Erdogan warns of ´ massacre ´ in Idlib

Erdogan warns of ´ massacre ´ in Idlib

Istanbul _ Agencies

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned in remarks published on Wednesday that a large-scale attack on Idlib, the last province still dominated by the opposition in Syria, could cause a "massacre".

"God forbid, there may be a serious massacre if the rockets hit there," Erdogan was quoted as saying by the daily "Hurit" to reporters aboard his plane after a visit to Kyrgyzstan.

His remarks came at a time when Syrian regime forces are sending reinforcements to the northwestern Idlib region in preparation for a large-scale operation that is raising fears of a humanitarian catastrophe on a scale not yet witnessed by the country during its seven-year-long conflict.

Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad´s regime, on Tuesday launched air raids on Idlib after a 22-day stopover.

Turkey, which supports some opposition factions, has held several rounds of talks with Moscow and Washington aimed at averting an attack on Idlib.

"Our cooperation with Russia is now very important," Erdogan said. The United States is throwing the ball at Russia´s stadium and is being thrown by Russia at the U.S. stadium. "

Erdogan spoke of a "ruthless operation" taking place in Idlib, warning that the intensification of the fighting would cause the influx of refugees.

"3.5 million people live there," Erdogan said. God forbid, Turkey will once again be the place where they will flee in the event of a catastrophe. "

Idlib is among the areas of "tension reduction" that took place following talks between Russia, Turkey and Iran last year at a time when Damascus is regaining control of one area after another in the country.

Erdogan will hold a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and Iranian Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on Friday at a summit expected to focus on Idlib.

"God willing, we will succeed in preventing the regime from doing excessive work there by reaching a positive outcome at the Tehran Summit," he said.

The UN Security Council is also expected to meet Friday to discuss the situation in Idlib amid growing concern over an attack on the potential use of chemical weapons.

Washington warned Tuesday that it would respond if Damascus used chemical weapons.