gaziantep bordering Syria where the country has reinforced troops in recent weeks.

Speaking at a joint news conference with his German counterpart Heiko Maas following their meeting in Berlin, Lavrov said talks were underway between Russian and Turkish officials on the situation in Idlib.

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