Syrian FM says regime will try to avoid civilian deaths in Idlib

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will travel to Iran to meet with his Russian and Iranian counterparts Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani Turkish state television said

He further said that Syria would not use chemical weapons in any operation and that it did not have such weapons, adding that Damascus would try its best to "avoid possible civilian casualties and generally avoid bloodshed" in an upcoming full-scale offensive against terrorists in Idlib.

The UN's Syria peace envoy called Thursday for a humanitarian corridor.

Lavrov said on Wednesday that militants in Idlib had to be liquidated, describing them as "a festering abscess".

The situation raises hard questions for Washington, which has claimed its own military victory against the Islamic State in Syria but faces accusations from Russian Federation of tacitly supporting other militants - including some holed up Idlib - in a bid to prevent the Assad regime from consolidating its hold on power.

An estimated 2,000 USA military personnel remain inside Syria and have clashed with Russian and Russian-backed forces.

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Al Jazeera's Marwan Bishara discusses the meeting and a potential Idlib attack.

"We are conducting joint work with the Russians and Iranians on Idlib to avoid another Aleppo disaster", Erdoğan said during a Victory Day reception at the presidential palace in Ankara on August 30.

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

Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, said the five-day drills were justified by the situation around Idlib, the northwestern province where Syrian and allied Russian forces are expected to launch an offensive.

Government forces have been massing around Idlib province for weeks, particularly in Al-Ghab which was once a key farming area.

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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.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said this month he hoped Ankara and Moscow could find a solution for Idlib, warning that a bombing campaign there would be a massacre.

The war has killed over 400,000 people and driven more than 5.5 million to flee overseas.

Thousands of refugees had fled to Turkey after the regime assault targeting Aleppo in 2016.

"But that area most likely is under government control", he said. It has stepped up air strikes and shelling near the front lines, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said.

Neil Simon, prolific playwright and Pulitzer Prize victor , dies at 91
He is survived by daughters Ellen Simon, Nancy Simon, and Bryn Lander Simon, and wife Elaine Joyce Simon, whom he married in 1999. Many of his plays were adapted into movies and one, " The Odd Couple ", became a popular TV series.

Evacuations from eastern Ghouta, Deraa and other rebel territories captured by the regime have contributed to the displacement of more than half a million people to or within Idlib in the past six months, the United Nations said.

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