Staffan de Mistura called for humanitarian corridors to be set up to allow civilians to be evacuated temporarily.
"I assure you that we do not have chemical weapons and are not able to use them", he added, according to Syrian state news agency SANA. "Turkey is striving to ensure security, prevent attacks, giving aid to almost four million people in Syria's Idlib", Akar said.
United Nations officials estimate an offensive would trigger a wave of displacement that could uproot up to 800,000 people.
"This is how we destroyed the terror corridor along our borders with Syria".
"The Syrian command has taken a decision to defeat Al-Nusra Front in Idlib no matter the sacrifices that it would entail", Muallem said in Arabic, referring to the former Syrian affiliate of Al-Qaeda.
The UN estimates that a major Syrian government offensive in the Idlib area risks forcing another 700,000 Syrians from their homes. It is one of the areas that Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed to "de-escalate" previous year at a series of talks in the Kazakh capital Astana.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said this month he hoped Ankara and Moscow could find a solution for Idlib, warning that a bombing campaign there would be a massacre.
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The Ustinov evidently cruised southward after its English Channel passage and eventually slipped through the Strait of Gibraltar before making what Russian news reports this week described as a "business call" at the port of Algiers.
The foreign minister was speaking to the press after a meeting with his Saudi counterpart Adel bin Ahmed Al Jubeir in Moscow.
The bridges were located in the Al-Ghab plain, which straddles Hama and Idlib provinces and could be one of the first targets of any government offensive.
"But that area most likely is under government control", he said.
The evacuation proposal reflected rising concerns that Idlib could become the site of the latest humanitarian disaster in a country that has faced many of them during a war that has killed over 400,000 people and driven more than 5.5 million to flee overseas.
"The regime's past brutality in Aleppo, Ghouta, and southwest Syria, to include indiscriminate targeting of civilian areas, indicate that they can not be trusted to protect civilians in any military offensive", the statement said. The area is already home to almost 2 million displaced previously from other parts of Syria. Numerous displaced people fled earlier offensives to escape the fighting or avoid coming back under Assad's rule - including those bussed to Idlib under "evacuation" deals when rebels surrendered other enclaves.