Bloodbath Expected as Russia, Iran, Syria, Turkey Unite for Final Showdown in Idlib
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- Thanks for joining us for CBN Newswatch.
I'm Mark Martin.
International observers are warning
of a potential blood bath as Syria
prepares to launch amassive military offensive
in the northern part of the country.
Here with more on this majorescalation in the region
is CBN's senior internationalcorrespondent George Thomas.
- It truly is a major escalation Mark.
Residents of Syria's Idlibprovince took to the streets
today protesting against what many there
believe is an impendingassault on the region.
For weeks Syrian forcesbacked by Russian, Iranian,
and Turkish fighters haveencircled the province
which is now the rebel'slast stronghold position.
In the meantime leaders ofTurkey, Iran, and Russia
they met in Tehran to discuss how to limit
You see the three menthere standing talking
about the United Nationsis warning in the meantime
of catastrophic consequencesfor Idlib's population.
- The conflict in Syria has already caused
unspeakable sufferingto millions of people
forced to live under siegeor to leave their country.
We are deeply concernedabout the escalating
military action by the Syrian regime
and Russia in northwest Syria
with potentially catastrophichumanitarian consequences
- In the meantime theUnited States is warning
all parties againstany reckless escalation
and especially Mark, theuse of chemical weapons.
- George break this downfor us a little bit more.
Who are the Syrians thatare fighting in Idlib?
- So here's what we know.
There about 10,000.
The United Nations saysthere are about 10,000
Al Qaeda fighters today inside of Idlib
along with some about70,000 Islamic jihadists
from various groups.
Whether they're Isis, AlQaeda, Jamad, Al Nusra,
they control Mark, closeto about 60% of Idlib.
- How many civilians arestill in the province
and what is their situation?
- That situation is quite dire.
There are about three anda half million residents
who are living in Idlib.
Keep in mind folks thatthese are not residents
who are originally from Idlib.
They were transferred.
They were ferried other rebel strongholds
over the last few years and sort of shoved
And they are literally surrounded
from all sides and theyhave no way of getting out
of this situation.
They are caught in the crossfire.
- George as you mentioned the leaders
of Iran, Turkey, and Russiathey met in Tehran today.
What was the outcome of that meeting?
- In essence to try andprovide a safe corridor.
How do you get thesethree and a half million
residents out of the province.
Also the intelligence servicesbetween these three countries
said listen, let's sit down together
and let us go specifically
after the 10,000 Al Qaeda fighters,
these other 70,000 Islamic jihadists.
Can we share our intelligenceto say exactly where
these positions are and let's target them.
The Turks came to the table.
President Recep Erdogan,the President of Turkey,
came to the table sayinglisten hold up guys.
Can we create a ceasefire in order to avoid
a huge migration of refugees.
They are afraid that all these refugees
from the Idlib province will head north
to the Turkish border.
Turkey today already hasabout three and a half million
They do not want anotherinflux of refugees.
- There's a lot going on here at home.
But is the United States involved in this?
- They are.
There are about 2,000 troopsstationed in Syria, Mark.
They're not involved inthis particular conflict.
They have like I said about2,000 troops stationed
in various strategic parts of Syria
in their ongoing battle against Isis.
But they're not directly involved in this.
But they're spoken of very clearly.
Ambassador Nikki Haleyat the United Nations
as well as the Presidentof the United States
has spoken directly to theSyrian regime, be careful.
- So what comes next?
- Well boy if I had a million dollars,
that would be the question, right.
Well many analysts, Mark,
talk about in essence the major battle
if you thought the last seven years
of this brutal civil war was bad,
what experts are saying what comes next
is gonna be quite, quite dangerous.
Because in essence you've got the Turks,
the Russians, the Iranianswho are trying to get
the piece of the pie called Syria
and what's in it for them after this.
And that is gonna besomething that we at CBN News
we are gonna be covering.
- We appreciate it our seniorinternational correspondent,
Thank you George.
- You're most welcome.