A Russian general, who heads the lower house of parliament’s defence committee has called for a political resolution for Syria’s Idlib province, the country’s last rebel stronghold.
A military operation would be extreme, Col.-Gen. Vladimir Shamanov said in comments carried by the Russia-focused Interfax news agency on Wednesday.
Russia is the main military backer of the Syrian government in the country’s civil war.
“There is a wide range of political issues. I think it would be slower, but nevertheless there is a need to first resolve on a political level,” Shamanov was quoted as saying.
A monitoring group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the previous day that at least a dozen people were killed in Russian airstrikes on Idlib as Syrian state forces prepare for an offensive into the region.
Similarly, an attack on the Syrian rebel-held province of Idlib would result in a massacre, Turkish President Recep Erdogan has said, according to Hurriyet daily.
“A ruthless process is going on in Idlib. … God forbid, if these places are shelled by missiles there will be a very serious massacre,’’ Erdogan said on board his plane as he returned from an official visit to Kyrgyzstan.
He said Friday’s summit between Turkey, Russia and Iran in Tehran would help resolve issues, stressing the importance of cooperating with Moscow while also warning of a potential refugee influx into Turkey.
Washington and Moscow have evaded responsibility on Idlib, he said.
“The U.S. passes the buck to Russia, Russia passes the buck to the U.S.”