Bombings and air raids kill 4 in Syria's rebel-held Idlib

A general view taken with a drone shows part of the rebel-held Idlib city

The Trump administration has warned for days about an expected assault on Idlib, the last major stronghold for rebels fighting in Syria, while urging Syrian leader Bashar Assad and his allies not to use chemical weapons. Rouhani also spoke of "cleansing the Idlib region of terrorists", while also noting the need of protecting civilians.

Citing videos shared by Syrians that a number of migrants are seen scaling the wall with ladders, local media reported that the breach, caused by the latest airstrikes in Idlib, happened near the southern Turkish province of Hatay's Altınözü district.

The leaders of Turkey and Russian Federation met Friday with their Iranian counterpart to reach a consensus on Syria's last opposition-held province. "We should think together over all aspects of this complicated issue", Mr. Putin said, speaking of Idlib.

Witnesses and rescuers said at least a dozen air strikes hit a string of villages and towns in southern Idlib and the town of Latamneh in northern Hama, where rebels are still in control. Russian warplanes are already bombing Idlib, and Syrian troops have shelled it. "Any attack on Idlib would result in a catastrophe".

"The fires of war and bloodshed in Syria are reaching their end", Mr. Rouhani said, while adding that terrorism must "be uprooted in Syria, particularly in Idlib". President Trump has previously labelled Assad an "animal" for using the banned weapons, and called Iran and Russian Federation "responsible for backing" him. They might come to Turkey or go back to their own countries.

The plan is aimed at avoiding a major attack on the militants in return for giving them a chance to leave the area if they hand over their weapons to the Free Syrian Army, the main non-Islamist rebel group.

While it's hard to be sure of the depth of Trump's engagement on Syria policy considering his quick reversals in recent months, he was part of an effort by USA officials this week to warn the Syrian regime and its allies not to use chemical weapons or target civilians as they prepare for an assault on Idlib province, the last rebel stronghold.

Black said the Syrian government provided his lodging in Damascus, as well as an interpreter and ground transportation between Beirut and Damascus. "We don't want Idlib to turn into a bloodbath", he added.

Mr. Erdoğan has long viewed Assad as illegitimate, wrote Ms. Aydıntaşbaş, in an ECFR analysis published Thursday, so "despite a begrudging acceptance of the regime's wartime gains over the past two years, Ankara is in no mood to facilitate Assad's victory in Idlib".

Idlib is the last of four de-escalation zones created under the auspices of the Astana Process in which rebels and their families were transferred to designated areas protected by a cease-fire.

The rare flare-up in the Kurdish-majority city near the Turkish border saw 11 regime fighters and seven Kurds killed, the Kurdish security forces said.

Kurdish security forces, known as Asayish, said that a government patrol entered the areas controlled by the Kurdish militia in Qamishli and began arresting civilians, then shot at a Kurdish checkpoint, sparking the gun battle.

Black said he and Assad spent three hours in the president's office, in a mostly upbeat discussion about how the country has fared since the senator's last visit. They seized the territories, with the backing of the US-led coalition, after driving out ISIS militants.

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