Turkey says Erdogan will meet Putin on Monday for Syria talks

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

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

Turkey is reinforcing its military posts inside Syria's rebel-held province of Idlib, Turkish and Syrian rebels sources say, seeking to deter a government offensive which it says would unleash a humanitarian disaster on its border.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are expected to meet in the Russian city of Sochi on Monday.

An estimated 2.9 million people live in Idlib, the last major stronghold of opposition to President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian activists are reporting that new military reinforcements have arrived to beef up Turkish observation points inside Syria's last rebel bastion Idlib as a Syrian government offensive looms over the crowded enclave.

Erdoğan met with the leaders of Iran and Russian Federation last week in Tehran to discuss Syria, but a concrete ceasefire pledge did not came from the meeting.

The resulting impact on civilians has been dramatic, Laerke said, his concerns echoing those of UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock, who a day earlier had issued a warning about a military escalation in Idlib, after a recent meeting with Syria government officials in the country's capital.

Thousands of protesters attend a demonstration against the Syrian government offensive to Idlib, in the northwestern town of Maarat al-Numan, also known as al-Maarra, south of Idlib, Syria, Friday, Sept 14, 2018.

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The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement late Wednesday that 38,300 were displaced by the violence since September 1, majority heading toward the Turkish-Syrian borders to already overcrowded displaced persons camps.

The Turkish deployment comes amid a lull in a concerted government and Russian aerial bombing campaign on the southern edge of Idlib.

An estimated 3 million people live in Idlib, almost half of them having arrived there after being displaced by fighting elsewhere in Syria.

The U.N., which has warned a full-fledged assault on Idlib could create the century's "worst humanitarian catastrophe", has created a plan to help up to 900,000 people who could flee the onslaught.

The rebels have held Idlib province since 2015 but a government offensive captured chunks on the eastern flanks of the province a year ago before Turkey began deploying its observation points and halting the advances.

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.

So in light of the recent development, the anticipated operation is believed to have been pushed back to a later time this month to give a chance for the efforts to separate the terror groups from other rebel factions, according to Maher Ihsan, a Syrian analyst.

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