Turkish agency launches aid campaign for Syria’s Idlib

  • Turkish agency launches aid campaign for Syria’s Idlib

Turkish agency launches aid campaign for Syria’s Idlib

Idlib residents hope Turkey's presence in the province might prevent a major assault by regime forces and Ankara's relationship with Iran and Russian Federation could lead to a new ceasefire.

Idlib's main towns and cities are under the sway of jihadists linked to al Qaeda's former Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front, though they are outnumbered by Turkey-backed FSA fighters grouped under "The National Front for Liberation".

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Monday that more than 30,000 people had so far fled their homes in northwest Syria since the resumption of bombardments in the area, and warned that an operation into Idlib could set 800,000 people to flight.

Senior rebel officials said Turkey had sent more military aid to rebels in and around the Idlib region since a summit meeting with Iran and Russian Federation last week failed to agree a deal to avert a government offensive into the area.

Vassily Nebenzia was briefing the council on last Friday's summit of the presidents of the three Astana countries in Tehran, stressing that they are committed "to continue helping with a definitive elimination of terrorism in Syria". "Such an operation would trigger a massive wave of refugees and tremendous security risks for Turkey, the rest of Europe and beyond", adding that no security concern could justify risking millions of lives.

"We're deeply concerned about this recent escalation of violence, which has resulted in the displacement of over 30,000 in the area".

"The United States is long past taking Russian Federation and Iran at their word that they are genuinely interested in protecting civilians in Idlib from further violence", Haley said.

Rebel-held Idlib province and adjacent rural areas, worn down by a succession of government victories in recent months.

One source close to the White House told Al-Monitor that the U.S. administration was resigned to the Syrian offensive and acknowledged there were few options to stop it.

Roughly half of the displaced are staying in camps, Dujarric said.

During the seven-year Syrian conflict, the West has accused Damascus on a number of occcasions of using chemical weapons against the civilian population.

"There is a lack of water storage capacity in numerous areas in which we operate, with just two or three days worth of water available to civilians", she told Reuters.

"When we speak to Syrians who have already been displaced three, five, even six times, they themselves say there is nowhere to go".

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is appealing to all parties directly and indirectly involved in Syria - especially Iran, Russia, and Turkey - to protect civilians and avoid a "bloodbath" in the last major rebel-held stronghold in Idlib.