Assad 'has been warned' on Idlib chemical use: Mattis

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Syrian state media said the attacks on Saturday were a retaliation to overnight shelling from rebel-held areas on a government-held town in Hama province, south of Idlib, that killed nine civilians.

On Monday, the head of the United Nations humanitarian agency, Mark Lowcock, warned that Idlib could see "the worst humanitarian catastrophe, with the biggest loss of life of the 21st century".

In recent weeks, regime troops have massed around the northwestern region held by jihadists of Al-Qaeda's former Syrian affiliate as well as rival rebels.

On Friday, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan openly disagreed with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at a press conference in the Iranian capital.

BEIRUT/GENEVA - More than 30,000 people have so far fled their homes in northwest Syria since Syrian government and allied forces resumed air and ground bombardments there last week, the United Nations agency coordinating relief efforts said on Monday.

"We can not allow terrorists to hold hostage and use hundreds of thousands of people of Idlib as human shields", said the Russian ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia.

If chemical weapons are used, National Security Adviser John Bolton promised the US would deliver a counterattack that's even more severe than the two previous assaults authorized by Trump. That preserves some leverage for the the face of Russian Federation and Iran's presence in Syria.

A possible regime attack on Syria's northwestern province of Idlib will sabotage the ongoing political process and cause a serious crisis of confidence, the Turkish presidential spokesman said on September 11.

Hundreds of civilians have fled villages near the front line in Syria's Idlib province fearing an imminent regime assault on the country's last major opposition and rebel bastion, a monitor said.

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Turkey massed tanks and commandos at its frontier and accelerated work to cope with a possible surge of refugees after Russian Federation refused to call off an offensive against the last rebel bastion in Syria.

Mohamed said a small number of Jisr al-Shoghour residents had also returned to the town, but the majority of them - around 6,000 - were still sheltering elsewhere.

President Donald Trump's national security adviser warned the Syrian government against using chemical weapons in the looming battle for Idlib Province, the last remaining rebel stronghold populated by more than 2 million people.

It said at least four civilians were killed, including two children and a woman, majority in Abdeen, a village west Khan of Sheikhoun.

He went on to explain that in the event of Erdogan "selling Idlib", militants will use the tunnel to cross into Turkey, to potentially carry out attacks against civilians and security forces.

That's right, unnamed U.S. officials are now claiming to be in possession of intelligence which they say shows Assad has already given the order in an absolutely unprecedented level of "pre-crime" telegraphing of events on the battlefield.

We want to tell you: if you sell Idlib or other opposition-held areas, we're going to buy Reyhanli from you.

The civil war has claimed some 350,000 lives since 2011.