Indiscriminate bombing of Syria's Idlib could be war crime, says France

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"Our top line message is there needs to be ways of dealing with this problem that don't turn the next few months in Idlib into the worst humanitarian catastrophe, with the biggest loss of life of the 21st century", Lowcock told reporters in Geneva.

That warning was echoed later by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who said a full-scale battle in Idlib "would unleash a humanitarian nightmare unlike any seen in the blood-soaked Syrian conflict".

"This (A full-scale attack) would unleash a humanitarian nightmare unlike any seen in the blood-soaked Syrian conflict", said the UN chief in a press encounter at UN Headquarters in NY.

The talks in Geneva, under United Nations envoy Staffan de Mistura, come amid concerns about a looming battle for northern Idlib province - the last remaining rebel stronghold in Syria after seven years of war, which is home to three million civilians.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan last week failed to secure a pledge for a ceasefire in Idlib from Russian Federation and Iran, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's main backers, at a trilateral summit in Tehran.

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Russian Federation responded and insisted that the planned assault on Idlib is a "counterterrorism operation" and that measures will be taken to spare civilians.

Sinirlioğlu warned "an all-out military operation would result in a major humanitarian catastrophe".

Turkey is backing rebel groups and has troops in the country's north.

"An operation would result in a massacre", Erdogan says.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis declined to say Tuesday whether the United States would take military action against the Syrian regime should it use chemical weapons, but he did say Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad has "been warned".

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It is unclear when the offensive will formally begin and what impact the fall of Idlib could have on Turkish-controlled Afrin and the northern provinces controlled by the US-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Vassily Nebenzia was briefing the council on last Friday's summit of the presidents of the three Astana countries in Tehran, stressing that they are committed "to continue helping with a definitive elimination of terrorism in Syria".

"All we've seen are the actions of cowards interested in a bloody military conquest of Idlib".

"Russia, Iran and Assad are demolishing Idlib and asking us to call it peace", she said.

Idlib province and adjacent rural areas form the largest piece of territory still held by Syria's beleaguered opposition fighters, worn down by a succession of regime victories in recent months.

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He said 47 percent of those displaced have moved to camps, 29 percent are staying with families, 14 percent have settled in informal camps and 10 percent are in rented accommodation. Over two million people live in the zone now, hundreds of thousands of them already displaced by the brutal seven-year war and others heavily dependent on humanitarian aid to survive.

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