The White House on Tuesday warned Syria that the United States and its allies would respond “swiftly and appropriately” if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons again, Reuters reported.
The White House said in a statement that Syria’s rebel-held Idlib region is under constant monitoring. Reportedly this is where the Syrian government is expected to mount an offensive that could spark a humanitarian disaster.
President Donald Trump on two separate occasions has ordered U.S.-led air strikes against targets in Syria as a response to the government using chemical weapons against its own citizens.
Trump on Monday also warned Assad and his allies, Iran and Russia, not to “recklessly attack” Idlib province.
Meanwhile, Russia dismissed Trump’s warning to Syria not to launch an offensive in Idlib, saying the area was a “nest of terrorism.”
According to Reuters, the northern province and surrounding areas are the last major enclave held by insurgents fighting Assad, who has been backed by both Russian and Iranian forces in Syria’s seven-year-old civil war. In this area, there are three million civilians.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said that the U.S. stands behind Trump’s warning.
“Let us be clear, it remains our firm stance that if President Bashar al-Assad chooses to again use chemical weapons, the United States and its allies will respond swiftly and appropriately,” she said.