Diplomats from Iran, Russia, Turkey meet United Nations envoy on Syria

Syria’s Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar al-Jaafari

But he stressed that "there are 100 civilians, a lot of them women and children, for every fighter in Idlib". "The safety and protection of some 2.9 million civilians residing in Idlib and surrounding areas is at risk", said Moumtzis.

Turkey regards the presence of its troops inside Idlib as a deterrent against a large-scale assault by forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies.

Other aid organisations also operate in the area, but their support is mostly limited to providing supplies to civilians already living in the existing border camps.

"We've tried to convey the message in recent days that if there's a third use of chemical weapons, the response will be much stronger", Bolton said in remarks to the conservative Federalist Society in Washington.

"We haven't said that the United States would use the military in response to an offensive", an administration official was quoted saying.

"I have 30 sheep".

Erdogan warned that the Assad regime was preparing to launch "a massive offensive against Idlib" where some 3 million people live and is one of the few safe havens for internally displaced Syrians.

Airstrikes pounded southern Idlib and northern Hama over the weekend.

Russian and Syrian warplanes resumed their bombing campaign last week and the presidents of Turkey, Iran and Russia on Friday failed to agree on a ceasefire that would forestall the offensive.

Meanwhile, the bombs keep falling.

The White Helmets, a team of first responders, also reported on the four people killed in Abdeen.

Syria's conflict has killed more than 350,000 people and forced millions more out of their homes, but the United Nations has warned a full-blown attack on Idlib could bring unprecedented suffering.

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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford told reporters in New Delhi that no final decision had been made as yet, Reuters reported.

While the Syrian government has regained control over most of the country's territories following several years of armed conflicts with opposition and militant groups, including terrorist organizations, the Idlib de-escalation zone remains a stronghold of insurgency and is still being cleared of terrorists.

But there is a further obstacle; the strip of land between Turkey-controlled Afrin and Idlib is controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a former al-Qaeda affiliate.

Its population ballooned as the regime chalked up a series of victories across the country, reaching deals that saw tens of thousands of rebels and civilians bussed into Idlib.

The opposition accuses Russian Federation and its allies of already striking at hospitals and civil defence centres to force rebels to surrender in a repeat of earlier, large-scale military offensives.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said dozens of Russian air raids hit southern and south-eastern areas of Idlib on Saturday.

The renewed strikes came a day after the leaders of rebel backer Turkey and regime allies Russian Federation and Iran failed at the summit in Tehran to agree on how to stave off a threatened offensive on the northwestern province of Idlib.

Delegations from the three countries will be in Geneva on Tuesday to meet the UN's Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura.

Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said the raids targeted jihadist and rebel positions, some of which were empty and others in use.

Turkey has already taken in over three million refugees from Syria and Ankara fears any large offensive will lead a new refugee influx of up to two million from Idlib.

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