United Nations fears chemical weapons in Syria battle with '10,000 terrorists'

Ali Abdullah Ayyoub the Syrian defence minister left met Amir Hatami his Iranian counterpart in Damascus

Turkey has proposed that the United States share intelligence with Russian Federation and Iran on Syrian extremist groups to prevent what could become the biggest humanitarian crisis of the seven-year war.

Any offensive on Idlib could raise tensions with Turkey, which maintains observation posts around rebel territory as part of a "de-escalation deal" with Russian Federation and Iran, another ally of the Syrian government.

Now they have nowhere left to turn, after other opposition pockets have collapsed, and Turkey has largely sealed its borders to new refugees.

"We already went through that in the past and we need to make sure that this will not happen again", he said, adding that the use of chemical weapons would be "unacceptable".

Anatoly Antonov, Russia's ambassador to the United States, said earlier on Thursday that he had told U.S. officials that Moscow was concerned by signs that the United States was preparing new strikes on Syria.

The Russian Defense Ministry told reporters Thursday that it would begin major military drills in the Mediterranean Sea throughout the first week of September in an exercise it claimed would focus on anti-air and anti-submarine defense maneuvers.

However, Mistura said, it would be better to set up humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians than rush into a battle which could turn prove to be a "perfect storm".

Turkey, Russia and Iran are now engaged in a diplomatic flurry as they seek a solution to the Idlib conundrum.

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People wait in line outside the museum where Aretha Franklin will lie for two days of public viewing in Detroit , Michigan. Franklin's dress has a lace bodice and sleeves with a netted skirt, while her red pumps are from Christian Louboutin.

Another provocation is being prepared in order to impede plans to carry out an anti-terrorist operation in Idlib ...

There could be no justification to use heavy weapons against them in densely populated areas, he said.

The leaders of Russia, Iran, and Turkey are slated to meet next week in the northern Iranian city of Tabriz, where many are hoping for a deal to avert a calamitous battle over Idlib.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said this month he hoped Ankara and Moscow could find a solution for Idlib, warning that a bombing campaign there would be a massacre.

Lavrov said on Wednesday that militants in Idlib had to be liquidated, describing them as "a festering abscess".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem in Moscow, Russia August 30, 2018. A source has told Reuters Assad is preparing a phased offensive to regain the province.

More than 350,000 people have been killed in the conflict and millions forced to flee their homes. Numerous displaced people fled earlier offensives to escape the fighting or avoid coming back under Assad's rule - including those bussed to Idlib under "evacuation" deals when rebels surrendered other enclaves.

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