White House: Iran, Russia Gear Up for Mass Strike in Syria

Terrorists entrenched there’ Kremlin rebukes Trump’s warning against Idlib offensive

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday warned Syria against launching an attack on the country's last rebel stronghold with the help of Russian Federation and Iran, saying the offensive could trigger a "human tragedy". "The United States sends the ball into the corner of Russian Federation and Russia into the corner of the U.S.", he said.

More than half of Idlib is controlled by militants from Syria's former Al-Qaeda affiliate, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), while much of the rest is held by rebels backed by Turkey.

De Mistura cited press reports indicating that Syria has set a September 10 deadline for finding a solution before it begins an all-out offensive on the province.

Staffan de Mistura called for efforts "to avoid that the last probably major battle of the Syrian territorial conflict. ends in a bloodbath". "Let us be clear, it remains our firm stance that if President Bashar al-Assad chooses to again use chemical weapons, the United States and its Allies will respond swiftly and appropriately", the statement read.

The human rights group Amnesty International said in a statement on Wednesday that the lives of "millions of people in Idlib are now in the hands of Russia, Turkey and Iran", and urged all parties not to attack civilians.

Haley's own warning focused more explicitly on the prospect of a chemical attack.

On Monday, President Trump joined a growing chorus of voices warning the Syrian government against a full scale assault, which he said could trigger a "human tragedy".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are scheduled to meet in Tehran on Friday for a trilateral summit on Syria. "Russian warplanes resumed bombing Idlib province after a 22-day pause", said Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads the monitor.

On Tuesday, the Kremlin said the Syrian Army is getting ready to solve the problem of "terrorism" in Idlib, apparently referring to a looming regime offensive.

Russia, meanwhile, insists the alleged attack was staged by the rebel-linked White Helmets.

De Mistura said there were about 10,000 fighters with UN-recognized terrorist organizations now in Idlib. But he stressed that there are some 2.9 million civilians in the province, including around one million children, who "are not terrorists".

On April 4, 2017, a suspected sarin gas attack hit the town of Khan Shaykhun in Syria's Idlib Province, killing more than 80 people. "It is going to be a moment of truth", he said.

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