There is "lots of evidence" that chemical weapons are being prepared by Syrian government forces in Idlib in northwest Syria, the new USA adviser for Syria said on Thursday, warning of the risks of an offensive on the country's last big rebel enclave.
Government forces and their allies have been massing around Idlib, where aid groups fear that what could be the last major battle of Syria's seven-year civil war may also prove the deadliest.
The opposition forces that are now in Idlib have expressed their hope that Turkey, their main ally, will prevent the attack from Russian Federation and Al-Assad.
On Thursday, Russia said it would continue to kill "terrorists" in Idlib and elsewhere in Syria to bring back peace.
With the campaign against ISIS winding down and Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad crushing the vast majority of his opposition, Jeffrey said it was time for a "major diplomatic offensive" in the weeks leading up to the United Nations General Assembly later this month. A government assault creates a nightmare scenario of potentially hundreds of thousands of people, including militants, fleeing toward its border and destabilizing towns and cities in northern Syria under its control. The Russian military says it struck militant targets far from residential areas.
Russian Federation is looking to the summit as a means of clarifying the military situation in Idlib, deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Wednesday.
"That Russia is seeking to plant false lies about chemical weapons use suggests that Moscow is seeking to deflect from its own culpability when these heinous weapons are used", Commander Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.
US President Donald Trump has twice ordered US-led strikes against targets in Syria in response to what Washington called the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons against civilians.
Among them were positions of the jihadist Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) alliance, as well as of the hardline Ahrar al-Sham group, the Britain-based monitor said.
The final statement of the summit between Russia, Turkey and Iran has already been finalized by senior representatives from the countries, according to Hossein Jaberi Ansari, Iran's top negotiator in the discussions.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani will host his Russian and Turkish counterparts Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan this afternoon. "The Turks have shown a great deal of resistance to an attack", he said.
The United States on Wednesday warned an all-out offensive in Idlib would be a "reckless escalation" of the conflict.
Idlib is the last stronghold of terrorists in Syria, and Moscow has been recently voicing huge concerns that the U.S. is apparently attempting to keep them in the area.