Erdogan warns of 'massacre' in Syria's Idlib

White House pledges to 'respond swiftly' if Assad uses chemical weapons again

Turkey, which shares a border with Syria, has backed the opposition while Russian Federation and Iran support the Syrian government.

At the request of Damascus, Iran has been offering advisory military assistance to the Syrian army.

Trump will chair a UN Security Council meeting on Iran during an annual gathering of world leaders in NY later this month.

Part of the motivation for this change is uncertainty about whether Russian Federation is willing or able to help get Iran - which along with Russian Federation is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's closest ally - out of the country.

The presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey met Friday to discuss the future of Syria as a bloody military operation looms in the last rebel-held area of the war-ravaged nation, urging militants to lay down their weapons. His comments evoked past USA warnings about Syrian military activities and the regime's use of chemical weapons, which has previously triggered U.S. military strikes against Syrian targets.

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Russian Federation and Iran are both allies of the Syrian government, which has set its sights on retaking Idlib in what it sees as the next critical step to clinching a military victory in the seven-year civil war that has killed more than 400,000 people and displaced millions.

According to the plan, 12 armed groups - including Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Idlib - would lay down their arms and be evacuated from the province, the newspaper said, without revealing its sources.

Hossein Jaberi Ansari, a senior aide in the Foreign Ministry, said the presidents would seek a compromise and that "Turkey and Iran are sufficiently mature politically to facilitate such a compromise". He told Iranian state-run TV on Thursday night that, "the final statement was finalized through negotiations in Tehran and if approved by the three presidents it will be rolled out as the final statement".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a cease-fire and an end to airstrikes in the northwestern province of Idlib, something that wasn't immediately accepted by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

"We need to find a rational solution in Idlib that will address everyone's concerns".

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Under an earlier agreement between the three powers, Idlib was designated a "de-escalation zone", and Turkish troops deployed to observation posts in the province.

Trump shifted his public tone on Syria within a matter of weeks, as the US and its allies launched missile strikes against Syria in April over a chemical attack against civilians in the city of Duoma.

"I don't think that either of these countries, or really anyone, has an interest in doing something which is genuinely destabilising to Turkey", he added. "The Turks have shown a great deal of resistance to an attack".

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.

Jeffrey warned of the risks of an offensive on the province and said the US wouldn't "tolerate an attack (on Idlib), period!" There are an estimated 30,000 rebel fighters still in the area, including some 10,000 al-Qaeda-linked militants.

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