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What to do about 10,000 al-Qaeda-linked terrorists in Idlib?

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham stymies Turkey’s bid for cease-fire, welcomes Syrian assault.
Syrian fighters fire their rifles as they attend a mock battle in anticipation of an attack by the regime on Idlib province and the surrounding countryside, during a graduation of new Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) members at a camp in the countryside of the northern Idlib province on August 14, 2018. (Photo by OMAR HAJ KADOUR / AFP)        (Photo credit should read OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan failed last week to get his Russian and Iranian counterparts to support his desperate bid for a cease-fire in Idlib, the stronghold of the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, as well as other radical Salafi and armed gangs based in the northwestern Syrian province.

The UN estimates that there are nearly 3 million civilians in Idlib, about half of them displaced from other parts of Syria, and that 900,000 civilians will be affected by a government assault. UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said Friday, “The Security Council cannot accept that the civilians of Idlib must face this type of fate. Efforts to combat terrorism do not supersede obligations under international law in the moral conscience of humanity. We must put the sanctity of human civilian life above everything else.”

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