Syria and Russia strike in Idlib as leaders meet in Tehran

Syrian and Russian jets struck anti-Assad forces in Idlib on Friday as the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey – the three main nations with boots on the ground in the war-torn country – started their summit meeting in Tehran.

The conquest of Idlib will allow Syrian leader Bashar Assad to regain full control of the country and the Tehran summit meeting between Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is where the future of Syria is currently being discussed.

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Faced with US demandsRouhani stated it is the US that should withdraw its forces out of Syria. He made it clear that the operations against anti-Assad forces in Idlib will continue until they all leave Syria. Citing Israel alongside the US the Iranian leader claimed the two countries will not achieve their goals by arming the anti-Assad forces.

Erdogan argued his country can not take in any more Syrian refugees and argued that a "rational solution" to the Idlib situation should be reached. Erdogan said it is crucial to maintain Idlib‘s current status and argued the US offers support to "terrorist groups" in Syria.

US President Donald Trump warned against a wide-scale operation in Idlib tweeting that "hundreds of thousands might die." Chariman of the Joint Chief of Staff General Joseph Dunford warned against a large scale Assad-forces attack in Idlib as that might lead to a humaniterian disaster. "I think we all want to avoid that", he said while visiting Athens earlier this week.

The visit to the Greek capital suggests the US looks to Greece as a potential partner should it need to use US forces to operate in Syria, reported Newsweek.  

The Secretary‘s Special Representative for Syria Engagement Ambassador Jim Jeffrey stated on Thursday that American forces will remain in Syria until ISIS is defeated and Iranian forces exit the country.

"Right now (the Syrian government) is a cadaver sitting in rubble with just half the territory of Syria under regime control on a good day," Jeffrey said.

He also warned that in Syria, but it was not up to Washington to get rid of him and it would work with Moscow on a political transition.

Trump will chair a U.N. Security Council meeting on Iran during an annual gathering of world leaders in New York later this month. The meeting will focus on Iran‘s nuclear program and its meddling in the wars in Syria and Yemen.

France has invited the United States, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Britain for talks on the sidelines of the U.N. meeting to discuss Syria, Jeffrey said.

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