Violence in Syria's Idlib and the adjacent province of Hama has forced more than 30,000 people out of their homes this month alone, a United Nations spokesman told AFP Monday.
For years, as the government retook areas like Aleppo and eastern Ghouta, Syria's defeated rebels have fled to the northern province, which was established as a "de-escalation zone" guaranteed by Turkey, Russia and Iran.
Yeni Safak daily claimed that the Turkish army has kept more than 50,000 FSA terrorists on alert in Afrin, Azaz, Jarabulus, al-Bab and al-Rai regions to further sent them to battle against the Syrian government forces' operation in Idlib province.
Several Middle East TV channels and a U.S. news channel have been sent to Jisr al-Shughur in Syria's Idlib Governorate to produce the footage needed for the provocation, a statement by the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation said. "That's something we're monitoring very closely", said David Swanson of the UN's humanitarian coordination agency (OCHA) in Amman.
Other aid organisations also operate in the area, but their support is mostly limited to providing supplies to civilians already living in the existing border camps.
On Monday, on the main highway running across the province, men on motorbikes headed north with their children on foot, herding dozens of sheep.
"They hit with four rockets so we escaped with our flock", he said.
"I have 30 sheep".
For Russia and Iran, both allies of the Syrian government, retaking Idlib is crucial to complete what they see as a military victory in Syria's civil war after Syrian troops recaptured almost all other major towns and cities, largely defeating the rebellion against Assad.
For weeks, regime troops backed by Russian Federation and Iran have massed around Idlib's periphery, with deadly airstrikes, shelling, and barrel bombs falling with increased intensity in recent days.
At a three-way summit between Russia, Iran and Turkey on Friday, President Vladimir Putin rejected Erdogan's call for a truce in Idlib, home to about 3 million civilians.More news: Casey (back) withdraws after 3rd round of BMW
Meanwhile, the bombs keep falling.
Humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said the regime's planned assault on Idlib would likely lead to huge numbers of civilian deaths, and perhaps the biggest loss of life this century.
He acknowledged that there were many rebels and fighters from "terrorist" groups in the province, but stressed that "there are 100 civilians, majority women and children, for every fighter in Idlib".
In recent weeks, regime troops have massed around the northwestern region held by jihadists of Al-Qaeda's former Syrian affiliate as well as rival rebels.
The opposition accuses Russian Federation and its allies of already striking at hospitals and civil defence centres to force rebels to surrender in a repeat of earlier, large-scale military offensives. At least two hospitals and two clinics have been put out of service by strikes.
The new strategy reflects a push to ramp up pressure on the Syrian regime and its Russian and Iranian backers, as Assad appears poised to complete a remarkable rebound in the country's seven-year civil war.
De Mistura met informally with members of the three delegations on Monday.
Moscow wants to keep rebels from using weaponized drones against Russian warplanes positioned nearby.
Britain, France and the United States fear mass casualties among civilians during the assault on Syria´s last major rebel bastion.