Trump warns Syria, Russia, Iran against Idlib ‘tragedy’

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

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

According to an excerpt from the book by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, the USA president told Defense Secretary James Mattis that he meant to assassinate the Syrian leader, after Washington accused the government in Damascus of a suspected chemical weapons attack against the militant-held village of Khan Shaykhun in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib past year.

US President Donald Trump warned Assad on Monday not to "recklessly attack" Idlib and the White House strongly cautioned him on Tuesday against using chemical weapons.

Fears of a Syrian government offensive against rebel-held Idlib province are escalating as Assad-backed troops amass near the northwestern region on Wednesday.

A major assault would be devastating for the almost three million people living in the northwestern province, many of them rebels and civilians who were moved out of other areas as they came back under regime control. "The Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy".

Russian Federation has been a key supporter of Assad and complained about militants in Idlib targeting its own facilities. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said they had killed 13 civilians, including children, but no fighters.

Seized from government forces in 2015, Idlib and surrounding areas form the last major swath of territory still in rebel hands.

On Wednesday, regime artillery and rocket fire targeted several areas in the province including the HTS-held town of Jisr al-Shughur, according to the Britain-based Observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria.

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De Mistura said there were about 10,000 fighters with UN-recognized terrorist organizations now in Idlib.

The Syrian regime has recently announced plans to launch a major military offensive to the area, which is controlled by various armed opposition groups.

In April 2017, the USA military attacked a Syrian government airfield near Homs with 59 Tomahawk missiles in response to a chemical weapons attack.

FILE - A Syrian girl holds an oxygen mask over the face of an infant at a make-shift hospital following a reported gas attack on the rebel-held besieged town of Douma in the eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on January 22, 2018.

The Trump administration announced Tuesday afternoon that Russian Federation and Syria are gearing up to launch a mass strike in Syria on behalf of embattled President Bashar al-Assad, risking the lives of "millions of innocent civilians", according to an announcement.

The president called Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to issue the deadly order. "Let's go in. Let's kill the ... lot of them", Trump told Mattis on the phone. "We're going to be much more measured".

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