Russian Air Strikes Batter Syria's Idlib

Glen Norman
September 4, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies Iran and Russian Federation not to "recklessly attack" Syria's rebel-held Idlib province, warning that hundreds of thousands of people could be killed.

The rebel source and the Observatory both said the air strikes were in the countryside near Jisr al-Shughour on the western edge of the rebels' northwestern territory.

Syrian government forces have for weeks been massing around Idlib in preparation for an assault on the last-remaining opposition stronghold.

Russian Federation accuses rebels in Idlib of attacking Hmeimim with weaponised drones and insists jihadist groups in the province must be eliminated.

Spokesman Dmitry Peskov added: "We know that Syria's armed forces are preparing to resolve this problem".

The top USA military officer warned on Tuesday that a major Syrian military assault on the rebel-held enclave of Idlib would lead to a "humanitarian catastrophe" and instead recommended more narrowly tailored operations against militants there. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 9 people killed.

Tuesday's attacks, if confirmed, came just hours after US President Donald Trump warned Syria against launching a reckless attack on the country's last opposition and rebel stronghold with the help of Russian Federation and Iran, saying the offensive could trigger a "human tragedy".

Separately, the United Nations special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said he was "determined" to hold talks with high-level envoys from Turkey, Iran and Russian Federation on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, despite concerns that an offensive on Idlib may begin before then.

Zarif said it was necessary to consult "with our Syrian friends" ahead of the September 7 summit, according to Fars.

Syria has been at war since early 2011 with a multitude of parties including pro-government forces, rebel groups and militants all fighting for control over various areas.

They are also home to some 3 million civilians.

The International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank, said an all-out assault on Idlib and its catastrophic consequences could still be avoided. Let's go in. Let's kill the f*cking lot of them", Trump told Secretary of Defense James MattisJames Norman MattisState Department applauds Saudi-led coalition's admission of "mistakes" in deadly Yemen strike Saudi-led coalition says deadly strike on bus in Yemen was unjustified Pentagon canceling 0M in aid to Pakistan, citing record on militants: "report MORE, according to a soon-to-be-released book by journalist Bob Woodward.

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