Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday said that the Syrian regime is not preparing a major offensive against the opposition-held Idlib, adding that Moscow will do everything to protect civilians.
"What is being presented at the moment as the beginning of a Russian-backed offensive by Syrian forces is not a faithful representation of the facts," said Lavrov during a German-Russian forum in Berlin.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin ononday, officials said, amid rising international concern over a looming Syrian government assault on a rebel-held province bordering Turkey.
Russia-backed forces of the Syrian regime have massed around the Idlib province in recent weeks, sparking fears of an imminent air and ground attack to retake the last major opposition bastion. Some three million people live in the zone now.
Recent hostilities have displaced more than 38,500 people in less than two weeks, said the UN, which has warned that a full assault on Idlib could create the century's "worst humanitarian catastrophe".