‘Have killed, are killing, will kill terrorists in Syria’: Russia

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A Syrian woman sits on a straw mat next to children outside a tent at a camp for displaced civilians fleeing from advancing government forces near the village of Sarman in the rebel-held northwestern Idlib province, September 1, 2018.

His comments come as Syrian troops mass near the northwestern region of Idlib for a major assault that is raising fears of a humanitarian catastrophe on a scale not yet seen in the seven-year-old conflict.

Eyewitnesses inside Idlib province have told ABC News that hundreds of people are already on the move as Russian air strikes have begun hitting rebel positions in recent days.

Activists and residents say warplanes struck areas on the southern edge of Idlib province on Friday, killing one and causing loud explosions and large plumes of smoke.

The future of Idlib is likely to be determined at a summit on Friday, when the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey will gather in Tehran to discuss the future of Syria.

He said the United States had repeatedly asked Russian Federation whether it could "operate" in Idlib to eliminate the last holdouts of Islamic State and other extremist groups.

The UN says almost three million people live in Idlib and global concern has risen in recent days over a threatened regime assault to oust rebels and jihadists from the province and surrounding areas.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, said Wednesday that he hoped to use the meeting to reach a deal and prevent an all-out attack on the border province.

Idlib is one of the so-called "de-escalation" zones set up as a result of talks by Russia, Turkey and Iran previous year as Damascus regained control of more of the country. The attacks were launched with high precision weapons, it has been stated.

Russian Federation first intervened in Syria in 2015, helping to turn the tide of the civil war in favor of President Bashar Assad's forces. Moscow, however, has called Idlib a "nest of terrorists", the word it uses to refer to the rebels.

Rouhani also said the battle in Syria would continue until militants were pushed out of the whole country, especially in Idlib, but he added that any military operations should avoid hurting civilians.

Just a day earlier, Peskov had slammed Idlib as a "pocket of terrorism".

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the Syrian government should restore control over all of its territory.

"The leaders will in particular focus on the situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone, where terrorist remnants are concentrated", he said, in particular referring to HTS.

The US will chair a UN Security Council meeting Friday about the possible offensive.

"We are fighting for peace". His comments evoked past U.S. warnings about Syrian military activities and the regime's use of chemical weapons, which has previously triggered United States military strikes against Syrian targets.

The White House has warned that the United States and its allies would respond "swiftly and vigorously" if government forces used chemical weapons in the widely expected offensive.