Assad 'has been warned' on Idlib chemical use: Mattis

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"We can not allow terrorists to hold hostage and use hundreds of thousands of people of Idlib as human shields", said the Russian ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, whose forces and proxies have remained on the sidelines in Idlib to avoid alienating Turkey, nonetheless acquiesced to Russian Federation, saying that countering terrorism in the province was "unavoidable".

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.

Speaking at the Security Council, Mrs Haly said the United States considered an assault on Idlib to be "a risky escalation of the conflict in Syria".

US National Security Adviser John Bolton said the US, Britain and France had agreed another use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Government would result in a "much stronger response" compared to previous air strikes.

#EasternGhouta rebel threatens Turkish Pres #Erdogan while showing off what he said was a tunnel dug right opposite #Turkey border wall with #Idlib.

On Friday, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan openly disagreed with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at a press conference in the Iranian capital.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan evaluated the latest developments in northwestern Idlib province and Turkey's position on the matter in an article he wrote for USA daily, The Wall Street Journal.

Wary of the recent summit, the militant is seemingly warning Erdogan against pulling out of Idlib and withdrawing support to the various Islamist militant groups in the Idlib Governorate.

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But Russia and Iran have rejected Turkey's call for a ceasefire.

The government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, backed by allies Russian Federation and Iran, has been preparing a large-scale military onslaught to capture the northwest province of Idlib, the last rebel stronghold in the country hosting some three million people, and adjacent areas.

The offensive came just hours after more than 60 air raids killed at least four civilians in southern Idlib on Saturday.

More than half a million people have been killed and 11 million already forced to flee their homes in Syria's seven-year-old war. The OCHA chief, Mark Lowcock, warned that this risked provoking the worst humanitarian catastrophe of the 21st Century. "Work with us and the United Nations to find peace at last for Syria".

Russia, which has been assisting Assad in purging the terrorists since 2015, has echoed the same point, specifically naming the White Helmets activist group as the real perpetrators of the Douma attack.

Pro-government forces have massed on the edges of Idlib, wedged into Syria's northwest along the Turkish border.

The town is run by Kurdish-led administrators and forces, but Syrian government troops hold pockets of territory there, including the airport. Occasional clashes erupt there over turf control and authority, reflecting deepening political tension between the uneasy partners.

There was no immediate word about the clashes from the government. They seized the territories, with the backing of the US -led coalition, after driving out Islamic State militants.

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