Trump warns Syria not to 'recklessly attack' Idlib province

Saul Bowman
September 6, 2018

The Russian air raids took place amid heavy ground shelling by the Syrian army, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Kremlin said they would discuss further measures "aimed at finally liquidating the hotbed of worldwide terrorism" in Syria, where the conflict has killed more than 350,000 people since 2011. Trump wrote on Twitter late on September 3.

"Just to speak out with some warnings, without taking into account the very risky, negative potential for the whole situation in Syria, is probably not a full, comprehensive approach", Peskov said. "This is another hotbed of terrorism".

"It goes without saying that this problem must be straightened out", Peskov said.

His visit came before the presidents of Turkey, Iran, and Russian Federation are to meet in Iran on Friday to discuss the Syrian situation, especially in Idlib.

Thousands of government troops and allied fighters have been massing in areas surrounding the province.

Last week a source close to Damascus said the government was preparing a phased assault that would initially target the areas in the south and west of the rebel enclave. United Nations agencies estimate that some 700,000 could be displaced in the early stages of the battle.

Half of Idlib's population are displaced people, bused to the northwestern province from former rebel areas across the country.

Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations, wrote on Twitter late on Monday: "All eyes on the actions of Assad, Russia, and Iran in Idlib".

Within hours of Trump's tweet, Russian warplanes reportedly carried out airstrikes against the rebel positions.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a surprise visit to ally Syria on Monday for talks on the looming offensive against the country's last major rebel stronghold, his ministry said.

Zarif also said, "Considering the very good victories of resistance forces against extremist and terrorist groups, the time has come to start the reconstruction process in Syria and end conflicts and take care of humanitarian issues in Syria as well as the return of refugees". Russian Federation and Iran, which support Assad, and Turkey have been in close cooperation over Syria in order to find a solution to the conflict.

Zarif also separately met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem. This is probably the main thing.

USA officials have grown anxious that an assault on Idlib could involve the use of chemical weapons if the rebels are able to slow regime advances.

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