Russian air strikes pound Syria's Idlib before key summit

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"The Turks have shown a great deal of resistance to an attack".

Speaking from Tehran, Al Jazeera's Zein Basravi said that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Russian President Vladimir Putin were "speaking from both sides of their mouths" during their opening statements.

But each nation has its own interests in the years-long war in Syria.

Iran wants to keep its foothold in the Mediterranean state neighbouring Israel and Lebanon.

Iranian and Russian support for Syrian President Bashar Assad has shored up the Damascus regime, allowing it to regain the upper hand in the seven-year civil war which has claimed some 350,000 lives since 2011.

"The Tehran summit can produce peace and reconciliation in Syria, or it can deepen the mess created by endless bouts of violence mainly instigated by the Assad regime", İlnur Çevik, a senior adviser to Erdoğan, wrote in the Daily Sabah newspaper.

Idlib is the last stronghold of terrorists in Syria, and Moscow has been recently voicing huge concerns that the U.S. is apparently attempting to keep them in the area. Ankara, which has the most to lose should an offensive take place, has been trying to negotiate with opposition armed groups, including al-Qaeda-linked Hay'et Tahrir al-Sham.

The streets of Tehran were quiet on Friday, the second day of the Iranian weekend.

"A total and definitive liquidation of the terrorists across all of Syria's territory is necessary", said Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

For Turkey, the stakes couldn't be higher.

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The northwest province of Idlib borders Turkey, which has closed its borders after taking in more than three million Syrian refugees.

A shepherd was also killed and four other people wounded in the bombardment, the Observatory said, although it was not immediately clear if they were fighters or civilians.

Naji Al-Mustafa, a spokesman for the Turkey-backed National Front for Liberation, said Friday his fighters were prepared for a battle that they expect will spark a major humanitarian crisis. Jefrey said the goal is to produce a political solution in Syria that stops the fighting and prevents conditions for a return of ISIS or another extremist group.

"There are no civilians left at all in the targeted villages", Hasan Younis, a member of the White Helmets emergency medical team based in southern Idlib province, said to ABC News.

The Damascus regime is present in a southeastern chunk of the province.

Turkey, which shares a border with Syria, has backed the opposition while Russian Federation and Iran support the Syrian government.

The Trump administration is walking back the notion of an imminent pullout of USA forces from Syria, promising to remain until there is an "enduring defeat" of ISIS.

One of the newly sanctioned individuals, Muhammad al-Qatirji and his company Qatirji Company, maintain "strong ties to the Syrian regime and facilitates fuel trade between the regime and ISIS, including providing oil products to ISIS-controlled territory", according to information provided by the Treasury Department, which oversees and enforces sanctions. They said a military strike on Idlib would lead to a "humanitarian catastrophe".

Just hours later, the UN Security Council will also meet at Washington's request, also to discuss Idlib.

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