US AMBASSADOR to the United Nations Nikki Haley has sent a stark warning to the Assad regime and its allies Russia and Iran, claiming there will be “dire consequences” if they continue to launch airstrikes within the Idlib province.
By MARTINA BET
Speaking at the UN Security Council meeting on the crisis in Syria, Mrs Haley said the “world has seen a clear military escalation” from Assad and his allies, whose militaries have conducted over 100 airstrikes in the Syrian province of Idlib.
She told the Council: “If Assad, Russia and Iran continue down the path they are on, the consequences will be dire.
“I also want to reiterate what I said last week to the Assad regime and anyone else contemplating the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
“The United States followed through when we said that we would respond to the use of chemical weapons.
“We stand by this warning.”
International observers claim more than 30 airstrikes struck towns and villages in the south-west of the province over the weekend.
On Sunday, government forces bombed the village of Hobeit in Idlib province, killing an infant girl and wounding several other civilians, the Syrian Civil Defence search-and-rescue group reported.
UN officials warned that more than 30,000 people have already been forced to flee the region.
The province and its surrounding areas are the last major enclave held by rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The attempt to recapture the region is seen by Russia and Iran as a vital objective in stamping out the rebellion against the Syrian leader.
In response, US President Donald Trump is considering military intervention which could involve targeting Russian or Iranian forces supporting Assad, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The American firebrand also drew a red line, with suggestions the US may retaliate to any attack on the province in a tweet he wrote at the start of September.
In a direct warning to the Assad regime, President Trump said: “President Bashar al-Assad of Syria must not recklessly attack Idlib Province.
“The Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy.
“Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed.
“Don’t let that happen!”