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Germany urges Russian Federation to avert Syria humanitarian crisis

15 September 2018

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday in another bid to avert a looming Syrian government assault on the rebel-held province of Idlib bordering Turkey that has sparked global concern.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu attends a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, August 14, 2018.

According to the report, Turkey was represented by Ibrahim Kalin, Mr Erdogan's special adviser; Germany by its national security adviser John Hacker; France by Philipe Etienne, senior diplomatic counselor for French President Emmanuel Macron; and Russian Federation by Yuri Ushakov, senior adviser to Mr Putin.

Ankara failed last week to win agreement for a ceasefire from Russian Federation and Iran, President Bashar al-Assad's main backers, but there has been a recent lull in air strikes and a pro-Damascus source indicated a ground attack may not be imminent.

Located near the Turkish border, Idlib is home to almost two million internally displaced people, who fled from other cities following attacks by the regime forces.

Although it opened its doors to Syrians escaping the fighting in the early years of the conflict, Turkey has since built a wall along its 900 km (560 mile) border with Syria.

Turkey has resumed arming rebel fighters in Idlib, which is braced for an imminent offensive by President Assad.

The war has killed 110,687 civilians, including more than 20,000 children and almost 13,000 women. We will continue our efforts in global platforms as well.

"The safety and protection of some 2.9mn civilians residing in Idlib and surrounding areas is at risk".

In the case of an offensive, the United Nations estimates almost 700,000 will be displaced inside Idlib, and about 100,000 to head to nearby government-held areas.

Already hosting 3.5 million Syrians - the world's biggest refugee population - Turkey says it can not absorb more victims of the war and has accused the West of abandoning it to face the consequences of President Bashar al-Assad's reconquest of Syria.

Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday a Turkish convoy entered from Kfar Lusin crossing in northern Idlib, heading to some of the 12 Turkish observations points that ring Idlib. Both said the convoy was heading to two different observation points, one south of Idlib and another in the center. "The operation is not canceled, but we have time".

Syrian government forces, backed by Russian Federation and Iran, have been massing troops for weeks in preparation for an attack on Idlib province, the last major rebel stronghold in the country.

"And we are also assisting in creating humanitarian corridors and safe havens for civilians", he added.

Germany urges Russian Federation to avert Syria humanitarian crisis