Syria's Idlib 'must not be transformed into bloodbath': United Nations chief

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The powerful allegations come at a time when President Donald Trump and officials in his administration continue to warn Assad of potential consequences for using chemical weapons or otherwise attacking forces openly at war with his regime. "Our position is rooted in the fact that the situation around Syria's Idlib governorate, where key forces of terrorists are now concentrated, is in focus of attention", the spokesman said. More than 30,000 civilians have already been displaced since fresh bombing raids began last week.

Last week's summit in Tehran between the three sides did not produce any agreement, as Iran and Russian Federation rejected Turkey's call for a continued ceasefire in the rebel bastion. The first such summit took place in Russia's Black Sea resort city of Sochi on November 22, 2017.

And Haley warned Assad and his allies for a second time that any assault on Idlib would be considered "reckless" by the US and "the consequences will be dire".

Tehran and Moscow have helped Assad turn the course of the war against an array of opponents ranging from Western-backed rebels to the Islamist militants, while Turkey is a leading opposition supporter and also has troops in the country. "He's been warned, and so we'll see if he's wised up". "The consequences of inaction are enormous", Erdogan said.

Violence in northwest Syria has displaced more than 30,000 people this month alone, the United Nations said, warning that a looming assault could create the century's "worst humanitarian catastrophe".

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The offensive against rebel-held Idlib looms, and even though there is no real evidence that a chemical weapons attack might happen there, U.S. officials have been making near daily accusations that this will be the case, and offering ever-more-bellicose threats.

The NLF, which maintains a presence in Idlib and Hama provinces and can field some 70,000 fighters, constitutes the primary force fighting the Assad regime.

That has prompted an estimated 30,452 people to be displaced within Idlib and parts of adjacent Hama province between September 1 and 9, the UN's humanitarian coordination agency (OCHA) said Monday.

During what was the second session on Idlib in four days, Haley told the council that "the world has seen a clear military escalation" this month by Russian Federation and the Syrian regime, whose forces have conducted more than 100 airstrikes, using "barrel bombs, rockets and artillery" in an attempt to retake the last rebel holdout after more than seven years of war. "That's something we're monitoring very closely", OCHA spokesman David Swanson said.

The United States will use the "false flag" poisoning as a casus belli for retaliation, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

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