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As war looms, UN warns of ‘catastrophic’ crisis in Syria’s Idlib

UN investigators warn that a war against some 10,000 extremists in northwestern Syria should not take 3 million people hostage. They add that the expected attack by Syrian troops on Idlib province would make other battles in the country look minor.

The UN Commission of Inquiry says government forces carried out three chemical weapons attacks in Syria and that violence displaced the largest number of people the year, the largest since the conflict began in 2011.

It warns that an attack on Idlib “with little regard for civilian life would generate a catastrophic human rights and humanitarian crisis.” It calls on parties to the conflict to protect civilians, as required by international humanitarian law.

Government forces have been massing troops on the edge of Idlib in preparation for an offensive on the last major rebel stronghold in Syria. Government bombardment of Idlib has dropped as of Tuesday after days of stepped up bombing campaign against the Syrian opposition’s last bastion in the country.

A summit between Russia, Turkey, and Iran on Friday failed to bring about a settlement.

— AP

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