Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that he opposed a ceasefire in the rebel-held Syrian enclave of Idlib because Nusra Front and Islamic State militants located there were not part of peace talks.
Speaking at talks in Tehran with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts, Putin said the Syrian government, a close Russian ally, should regain control over all of its territory.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that fighting "terrorism" in Idlib was unavoidable but warned against adopting scorched earth tactics in Syria's last major rebel bastion.
"Fighting terrorism in Idlib is an unavoidable part of the mission of restoring peace and stability to Syria," Rouhani said at a summit in the Iranian capital with his Russian and Turkish counterparts that is expected to determine the Syrian province's future.
"But this battle must not cause civilians to suffer or lead to a scorched earth policy," he added, in the face of UN warnings of a humanitarian disaster if an offensive goes ahead.
Erdogan calls for 'ceasefire'
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a "ceasefire" in Idlib after Russian air raids pounded rebel positions. "If we can ensure a ceasefire here, this will be one of the most important steps of the summit, it will seriously put civilians at ease," Erdogan told the three-way summit with the leaders of Russia and Iran, the major allies of the regime in Damascus.
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