Iran, Russia and Turkey leaders to meet for crunch talks on Syria

Trump tweeted a warning to Syria and its allies — and then the Russian strikes began

A shepherd was also killed and four other people wounded in the bombardment, the Observatory said, although it was not immediately clear if they were fighters or civilians.

"Let's try to avoid that the last probably major battle of the Syrian territorial conflict...ends in a bloodbath", he told reporters in Geneva, insisting Russian Federation and Turkey held "the key for the soft solution to the Idlib issue".

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday arrived in Iran to attend a trilateral meeting on Syria in the Iranian capital Tehran. Turkey, which backed opposition forces against Syrian President Bashar Assad, fears a flood of refugees fleeing a military offensive and destabilizing areas it now holds in Syria.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the Syrian government should restore control over all of its territory.

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.

Among them were positions of the HTS and Ahrar al-Sham groups, the observatory said.

An estimated 10,000 Al-Qaeda-linked fighters are among those rebels, and Idlib is also home to about 3 million civilians - almost half of them displaced from other parts of Syria.

The Tehran meetings could determine the scale and the timeline of the Idlib offensive, which the United Nations has warned may displace 800,000 people. They are also due to hold a press conference.

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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.

Neighbouring Turkey has limited sway over the jihadists who control an estimated 60% of the province but it backs rebel groups there and has 12 military "observation points" across the province.

Idlib's population has swelled as the regime chalked up a series of victories across the country, reaching evacuation deals that saw tens of thousands of people bused there.

"The Trump Administration and the worldwide community have made it clear that there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict", Haley told the Council, which was to hold another meeting Friday on the crisis in Idlib. The country's state-run IRNA news agency described the summit as potentially offering an "agreement on peace and security" in Syria.

"The Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy".

Al-Watan, a Syrian newspaper close to the government, reported Monday the military operation could "immediately follow the summit". "Millions will be coming to Turkey's borders because they have nowhere to go".

Turkey, Russia and Iran previous year designated Idlib a so-called "de-escalation zone", but that deal did not cover former Al-Qaeda affiliate HTS.

Jeffrey said the U.S.is taking a tougher stance and will not tolerate an all-out attack on the region.

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