Haley warns Russia, Iran of 'dire consequences' over Syria military assault

Arturo Kim
September 12, 2018

"There needs to be ways of dealing with this problem that don't turn the next few months in Idlib into the worst humanitarian catastrophe with the biggest loss of life of the 21st Century", he said.

More than half of Idlib is held by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an alliance led by Syria's former Al-Qaeda affiliate, while most of the rest is held by rival rebels.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, left, and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan leave a news conference after meeting in Tehran on Friday.

Assad has reportedly given the green light to deploy chlorine gas as his military continues to bombard the northwestern province in a bid deal a winning blow in the country's seven-year civil war.

According to US officials, the Russians have twice threatened to conduct military operations in the area over the last 10 days, prompting the USA military to warn against any such move and deploy Marine reinforcements to the area.

On Friday, Russian air strikes killed four hardline rebels and a shepherd in Idlib province, the Observatory said.

The UN has said as many as 800,000 people could be displaced by a regime assault on Idlib and surrounding areas. "Russia, Iran and Turkey have demonstrated, not on paper but in real life, that they can find compromise solutions in the most hard situations".

Turkey, fearing an influx of refugees in the event of a major assault, has repeatedly warned against a "massacre" in this last stronghold of the Syrian opposition.

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The crisis in Idlib has the potential to "unleash a humanitarian nightmare unlike any seen in the blood-soaked Syrian conflict", UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday, noting that there are close to 1 million children in Idlib, part of the wave of internally displaced Syrians who fled there to escape violence elsewhere.

And perhaps more alarming is that the report details that Trump is undecided over whether new retaliatory strikes could entail expanding the attack to hit Assad allies Russian Federation and Iran this time around.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called on Russian Federation and Iran to halt a looming "humanitarian disaster" in Idlib, saying Syrians there could not be left to the mercy of President Bashar al-Assad.

The group also said the airstrikes caused a limited amount of internal displacement, uprooting almost 700 families from their homes in several parts of Idlib.

Turkey massed tanks and commandos at its frontier and accelerated work to cope with a possible surge of refugees after Russian Federation refused to call off an offensive against the last rebel bastion in Syria. "The consequences of inaction are enormous", Erdogan said in the article titled "The World Must Stop Assad".

"Every time it follows us, we escape a meter to the north and leave it up to God, where will we go?" he said.

The attack, which came in response to what the USA and its allies insisted was another chemical attack in Douma, on the outskirts of Damascus, saw 105 cruise missiles being fired from sea and air at Syrian government targets.

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