Da­m­as­cus shells Idlib af­ter Un chief warns of ‘blood­bath’

The Miracle - - Middle East -

Gov­ern­ment forces shelled Syria’s last ma­jor rebel bas­tion on Wed­nes­day, hours af­ter UN chief An­to­nio Guter­res warned the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil any full-blown of­fen­sive in Idlib risks trig­ger­ing a “blood­bath.” As troops massed for a Rus­sian-backed of­fen­sive in the north­west, .ur­dish-led rebels launched a US-backed as­sault in the east to o us tD ae sh from its last re­doubt in the( uphrates 9 al­ley, the US-led coali­tion con­firmed. In­ter­mit­tent ar­tillery fire hit south­ern dis­tricts of Idlib prov­ince and ad­ja­cent rebel-held ar­eas of Hama prov­ince, the Syr­ian Observatory for Hu­man Rights said. The Bri­tain-based war mon­i­tor did not im­me­di­ately re­port any ca­su­al­ties from the bom­bard­ment which came af­ter shelling and air strikes killed at least 15 civil­ians in the rebel zone since Sept. 4. The north­west­ern prov­ince and ad­ja­cent ar­eas form the largest chunk of ter­ri­tory still held by the rebels, who have been worn down by a suc­ces­sion of de­feats in other parts of the coun­try. Rus­sia-backed gov­ern­ment forces have been mass­ing for weeks around Idlib, which is home to nearly 3 mil­lion peo­ple, many of them al­ready de­pen­dent on aid. UN agen­cies and re­lief or­ga­ni­za­tions have warned re­peat­edly that any ma­jor as­sault could spark one of the worst hu­man­i­tar­ian dis­as­ters of Syria’s war.“It is ab­so­lutely es- sen­tial to avoid a full-scale bat­tle in Idlib,” Guter­res said on Tues­day. “This would un­leash a hu­man­i­tar­ian night­mare un­like any seen in the blood-soaked Syr­ian con­flict.” Ankara, which al­ready hosts more than 3 mil­lion Syr­ian refugees, fears a new mass ex­o­dus and has called re­peat­edly for a cease­fire to give time for a ne­go­ti­ated set­tle­ment. More than half of Idlib prov­ince is held by Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, an ex­trem­ist al­liance led by Syria’s for­mer Al-Qaeda af­fil­i­ate, and Turkey has warned a gov­ern­ment of­fen­sive could scat­ter thou­sands of for­eign ex­trem­ists abroad, pos­ing a se­cu­rity threat to the West. A ma­jor bat­tle would trig­ger a “mas­sive wave of refugees and tremen­dous se- cu­rity risks for Turkey, the rest of (urope and beyond,” Turk­ish am­bas­sador Feridun Sinir­li­oglu told the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil on Tues­day..

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.