Nikki Haley Warns Assad Regime of 'Dire Consequences'

"The aim was to destroy rebel fortifications", Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

Idlib is dominated by the jihadist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, led by the former Al-Qaeda branch in Syria.

There is "lots of evidence" that chemical weapons are being prepared by Syrian government forces in Idlib in northwest Syria, the new USA adviser for Syria said on Thursday, as he warned of the risks of an offensive on the country's last big rebel enclave.

Just today, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met in Tehran, where Rouhani said the next step in Syria strategy was "to force the United States to leave". "Any fight against terrorists requires methods based on time and patience". "We don't want Idlib to turn into a bloodbath".

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan during their meeting in Tehran, Iran, Sept. 7, 2018.

But Turkey failed to convince fellow leaders to insert wording for a cease-fire in the summit's final communiqué.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has massed his army and allied forces on the front lines in the northwest, and Russian planes have joined his bombardment of rebels there, in a prelude to a widely expected assault despite objections from Turkey.

Hundreds of Syrians took to the streets in Idlib Friday, calling on neighboring Turkey to help prevent a regime assault on their region.

Those remarks capped a week of rising U.S. rhetoric opposing the Idlib operation.

The three powers have all been vying for influence in war-torn Syria over previous years, stationing troops and supporting various militias during the civil conflict. President Trump has previously labelled Assad an "animal" for using the banned weapons, and called Iran and Russian Federation "responsible for backing" him. Stop Assad's assault on Idlib. "We are fighting for peace". He further elaborated that Assad did not "meet the requirements of not just us, but the worldwide community" for a leader of a new, post-conflict Syrian government, as those requirements included not "threatening his neighbors" - an apparent reference to Israel, which has long sought Assad's overthrow - and not providing "a platform for Iran". Occasional clashes erupt there over turf control and authority, reflecting deepening political tension between the uneasy partners.

"These commanders, these units, will be held accountable by the worldwide community", said Karen Pierce, the British ambassador to the UN.

Already, close to half a million people have been killed in Syria's long, grinding war, which began first as a popular uprising against Assad and later devolved into a sectarian and regional conflict.

The Tehran meetings could determine the scale and the timeline of the Idlib offensive, which the United Nations has warned may displace 800,000 people. This prompted the clashes, which lasted no more than 20 minutes, Sheikmos said.

There was no immediate comment on the clashes by the government. But in recent days, the Damascus government announced that it will be holding local administration elections, including in Kurdish-ruled areas, undermining the negotiations with the Kurds and their proposal for self-rule.

Faced with United States demands Iranian forces pull out of Syria Rouhani stated it is the U.S. that should withdraw its forces out of Syria.

The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is reopening a 2011 case that accused Rutgers University in New Jersey.

  • Rogelio Becker