Leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran meet for high-stakes Syria talks

Leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran meet for high-stakes Syria talks

Leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran meet for high-stakes Syria talks

A US envoy says Washington has "lots of evidence" that Syrian government forces are preparing to use chemical weapons against rebel-held Idlib province.

Government forces have been massing around Idlib for weeks ahead of an expected offensive on the province, which is held by jihadists led by Al-Qaeda's former Syrian affiliate and rival Turkish-backed rebels.

The presidents of Turkey, Russia and Iran will meet on Friday in Tehran, as part of the trilateral efforts on finding a solution to the Syrian civil war.

The White House said that the USA would respond "swiftly and vigorously" if Syrian forces used chemical weapons in Idlib.

Eight people were reported killed Tuesday in airstrikes on Idlib.

"The United States will continue to target those who facilitate transactions with the murderous Assad regime and support ISIS", Mnuchin said in the statement.

Idlib, Syria's last major rebel stronghold, is held by a complex array of anti-regime fighters, many of whom have been blacklisted as "terrorists" by world powers. His comments evoked past USA warnings about Syrian military activities and the regime's use of chemical weapons, which has previously triggered U.S. military strikes against Syrian targets.

The Syrian military has been urging the rebels in Idlib to surrender.

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has massed his army and allied forces on the front lines in the northwest, and Russian planes have joined his bombardment of rebels there, in a prelude to a possible assault. Russian Federation has suggested the rebels could use chemical weapons in a final battle for the rebel stronghold.

Among them were positions of the HTS and Ahrar al-Sham groups, the observatory said. Trump and his top officials have called attention to the impending Syrian government offensive in recent days, warning the Syrian regime and its backers Russian Federation and Iran not to use chemical weapons or recklessly cause civilian deaths.

The final statement of the summit between Russia, Turkey and Iran has already been finalized by senior representatives from the countries, according to Hossein Jaberi Ansari, Iran's top negotiator in the discussions.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, said Wednesday that he hoped to use the meeting to reach a deal and prevent an all-out attack on the border province.

"Any offensive is to us objectionable as a reckless escalation", envoy James Jeffrey told reporters.

The warning came amid signs that Syrian President Bashar Assad was preparing an offensive in Idlib province that the United Nations has said poses the threat of a humanitarian disaster.

"We have killed, we are killing and we will kill terrorists. whether that be in Aleppo, Idlib or other parts of Syria".

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