Iran downplays Western media’s fuss about Idlib operation

IFP – Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Seyyed Abbas Araqchi says the fuss made by Western media about the Syrian army’s upcoming operation to retake the militant-held Idlib province is very much similar to the one made ahead of Aleppo and East Ghouta offensives.

Speaking in an interview with the state TV on Tuesday, Araqchi said the situation is very sensitive in Syria’s Idlib, as hundreds of thousands of anti-government and Takfiri terrorists as well as civilians have gathered in the province.

Due to the large population of these regions, the terrorist groups have gathered there and are using people as human shields, he went on to say.

“Such a complicated situation needed to be considered at the highest level in the Astana Talks on Syria. Two previous meetings were held in Turkey and Russia, and then the Tehran meeting was scheduled,” he said, referring to an upcoming meeting of the presidents of Iran, Turkey, and Russia in Tehran on Friday.

“FM Mohammad Javad Zarif travelled to Syria on Monday to review the latest developments, with concrete plans and ideas that will hopefully end the fight against terrorism. God willing, we will be able to bring the political process, reconstruction and return of the refugees to a conclusion in Syria,” he noted.

Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, he said, Westerners, especially the US, had a dubious and controversial attitude and helped the terrorists in many conflicts.

“Regarding the use of chemical weapons, which is an ambiguous issue, the prevailing view is that the terrorist groups did it, but we saw the West’s involvement as well.”

He said there are reports that chemicals were taken to Idlib by terrorists and could lead to a catastrophe; therefore, there was a need for consultations between the leaders of the three countries.

The senior diplomat also noted the fuss being made about Idlib at the moment is very much similar to the one we faced on Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta.

Araqchi was referring to accusations raised by Western countries and media that the Syrian army used chemical weapons in its operations to retake Aleppo Province and Eastern Ghouta.

Currently the Syrian army is preparing itself for a major offensive to retake the last terrorist stronghold, but it is facing the threat of being hit by the US and its allies if a chemical attack takes place in the province.

Russia and Syria say staging a false flag chemical attack has been in the works for some time by militants and British “special forces” in order to give the US a pretext to launch a new airstrike on the government.

 

Efforts to Minimize Humanitarian Costs

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says efforts are underway to drive terrorists out of Idlib with the least humanitarian cost.

He made the remarks on Tuesday after holding “very good” talks with senior Syrian authorities in Damascus.

The Iranian oficials’ statements came as on Tuesday night the Syrian and Russian fighter jets strongly targeted the positions of terrorist groups in the northwest of the Hama province and the western Idlib.

These attacks were in fact a preparation to wipe out the terrorists in the region.

Syria’s Moraseloun website reported that the massive airstrikes targeted the terrorist positions in the southern regions of Idlib.

Opposition media sources also reported that the Russian raids targeted dozens of sites in the countryside of Idlib and Al-Ghab plain, especially in Jisr al-Shughur, Jabal al-Zawiya, Mrouj, Al-Shagar, Harsh, and Sinjul, killing and injuring many terrorists.

The Russian Defence Ministry released a statement on Monday saying that three Syrian soldiers have been killed in the Idlib countryside, indicating that the start of Tuesday airstrikes was a reaction to this issue.

Earlier, US President Donald Trump said on his Twitter account that the military attack on Idlib would be “a grave humanitarian mistake” in which hundreds of thousands of people could be killed.