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Syria's Idlib 'must not be transformed into a bloodbath': UN chief

AFP  |  United Nations 

UN warned and its backers Tuesday against launching a full-scale offensive in Idlib, saying the rebel-held province "must not be transformed into a bloodbath."

"It is absolutely essential to avoid a full-scale battle in Idlib," Guterres told reporters at

"This would unleash a humanitarian nightmare unlike any seen in the blood-soaked Syrian conflict." The UN spoke after and clashed with at a summit last week on plans for military action to restore Syria's control over Idlib, where three million people live.

is appealing for a ceasefire to allow for negotiations on the fate of armed groups in Idlib, Syria's last major rebel stronghold, but its call has been rejected by and

Guterres said he was appealing to Iran, and to "spare no effort to find solutions that protect civilians" and warned that any use of would be "totally unacceptable."

The met earlier to hear a briefing from Russia, which insisted that the planned assault on is a "counterterrorism operation" and that measures will be taken to spare civilians.

"There is no doubt that an all-out military operation would result in a major humanitarian catastrophe," Turkish told the council meeting.

Air strikes and bombings will trigger a "massive wave of refugees and tremendous security risks for Turkey, the rest of and beyond," he warned.

Turkey, which has sent troops to and supports some of the armed groups, called for "an immediate ceasefire" and urged "the international community to vocally and actively support our efforts to this end."

Iran, Russia and Turkey last year set up the process, a negotiating track to end Syria's war that has largely eclipsed the UN-led peace process.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, September 12 2018. 03:55 IST