Russian, Turkish and Iranian leaders met in Tehran on Friday to try to negotiate a resolution to the Syrian conflict, even as Russian and Syrian warplanes continued to attack rebel-held territory in Idlib and the surrounding area. In the meeting, Turkey advocated a cease-fire, which Russia rejected. Whether a full-scale ground assault is imminent, however, remains unclear. According to Turkish media, Russia will continue the airstrikes but would not support a full-scale, regime-led offensive. A ground assault by Bashar Assad on Idlib, the last remaining opposition stronghold, which has an estimated 60,000-100,000 rebels, would be extremely costly and could weaken Assad’s military and control in other parts of the country.
Even as the conference took place, Turkey reinforced its own positions throughout Idlib, and the U.S. continued to warn that Assad appeared to be preparing for a chemical weapons attack, while Russia said it was the rebels who could launch a chemical attack, with