Turkey boosts arms to Syrian rebels as Idlib attack looms, groups say

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Turkey is reinforcing its military posts inside Syria's rebel-held province of Idlib, Turkish and Syrian rebels sources say, seeking to deter a government offensive which it says would unleash a humanitarian disaster on its border.

A major battle would trigger a "massive wave of refugees and tremendous security risks for Turkey, the rest of Europe and beyond", Turkish ambassador Feridun Sinirlioglu told the Security Council on Tuesday.

The UN has warned a large-scale military operation could create "the worst humanitarian catastrophe" of this century in Idlib, home to some 3 million people - about half of them displaced from other parts of the country.

Two children were killed in heavy barrel bomb attacks on a village in Idlib's south Sunday, a day after 10 civilians died in shelling across the rebel zone, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

However Russia's Syria envoy said on Tuesday it would be up to Turkey to separate terrorist elements from the moderate opposition.

"Russia has the power to stop the catastrophe looming in Idlib", she said.

A second rebel commander said: "They are getting new shipments of munitions - they don't need more than munitions".

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Haley accused Russian Federation and Iran of having little interest in a political solution and called their actions those of "cowards interested in a bloody military conquest".

Russian Federation has openly backed the Syrian government's efforts to combat the various terrorist groups operating in its territory, many of which are funded, financed, and supported by Western intelligence agencies in their not-so-covert war against Assad.

The UN chief spoke after Russian Federation and Iran clashed with Turkey at a summit last week on plans for military action to restore Syria's control over Idlib, where three million people live.

The U.S., Britain and France have pledged to respond to any use of chemical weapons in Idlib. It said that followed a US request to the chancellery.

Turkey, which now hosts some 3.5 million refugees, has also said that it could not accommodate any more migrants if an attack on Idlib caused a new surge of refugees towards its border. Asked whether Iran shared concerns about a possible humanitarian catastrophe in Idlib, he replied: "We are anxious too".

Haley warned of dire consequences if mass casualties were caused if the assault went ahead. "The world will hold them responsible".

He said this requires time and patience and is what Turkey has been trying to achieve in its separation efforts in Idlib. "There is no doubt that such provocations are being prepared", he added, noting that terrorist groups operating in Syria are on the defensive and are getting desperate, as the Syrian government's mission to combat and defeat the terrorist threat continues to make progress.