As reported by Censor.NET citing The Wall Street Journal, the move raises the prospects for another retaliatory U.S. military strike as thousands try to escape what could be a decisive battle in the seven-year-old war.
In a recent discussion about Syria, people familiar with the exchange said, President Donald Trump threatened to conduct a massive attack against Assad if he carries out a massacre in Idlib, the northwestern province that has become the last refuge for more than 3 million people and as many as 70,000 opposition fighters that the regime considers to be terrorists.
International efforts to avert an offensive have failed to dissuade Syria, Russia and Iran as they try to deliver a crippling blow to rebels who appear to be on the verge of defeat after trying for seven years to force Assad from power. Russia and Syria have stepped up their airstrikes, while thousands of civilians have been evacuated to government-controlled parts of Syria. Assad has rebuffed appeals from the United Nations, Turkey, the U.S. and others who have warned that an attack could trigger a new humanitarian crisis.
"Syria is once again at the edge of an abyss," Francois Delattre, the French ambassador to the United Nations, said last week during a U.N. Security Council meeting on Idlib. The Pentagon is crafting military options, but Trump hasn’t decided what exactly would trigger a military response or whether the U.S. would target Russian or Iranian military forces aiding Assad in Syria, U.S. officials said.