The Trump administration issued a series of new sanctions on the embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ahead of what US officials believe is an "imminent attack" by the regime with help from Russian Federation and Iran, according to an announcement by the Treasury Department.
"Intensified fighting in the vast Idlib area will put tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people on the move", Fabrizzio Carboni, regional director for the Near and Middle East, said in a statement.
Erdogan called on Putin and Rouhani to agree to a ceasefire in Idlib, saying such an accord would be a "victory" of their summit.
He said the displaced were mostly villagers from areas near government-held territory and most vulnerable to the early phase of an assault.
Analysts say Ankara could be prepared to accept a limited Russian-backed Syrian government offensive against hard-line groups, even if it leaves the question of the long-term control of the province open for now.
"They underlined that, in the fight against terrorism, separation between the above-mentioned terrorist groups and the armed opposition groups that had joined or would join the ceasefire regime, would be of utmost importance including with respect to preventing civilian casualties", it added. "And more still, there are no representatives of Jabhat al-Nusra or ISIS or the Syrian army", Putin said.
"I don't think that either of these countries, or really anyone, has an interest in doing something which is genuinely destabilising to Turkey", he added. It would be good.
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"The Tehran summit can produce peace and reconciliation in Syria or it can deepen the mess created by endless bouts of violence mainly instigated by the Assad regime", Ilnur Cevik, a senior adviser to Erdogan, wrote in the Daily Sabah newspaper.
Erdogan spoke at a summit with Iranian President Hassan Rohani and Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 7 in Tehran.
Putin noted that "all our agreements on Syria have been always based on the fact that we seek and will continue seeking reconciliation of all conflicting sides and we have always left aside terrorist organizations".
The Treasury Department said it was targeting four individuals and five entities for facilitating weapons and fuel transfers to the Assad government, some of whom the US accuses of being linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Turkey already hosts 3.5 million Syrian refugees and has sealed its borders to newcomers.
"Whatever reason there is an attack that has been made or will be made will result in disaster, massacre and humanitarian drama", he said. Let's go in. Let's kill the f-king lot of them", Trump said, according to the tell-all, "Fear: "Trump in the White House", a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post. Now the goal is getting Iranian forces to go, even if that sets us up for direct conflict with not just Iran but Russian Federation.
Widely abhorred internationality for the brutal conduct of the war, Assad has largely reclaimed most of Syrian territory though much of it is ravaged.
Meanwhile, the fate of Idlib hung in the balance.