Save Idlib from ‘transforming into a blood bath’, UN chief urges fighters and their allies

NEW YORK, 12th September, 2018 (WAM) -- A full-scale battle for Idlib must be avoided at all costs, the United Nations Secretary-General has stressed, warning that failure to do so would unleash "a humanitarian nightmare unlike any seen in the blood-soaked Syrian conflict" so far.

Speaking to the press at UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday afternoon, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the situation in Idlib is not sustainable and underscored that the presence of terrorist groups sheltering in the enclave cannot be tolerated.

"But fighting terrorism does not absolve warring parties of their core obligations under international law," he added. Idlib must not be transformed into a blood bath, UN chief Guterres said.

"Preserve basic services and hospitals. Ensure full respect for international humanitarian law," he urged.

The UN chief also cautioned against any use of chemical weapons, warning that, beyond the immediate human toll, such use would lead to the situation "spiralling out of control."

He highlighted the urgent need for greater progress in the Geneva process, and the creation of a constitutional committee as part of the overall political package.

"There is no military solution to the conflict. The solution must be political," Guterres concluded.

WAM/Rola Alghoul/Tariq alfaham

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