Iranian forces arrive in Syria to fight in Idlib

Syrian government forces attack rebel-held city

The Treasury Department said it was targeting four individuals and five entities for facilitating weapons and fuel transfers to the Assad government, some of whom the USA accuses of being linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

A major assault would be devastating for the almost three million people living in the northwestern province, many of them rebels and civilians who were moved out of other areas as they came back under regime control.

The fate of the insurgent stronghold in and around Idlib province rests on a meeting to be held in Tehran on Friday between the leaders of Assad's supporters Russian Federation and Iran, and the rebels' ally, Turkey.

Russian Federation will continue to kill "terrorists" in Idlib and elsewhere in Syria to bring back peace, the foreign ministry said Thursday.

"In the past 18 months I have stood on this floor twice, promising that the United States would respond to the use of chemical weapons in Syria", she said.

Tuesday's bombardment hit several areas held by the jihadist-led Hayat Tahrir al-Sham alliance, among them the town of Jisr al-Shughur, but also areas held by rival Turkish-backed rebels, according to Agence France-Presse.

For Russia and Iran- who have been both allies of the Syrian government ever since the war broke out in Syria during the Arab Spring - reclaiming Idlib is vital to complete what they perceive as a military victory in Syrian conflict after Syrian troops recaptured almost all other prominent areas, largely quelling the rebellion against Assad.

A bloody offensive that creates a massive wave of death and displacement, however, runs counter to their narrative that the situation in Syria is normalising, and could hurt Russia's longer-term efforts to encourage the return of refugees and get western countries to invest in Syria's postwar reconstruction.

For Turkey, the stakes could not be higher. Turkey already hosts 3.5 million Syrian refugees and has sealed its borders to newcomers.

Abdurrahman said suspected Russian warplanes carried out the air strikes, which came just hours ahead of the Tehran summit.

Analyst Sam Heller with the International Crisis Group said there was some hope of a deal.

Turkey also doesn't want to see another YPG/PKK-controlled area rise along its border, as it already faces in northern Iraq.

As the conflict approaches its endgame, Iran, Turkey and Russian Federation are seeking to safeguard their own interests after investing heavily militarily and diplomatically in Syria. But all too often, establishment takedowns of Trump-from centrist conservatives and liberals who consider themselves "the grownups" in this improbable era-dwell on course-correcting one of the few things the Trump administration has done moderately right: not getting us further entangled in foreign civil wars, nation-building boondoggles, and other imperial adventures of the sort that Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama adored. While Idlib is expected to top the agenda, the trio are also expected to discuss mechanisms for minimizing the impact of United States financial pressure.

The Syrian military has been urging the rebels in Idlib to surrender.

"To fight terrorism in Idlib is inevitable and part of a mission to bring about peace and stability to Syria", he said.

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

Rouhani's criticism of the United States was echoed by Turkish President Erdogan who stated that Turkey is "deeply annoyed by USA supporting a terrorist organisation in Syria".

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