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Fate of Syria’s Idlib in balance at Tehran summit

2018-09-08 00:00:41
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Beirut/Istanbul (dpa), Sep 7, 2018- The leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey are meeting in Tehran on Friday to discuss the fate of Syria’s Idlib province at a summit, which Ankara sees as the last chance to avoid a massacre.   


The Syrian government has vowed to retake Idlib, the last opposition stronghold that has been controlled by the rebels since 2015.   


Russia and Iran are major allies of the Syrian government, while Ankara backs rebels.   


Turkey, which borders Idlib, criticized Russian airstrikes on the province days before the summit and has warned of a humanitarian catastrophe in the event of a bloody offensive.   


Syrian government troops and their allies have amassed troops near the Idlib countryside in preparation for a final assault.   


The north-western province is strategically important for the government because it borders Latakia, a province that is the main stronghold of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and home to the biggest Russian airbase in the country.   


Over the past three years, thousands of rebels and their families have been evacuated from different parts of Syria to Idlib under agreements with the government.   


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