US Continues False Lies about Syria’s Idlib, Draws Up Initial Target List

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The United States appears resigned to the likelihood of a final military victory by Syrian government forces, even as it warns Bashar al-Assad and Moscow against launching a major offensive in the rebel-held northwest, analysts say.

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And that reality, he told AFP, is that "Assad is advancing on the ground, aided by Iran by land and Russian Federation by air", while the United States places its hopes on a UN-backed Geneva peace process that might best be described, he said, as "moribund".

But Lavrov on Wednesday called on the West not to stand in the way of what he described as an "anti-terror operation" in Idlib, which borders Turkey.

On Friday, Turkey, which backs other rebel groups in the province, officially designated Tahrir al-Sham, which has presence in Idlib, as a "terrorist" organisation.

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"We would probably dissolve Tahrir al-Sham because it faces the pressure of Russian Federation and even Turkey".

Zarif met Assad, Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem, who asked for Iran to continue its support, according to Iran's Fars News.

Thousands of government troops and allied fighters have been amassing in areas surrounding Idlib.

Idlib and the surrounding area is home to some 3 million people - almost half of them, including Alhamdo, already displaced a few times by the civil war - choosing to live in opposition areas.

HTS has controlled much of Idlib since 2015, acting as de facto governmental authority, facilitating trade across the long border with Turkey and organising aid deliveries.

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"We see different gatherings in a variety of places-in Ankara, in Tehran, in Geneva-talking about redesigning Syria after Idlib", Liberman noted, adding that, "The only thing that concerns us is the security interests of the State of Israel". But de Mistura continued to plead for protection for the millions of civilians who could be caught up in the battle.

"Another such provocation is being prepared in order to hinder the anti-terroristic operation in Idlib, and we, having our facts on the table, through our Defense Ministry and Foreign Ministry clearly and firmly warned our Western partners - don't play with fire", Lavrov said.

That change came days after Abu Muhammad al-Julani, the HTS leader, denounced any talk of reconciliation with the Syrian government in a video message, according to the SITE group, which monitors jihadi websites.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Damascus to discuss plans for an upcoming summit between the leaders of Iran, Russia and Turkey, which Tehran will host on September 7 to discuss Idlib, Iran's Fars news agency reported.

United Nations officials estimate an offensive would trigger a wave of displacement that could uproot up to 800,000 people.

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With the liberation of Idlib, the Syrian government will return to pre-crisis conditions, and those who launched the war over Syria for seven years will be defeated and Damascus will be victorious.

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