United Nations war crimes team documents further Syrian govt. use of banned chlorine

Iranian Foreign Minister's Special Assistant for Political Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari Russian President's Special Representative for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal and UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan

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. Those views echoed statements made by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Berlin in August, who said: "We need to strengthen the humanitarian effort in the Syrian conflict". They added that the expected attack by Syrian troops on Idlib province would make other battles in the country look minor.

Weaponising chlorine is prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention, ratified by Syria, and under customary global humanitarian law, the investigators said in their latest report.

On Monday, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock, speaking to reporters in Geneva, said: "There needs to be ways of dealing with this problem that don't turn the next few months in Idlib into the worst humanitarian catastrophe, with the biggest loss of life in the 21st century".

According to UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, there are about 10,000 militants from the terror groups Jabhat al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda in this region.

About half of those displaced so far have moved to camps, while others went to informal settlements, stayed with families or rented housing, OCHA spokesman David Swanson said on Monday.

He and "a number of experts" plan to take part in the meeting on Syria in Istanbul on September 14.

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Governor Cooper said there have been "several hundred" rescue operations and "there are still some people they need to get to". Emergency declarations were in force in Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

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Cooper said 126 shelters are open across the state, with more than 12,000 people already staying at them, as of Thursday evening. Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it's unclear how many did.

He called on Russian Federation to use its influence on the regime to avert a massive military attack, and prevent the use of chemical weapons by the regime.

And following talks last week with Iran and Russian Federation, . Turkey however backs opposition fighters seeking the ouster of the Syrian leader, and has said a large-scale offensive against the rebels could trigger a mass exodus towards its border. "Therefore, we should continue our efforts to bring peace and stability to the region", said Çavuşoğlu at a joint news conference in Islamabad with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

Activists had said that the Nusra Front, otherwise known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Arabic for the Levant Liberation Committee (LLC), rounded up and killed tens of the reconciliation advocates in Idlib.

Also Friday, The Elders, an global non-governmental organization of public figures, called on Russia, Turkey and Iran to work "hand-in-hand to prevent heavy civilian casualties in Syria's Idlib region".

"It is in our interest for Syria to be a stable country".

The Turkish military, which is deployed across an arc of northwest Syria near Idlib with its rebel allies, has also set up 12 observation posts around Idlib this year.

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