Iran foreign minister arrives in Damascus for talks with Syrian officials: Tasnim

Iranian FM in Islamabad for talks with Pakistani leadership

Iranian FM in Islamabad for talks with Pakistani leadership

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday he was "deeply concerned about the growing risks of a humanitarian catastrophe in the event of a full-scale military operation in Idlib".

Indeed, the United Nations' Syria envoy last week described the situation in Idlib as "the flawless storm", with fighting therein expected to cause not only a humanitarian crisis but also further entangle Washington, Ankara and even Jerusalem in the web of destruction.

The looming assault on Idlib province is the one the government in Damascus hopes will deliver the final military blow against the rebel fighters and their civilian supporters who rose up more than seven years ago demanding regime change.

In preparation for this, a number of countries have begun negotiations for an agreement that would formally end the conflict, which is estimated to have killed approximately half a million people and displaced millions more.

In the first six months of this year, there were 38 attacks on medical infrastructure in the province, majority blamed on the government or its Russian ally, according to the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. "Any offensive will make an already precarious situation even worse", he said.

In the event of a new chemical attack, the Western powers might again react as they did in April, he said. For those fighters, the battle for Idlib will likely be the last showdown with the government and they are expected to put up a hard fight.

The US Defense Department told Sputnik Thursday that it was aware of reports of a huge military exercise Russian Federation planned to stage in the Mediterranean Sea this week, and hoped Moscow would follow the rules of safe conduct.

"I renew my appeal to the global community and to all the actors involved to use diplomacy, dialogue and negotiations in accordance with worldwide humanitarian law to protect the lives of civilians", he added.

Potential Tropical Cyclone Six has formed
We are still seeing the GFS bring this up to hurricane strength while the Euro tops this out at tropical storm strength. However, the weather service doesnt believe the tropical wave poses a threat to the region because its so disorganized.

"Cross-border operations provided a lifeline for civilians in regard to food supplies and other daily life products needed", said Krzysiek. The question, aid groups have warned, is where to.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said Washington views any government assault on Idlib as an escalation of Syria's war, and the State Department warned that Washington would respond to any chemical attack by Damascus.

"The US sees this as an escalation of an already unsafe conflict", Pompeo said in a post on Twitter in which he also blasted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for "defending (the) Syrian and Russian assault".

Addressing faithful in St. Peter's Square, Francis said "the winds of war are still blowing and troubling news reaches us about the risks of a possible humanitarian catastrophe" in Syria's Idlib province.

The UN has also requested worldwide parties involved in the Syrian civil war to do everything to prevent open warfare in Idlib, which is home to around three million people. "Not good. The world is watching", Pompeo said.

"There's no reason they should object to this in Idlib after accepting this in the south, Damascus, Aleppo, etc.", he said, "and the regime and Russian Federation understand this".

"Attacking the whole of Idlib to eliminate some radical groups would mean causing the death of hundreds of thousands of people and making 3.5 million people leave their homes one more time", Cavusoglu added.

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