By Associated Press
September 12, 2018

(BEIRUT) — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is appealing to all parties directly and indirectly involved in Syria — especially Iran, Russia, and Turkey — to protect civilians and avoid a “bloodbath” in the last major rebel-held stronghold in Idlib.

He said a full-scale battle in Idlib “would unleash a humanitarian nightmare unlike any seen in the blood-soaked Syrian conflict.”

Guterres said he understands that “the present situation in Idlib is not sustainable and the presence of terrorist groups cannot be tolerated.”

But the U.N. chief said it is especially important that Iran, Russia and Syria — the guarantor states in the so-called “Astana process” aimed at ending the violence in Syria — “find a way in which it is possible to isolate terrorist groups and … create a situation in which civilians will not be the price paid to solve the problem in Idlib.”

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