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Turkish President Warns Of Humanitarian Disaster In Idlib

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) and Russian President Vladimir Putin greet each other in Tehran on September 7.

Turkey's president has warned of a humanitarian disaster if a Syrian government offensive on the rebel enclave of Idlib goes forward.

The remarks by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in an op-ed article published on September 11, came as Russian and Syrian warplanes resumed a bombing campaign in the region, amid preparations for a major assault.

In the article published in The Wall Street Journal, Erdogan said the international community must take action on Idlib. Otherwise, he warned, "the entire world stands to pay the price.”

Erdogan last week met with his Russian and Iranian counterparts in Tehran as Russia continued bolstering forces in the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar was quoted by Turkish television as saying on September 10 that air and ground attacks on Idlib must stop immediately and a cease-fire must be established.

Moscow and Tehran have given Syrian President Bashar al-Assad crucial support throughout the war, which began with a government crackdown on protesters in March 2011.

Turkey is backing rebel groups and has troops in the country’s north.

The 7 1/2-year war has killed more than 400,000 people and displaced millions.

Based on reporting by The Wall Street Journal and Reuters