French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called on Tuesday for keeping the door open for a political solution in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib as the regime prepared to launch an offensive on the opposition-held region.
He stated during a trip to Abu Dhabi that the Syrian regime and its backers “sense that they have won the war, but a war cannot be won if peace is not reached.”
He told Agence France Presse that “it is important today that the path to negotiations be open and not towards confrontation otherwise we will be headed towards tragedy.”
Half of Idlib’s 3 million people have already fled there from their homes in other parts of Syria, according to the United Nations, and any offensive threatens new displacement and human misery.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, on a visit to Syria, told Iranian state television that efforts are focused on achieving the exit of armed factions “with the least human cost.”
He said Idlib would be a major subject of discussion at a September 7 summit of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey was discussing joint action with Russia to target extremist groups in Idlib while avoiding a full-scale offensive. Ankara last week added Hayat Tahrir al-Sham to its list of designated terrorist groups.
Russian and Syrian regime jets resumed air strikes on Idlib on Tuesday.
The warplanes bombarded countryside around Jisr al-Shughour on the western edge of Idlib after weeks of lull, killing 13 civilians but no fighters, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and an opposition source.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
Copyright © Saudi Research and Publishing Co. All rights reserved.