US Threatens Attack on Syria Will Be Stronger Than Ever

Turkey deploys military vehicles to Syria

At the summit in Tehran, Erdogan, Russia's Vladimir Putin and Iran's Hassan Rouhani agreed in a statement that there could be no military solution to the conflict and it could only end through a negotiated political process.

Fighters from a coalition of Islamist forces celebrate on after taking the al-Mastumah base in the Syrian city of Idlib.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday that it is "absolutely essential" to avoid a full-scale attack on Syria's Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold in the country.

The US ambassador, Nikki Haley, said Syrian forces, backed by Russian Federation and Iran, had already launched 100 airstrikes on Idlib this month and that their sole aim was "a bloody military conquest of Idlib". At a council meeting also on Friday, Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia defended the military plans for Idlib, saying armed groups linked to Al-Qaeda were "a legitimate target for liquidation".

In an article in today's Wall Street Journal, he calls on the worldwide community to take action, and warns that "the entire world stands to pay the price" otherwise.

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"We're deeply concerned about this recent escalation of violence, which has resulted in the displacement of over 30,000 in the area".

The Russian defence ministry, citing Idlib residents, said film crews from several Middle Eastern TV channels - as well as "a regional branch of a leading USA news channel" - had arrived for the shoot in the city of Jisr Al Shughur in Idlib.

The second factor is the potential use of chemical weapons by Syrian government forces.

Speaking at a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, Mark Lowcock, chief of the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said more than 30,000 people were already displaced by Russian and Syrian airstrikes and another 800,000 could soon follow, The Independent reported. "That's something we're monitoring very closely", OCHA spokesman David Swanson said.

Yesterday, the United Nations warned that a large-scale military operation against Idlib could create "the worst humanitarian catastrophe with the biggest loss of life in the 21st century".

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Over two million people live in the zone now, hundreds of thousands of them already displaced by the brutal seven-year war and others heavily dependent on humanitarian aid to survive.

She told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that "Russia has the power to stop the catastrophe looming in Idlib".

But Russia and Iran have rejected Turkey's call for a ceasefire.

The offensive came just hours after more than 60 air raids killed at least four civilians in southern Idlib on Saturday.

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