Turkish President Erdoğan urges ceasefire in Idlib to avert ’bloodbath’

White House pledges to 'respond swiftly' if Assad uses chemical weapons again

Erdogan and Putin along with their Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani will hold a series of bilateral meetings before going behind closed doors for the trilateral talks. As photographers took pictures of the three leaders Rouhani, smiling, reached for both of their hands.

The United Nations has warned of a humanitarian disaster if Syria forces, backed by Russian Federation and Iran, launch an all-out attack in Idlib, the last major rebel bastion.

Staffan de Mistura, the United Nation's Syria envoy, made a personal appeal to Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin to work together to find a "soft solution to this crisis". The meeting in Tehran marks the third time the presidents of Turkey, Russia, and Iran have met over Syria in less than a year.

Iran wants to keep its foothold in the Mediterranean state neighbouring Israel and Lebanon. Both Erdogan and Rouhani condemned the alleged U.S. support to rebel groups battling President Bashar al Assad's regime in a conflict that has claimed the lives of at least 5,00,000 people and displaced millions of Syrians, triggering a much larger migrant crisis impacting European nations across the Mediterranean. Russian Federation wants to maintain its regional presence.

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"The illegal U.S. meddling in Syria is not in conformity with any worldwide regulations and adds to the ongoing problems in that country while posing a serious challenge to the process to achieve sustainable peace in Syria", the Iranian president said. That also includes an estimated 10,000 hard-core fighters, including al-Qaida-linked militants.

A general view taken with a drone shows part of the rebel-held Idlib city, Syria, June 8, 2017.

The streets of Tehran were quiet on Friday, the second day of the Iranian weekend.

For Turkey, the stakes could not be higher.

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The UN has warned that an all-out offensive in Idlib will lead to death and destruction even greater than that seen previously in Syria, including the displacement of another 800,000 civilians - most of whom are likely to seek refuge in nearby Turkey, which already hosts 3.5 million war refugees.

"Idlib is of vital importance not only for Syria's future but also for our national security, as well as peace and stability in the region", the Turkish leader said.

The attacks have prompted terrified residents to flee before a fully-fledged assault is launched, the monitor said. "There is lots of evidence that chemical weapons are being prepared".

The Russian president argued that, if as many Syrians as possible get a chance to return to peaceful lives, it would give an impetus to a political resolution of the conflict between the Syrian government and the so-called "moderate opposition".

US President Donald Trump warned against a wide-scale operation in Idlib tweeting that "hundreds of thousands might die". Although America has some 2,000 troops and outposts in Syria, Trump has said he wants to pull those forces out after the war against the Islamic State group dislodged the extremists from vast territories it once held there and in Iraq.

At the request of Damascus, Iran has been offering advisory military assistance to the Syrian army.

Just hours later, the UN Security Council will also meet at Washington's request, also to discuss Idlib.

"There is no military solution to the Syrian conflict", Haley said in a statement Wednesday.

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