Syria war displacement this year worst ever

UN chief pushes for protection of civilians in Syria's Idlib

Turkey arms rebels as Idlib prepares for Syrian onslaught

In cities and towns across Syria's last opposition-held province, Idlib, residents poured into the streets on Friday to demonstrate against President Bashar Assad's government in defiance of an expected offensive to retake the territory. "Of course we don't have anything against fighting terrorists but something has to be done to protect the rights of the 3 million people and (including) 1 million children".

"We as humanitarian advocates must raise our voice", said Jens Laerke from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

At a meeting in Tehran on Friday with the presidents of Russian Federation and Iran, seen as the last realistic chance to avert all-out conflict in the insurgent-held region, Erdogan failed to win a pledge of ceasefire from Assad's two main backers.

Ankara, which hosts some 3.5 million refugees, has said it could not take any more if an attack on Idlib drove a new surge of people towards its border.

"Our expectation is to maintain the current status in Idlib, protecting the civilians and not creating a humanitarian crisis", Kalin told reporters. President Tayyip Erdogan wrote on Tuesday that an offensive would spark humanitarian and security risks for Turkey, Europe and beyond. "Another migrant wave coming to Turkey at a time when we already host millions of refugees will cause other complications", he said".

Speaking to reporters after a United Nations -backed humanitarian task force meeting Thursday chaired by the US and Russia, Moumtzis said the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and its partners want to be ready for up to 900,000 people who could flee Idlib.

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Others noted how neocons who cheered for the Global War Against Terrorism in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks were now painting Al-Qaeda militants in Idlib as besieged rebels. He added that several hundred pro-Assad forces had withdrawn from frontlines in the northern Hama countryside.

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdulrahman said neither Russian nor Syria warplanes had been attacking the area since around midday Monday.

This is contrary to worldwide humanitarian law, the OCHA spokesperson said, adding that one of the hospitals was also in a protected "deconfliction zone", whose coordinates had been given to the warring parties to spare it from attack.

Lavrov, who was speaking in Berlin, was cited as saying that the Russian air force would strike what he called terrorist weapons-making facilities as and when it found out about them, but would also encourage local reconciliation deals.

"In conducting airstrikes beginning on 20 January, the Turkish air force may have failed to take all feasible precautions prior to launching certain attacks, in violation of global humanitarian law", the report said.

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