In an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal on Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the global community to take action and said that an offensive on Idlib province would result in "serious humanitarian risks for Turkey, the rest of Europe and beyond".
"A major item on the summit's agenda was discussion of efforts to facilitate the return of Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons". As you know, us [militants] from Ghouta are good are digging and since you've built a 960-kilometer border barrier...
"I'm not going to tell the world ahead of time what we're going to do. In order to eliminate terrorist and extremist elements in Idlib and to bring to justice foreign fighters, a more comprehensive worldwide counterterrorism operation is necessary", he said.
#EasternGhouta rebel threatens Turkish Pres #Erdogan while showing off what he said was a tunnel dug right opposite #Turkey border wall with #Idlib.
The spike in violence came after Russian Federation, fellow regime ally Iran, and rebel backer Turkey on Friday failed to immediately agree on a solution to avert an imminent government offensive.
High-level diplomats from Iran, Russia and Turkey were meeting Tuesday with the United Nations envoy for Syria about creating a committee to revise the war-battered country's constitution.
Government forces, backed by Russian Federation and Iran, have been massing troops for weeks in preparation for an attack on Idlib province that is the last major rebel stronghold in the country.
But half the people here have already fled from other parts of Syria and they have nowhere left to go.
Turkey is anxious fighting will push a new wave of refugees toward its border, while the routing of moderate rebels triggers the collapse of global peace efforts supposed to guarantee Ankara-backed forces a say in post-war Syria.
Russian Federation has said it wants all militants to be pushed out of Idlib and that it avoids civilians and targets only radical al Qaeda-inspired groups.
On Monday, its humanitarian chief made an urgent appeal.
Christy Delafield of Mercy Corps, one of the largest organizations delivering aid in Syria, said it has been hard for aid workers and communities to keep up with the displacement.
The state-run Al-Ikhbariya TV said Saturday that Syrian government was retaliating against rebel shelling on a government-held south of Idlib. Clashes rarely erupt there over turf control and authority, and are usually a reflection of deepening political tension between the uneasy partners.
Airstrikes have begun and regime forces have been massing for weeks. The Asayish said seven of its members and 11 government personnel were killed.
There was no immediate comment on the clashes by the government. But in recent days, the Damascus government announced that it will be holding local administration elections, including in Kurdish-ruled areas, undermining the negotiations with the Kurds and their proposal for self-rule.
The Kurdish-led administration control almost 30 percent of Syria, mostly in the northeastern part of the country, including some of Syria's largest oil fields.