Assad regime to go 'all the way' in Syria's Idlib

Russia warships

It came shortly after Russia's Defense Ministry told Russian news agencies that Russia will deploy 25 ships, including a missile cruiser, and 30 jets for the maneuvers in the first week of September.

The ministry said the maneuvers will focus on antiaircraft, antisubmarine, and demining exercises.

Key brokers on Thursday held last-ditch talks on the fate of Syria's only remaining rebel-held province, hoping to stave off a government offensive which the United Nations has warned could spark catastrophe.

The Syrian regime forces were preparing for a phased offensive in Idlib and surrounding areas, a source close to Damascus told Reuters on Wednesday.

CORRECTING BYLINE Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem enter a hall for their talks in Moscow, Russia August 30, 2018.

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"The lives of 2.9 million people are at stake, and worldwide mutually threatening messages and warnings and counter-warnings are taking place in the last few days".

Turkish and Russian officials have been discussing options to avoid a military escalation in northwestern Syria's Idlib province.

Russia, an ally of Syria, has provided military assistance to Syrian dictator President Bashar al-Assad to reestablish power in the country after it faced violence from the Syrian Civil War beginning in 2011 and the growth of ISIS.

"There is a flawless storm based on warnings, counter-warnings [from the U.S. and Russia]", said Staffan de Mistura, UN envoy to Syria.

He added that the Arab country was in the "last step" to resolve the years-long crisis and liberate all its territories from the clutches of terrorists "and that's why the United States, Britain and France want to attack Idlib with the aim of obstructing the political settlement process and helping al-Nusra group".

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On Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey is collaborating with Russian Federation and Iran "to prevent an Aleppo-like disaster" in Idlib. "They were behind the organization of those fabricated scenarios for the use of chemical weapons and now they are preparing such a development of the situation with the use of chemical weapons in Idlib", Muallem said.

"This is how we destroyed the terror corridor along our borders with Syria".

The UN estimates that a major Syrian government offensive in the Idlib area risks forcing another 700,000 Syrians from their homes.

Russian Federation remains in discussions with its Astana Process partner Turkey - the guarantor of a de-escalation zone in Idlib - on how to avert a full-scale battle.

The Syrian port of Tartous is critical for that Russian deployment.

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Talks with China were left at a stand-off Thursday, with tariffs at the center of the latest disagreement. The sanctions were created to exert painful economic pressure on Pyongyang and drive North Korea's Mr.

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