UN urges Putin, Erdogan to talk urgently to avert Idlib ‘bloodbath’

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Syria could be spared its bloodiest battle yet if the Russian and Turkish presidents talk to each other urgently about resolving the situation in the rebel-held region of Idlib, UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said on Tuesday.

De Mistura told reporters that ongoing talks between Russia and Turkey held the key to averting an assault on the region, but six reported air strikes on Tuesday suggested the Ankara talks were not going well.

Media reports had said Syria’s government might wait until Sept 10 before launching an assault, making a summit in Tehran on Friday “crucial”. But he called on Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Turkey's Tayyep Erdogan to talk by phone before then, saying “time is of the essence”.

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