Trump warns Syria, Russia and Iran against Idlib 'tragedy'

A missile attack reported at Mazzeh air base in Syria

Russian Federation on Tuesday joined Iran in expressing support for Syria's impending operation to retake control of rebel-held Idlib province, the last major opposition stronghold in the country.

Russia, another Syria ally, and Damascus have also said that western countries are preparing to carry out strikes against Syria ahead of the Idlib offensive.

Syrian government forces are now massing around the northwestern province in preparation for the assault.

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

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.

Russian air raids ceased in and around Idlib on August 15, but regime forces and their allies have continued shelling rebel positions there, the war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), said. "The Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy", Mr. Trump tweeted.

He added: "Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed. Don't let that happen!"

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The country, which backs several opposition groups in Syria, has set up observation points around the rebel stronghold and has been seeking to stop a full-scale state offensive.

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".

The situation around Idlib will be one of the main items on the agenda when the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey meet in Tehran this week, Peskov told reporters on a conference call, declining to elaborate further.

They are also home to some 3 million civilians. "It is from there (Idlib) that drones are launched to threaten our temporary bases [in Syria]", Peskov said.

"Just to speak out with some warnings, without taking into account the very unsafe, negative potential for the whole situation in Syria, is probably not a full, comprehensive approach", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, apparently in reference to Trump's comment. Restoration of Damascus's control of this province will put an end to large-scale military confrontation in Syria.

But analysts still say the United States appears resigned to the likelihood of a final military victory by Syrian regime forces.

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