Russian Federation says Syria has right to chase militants out of Idlib

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif shake hands prior to surprise talks in Ankara likely to have focused on Syria where an offensive is expected against rebel-held Idlib province

The state Department announced Friday evening that the two of USA special envoy on Syria will visit Israel, Jordan and Turkey, as Syrian government and its opponents are preparing for a final bloody battle in Idlib.

He said France will press at this month's U.N. General Assembly for a political solution in Syria, and is holding talks with Russia, Turkey and Iran to push them to use their influence with Assad to ensure political negotiations after the war ends.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Thursday that Israel will continue to act in Syria as it deems necessary for its national defense, without consideration for the global agreements that would formally end the brutal eight-year civil war in the country. It has been argued that Turkey may be involved in convincing Tahrir al-Sham (called also Jabhat al-Nusra) to merge with other armed groups.

A source has told Reuters Assad is preparing a phased offensive to regain the province.

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.

"We would probably dissolve Tahrir al-Sham because it faces the pressure of Russian Federation and even Turkey".

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced in the conflict, according to the UN.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has warned Russian Federation that seeking a military solution in Idlib would cause "catastrophe" and trigger an new influx of refugees across its borders.

Pope Francis on Sunday called on the global community to ensure the safety of civilians in Syria's Idlib province, one of the last opposition-held territories in the conflict-ridden nation.

That change came days after Abu Muhammad al-Julani, the HTS leader, denounced any talk of reconciliation with the Syrian government in a video message, according to the SITE group, which monitors jihadi websites. Western countries immediately blamed Damascus for the attack.

There were also reports that terrorist factions in Idlib were literally setting the stage for a false flag chemical "incident". But the strongest alliance of fighters is led by an al-Qaida-linked group that controls most of the area that is also home to some 3 million people.

The government has been accused of attacking civilians with chemicals in previous operations, including in Douma near Damascus and in Khan Sheikhun, in Idlib.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Damascus to discuss plans for an upcoming summit between the leaders of Iran, Russia and Turkey, which Tehran will host on September 7 to discuss Idlib, Iran's Fars news agency reported.

Assad's forces suffered serious setbacks early in the war, but Russian backing has helped them retake control of 60 percent of Syria.

United Nations officials say fighting could displace upward of 800,000 civilians from Idlib, yet there is no arrangement to allow safe passage to those who want to escape the fighting.

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