Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called for a ceasefire in the rebel-held region of Idlib in northwest Syria on Friday and said an anticipated government assault on insurgents there could result in a massacre. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said Moscow opposed a truce, and Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani said Syria must regain control over all its territory.
United Nations-mediated peace talks on Yemen appeared to be in jeopardy on Thursday with no sign in Geneva of the delegation from the Houthi movement on the first day. Martin Griffiths, the U.N. Special Envoy for Yemen conceded there were “challenges” in bringing the parties together in the Swiss city, but still wanted to see the delegation from the Houthi-held capital of Sanaa arrive.
Early in the conflict, fighting splintered Syria into a complex patchwork of areas held by rival groups, but fighting in recent years has simplified the frontlines and the country is now split into only a few zones of control. At its weakest point in 2015, the President Bashar al-Assad’s government held less than a fifth of Syria. But since Russia entered the war on its side, it has reclaimed huge swathes of Syria.