Trump warns Syria not to 'recklessly attack' Idlib province

Blasts at Damascus air base after possible missile strike

Russian warplanes in Syria bombed the country's final rebel stronghold Tuesday, a monitoring group said, ending a weeks-long period of uneasy calm there and raising fears that an all-out offensive would follow.

Assad has sworn to recapture every inch of Syria and has made big gains against the opposition since Russian Federation joined his war effort in 2015.

Last week, a source close to the regime said Damascus was preparing a phased offensive to recover Idlib province, but Turkey, whose army has a string of observation posts around the edge of the rebel area, has warned against such an assault.

Rebels said the strikes had mostly targeted military positions of the Islamist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and the Turkistan Islamic Party in the Jisr al-Shughour district, although at least three civilians were reported to have been killed.

Half of Idlib's 3 million people have already been forced there from their homes in other parts of Syria, according to the United Nations, and any offensive there threatens new displacement and human misery.

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Russian Federation also on Tuesday strongly dismissed President Trump's warning to Syria not to carry out a full-scale offensive against terrorists in Idlib, stressing that the northwestern region is a "nest of terrorism".

Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations, wrote on Twitter late on Monday: "All eyes on the actions of Assad, Russia, and Iran in Idlib".

Last week, Iran's defense minister travelled to Damascus and signed an agreement on military cooperation between the two countries.

Located near the Turkish border, Idlib has been designated as a de-escalation zone where acts of aggression are expressly forbidden as part of the ongoing Astana process.

Tehran and Moscow have provided steady political, financial and military backing to Assad throughout the war, which has left over 350,000 people dead since it broke out in 2011. "It is from there (Idlib) that drones are launched to threaten our temporary bases [in Syria]", Peskov said.

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"Russia seeks to ensure not just the regime's military victory in Syria but its full political restoration through global re-legitimation at war's end".

Further Iranian engagement in Syria meanwhile risks drawing Israel deeper into the conflict.

The U.S. carried out limited airstrikes in April 2017 and again a year later after determining Assad had used chemical weapons in previous attacks.

"Frankly speaking, I don't think there's anything the United States can do about it".

Trump has sought better relations with Russian Federation since taking office in 2017 but the United States has been unable to rein in Moscow's military and diplomatic support for Assad.

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