US warns Assad over Idlib assault
WASHINGTON: The U.S. ambassador to the UN warned Friday of catastrophic consequences if an offensive is carried out on Idlib by the Bashar al-Assad regime and its allies in northwestern Syria.
Nikki Haley noted Russian airstrikes have begun on civilian areas, despite a warning from U.S. President Donald Trump and other world leaders, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “If Assad, Russia, and Iran continue, the consequences will be dire,” Haley told the UN Security Council. She said the number of people potentially at risk in Idlib is 3 million, and 99 percent are civilians.
“An offensive in Idlib will only leave Syria weaker and more broken and create generations of Syrians who will never forget the heinous and senseless brutality of the Assad regime and its allies,” Haley said.
Located near the Turkish border, Idlib is home to more than 3 million Syrians, many of whom fled from other cities following attacks by the regime forces.
The Syrian regime recently announced plans to launch a major military offensive in the northwestern province of Idlib, which is controlled by various armed opposition groups. Russian warplanes on Tuesday pounded civilian and opposition targets in Idlib. On Tuesday, UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock warned that such an offensive would lead to the “worst humanitarian catastrophe in the 21st century”.
“We urge Russia to consider its options carefully. Stop Assad’s assault on Idlib. Work with us, with the UN and international partners, to find peace at last for Syria,” Haley added.