US President Donald Trump on Monday warned Bashar al-Assad and his allies Iran and Russia not to “recklessly attack” rebel-held Idlib province, warning that hundreds of thousands of people could be killed.
“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!” Trump wrote in a tweet.
France on Monday expressed “its concern about a possible major offensive by the Syrian regime and its allies” against Idlib. “Such an offensive would have disastrous consequences, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said. It would engender a new major humanitarian and migratory catastrophe since it could directly threaten the 3 million civilians … in the region.”
Le Drian called Idlib an “explosive crucible” and said that French President Emmanuel Macron had thrown his support behind talks between Russia and Turkey set to take place this week, in the hope that an all-out attack could be prevented.
Moreover, Germany on Tuesday warned Russia and the Assad regime of a big humanitarian catastrophe in northern Idlib province if they begin a large-scale military offensive against the province.
The European Union likewise warned the international community of “devastating consequences” for the people of Idlib province should the Assad regime and its allies go ahead with their plans for a military operation against the province.
Pope Francis on Sunday appealed to all parties who have influence in Syria to defend human rights and safeguard the civilian population in Idlib, which faces an imminent attack by the Assad regime forces and their allies.
The Syrian Coalition earlier warned that any attack by the Assad regime and its allies on Idlib would have tragic consequences, pointing out that the offensive that the regime and its allies are planning to launch in the province risks undermining the efforts of the international community to resolve the conflict as well as all chances of peace.
The United Nations earlier warned that a major offensive in the Idlib area, where displaced people already make up half the population, risks forcing another 800,000 Syrians from their homes. It called on Russia, Turkey and Iran to intensify efforts to find a peaceful solution to the situation in Idlib.
Idlib is at risk of a major assault by the Assad regime and its allies despite the province is covered by the ‘de-escalation zones” agreement which was reached by Turkey, Russia and Iran during the Astana talks in May 2017. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)