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Trump warns Syria against attack on rebel stronghold: 'Don't let that happen'

Trump warns Syria against attack on rebel stronghold: 'Don't let that happen'

US President Donald Trump has warned Syrian leader Bashar Assad not to attack Idlib province, one of the last terrorist hideouts in the country, also advising Iran and Russian Federation against taking part in the "potential human tragedy".

"Idlib is home to some three million people, about half of them displaced, or forcibly evacuated, to the province from elsewhere", Al-Shami wrote in an op-ed warning that the regime's attack will crush the last of the revolution.

Syria's foreign ministry and Iran's state-run IRNA news agency said Mohammad Javad Zarif was received by Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad upon his arrival in Damascus, and was to meet later with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Expressing his concern that hundreds of thousands of lives might be at risk during the Syrian army's looming operations to clear the Idlib province of militants, Trump cautioned Damascus, as well as Moscow and Iran, against "making a grave humanitarian mistake".

"Sergey Lavrov is defending Syrian and Russian assault on #Idlib".

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime has moved armed helicopters closer to Idlib in recent weeks, according to two defense officials.

At least eight Iranian forces were killed by an US-led global anti-ISIS coalition air strike near the Al Tanf military base, according to a UK-based conflict monitory.

Turkey has been working with Iran and Russian Federation to find a peaceful solution to the Idlib crisis, warning that a full-scale operation on the province would result in a humanitarian disaster.

Last year, they had designated Idlib as a "de-escalation" zone where violence would halt in preparation for a countrywide ceasefire. Other sources said the air base was the target of an air strike.

Britain, France and the United States, which together launched limited attacks on Syrian installations in mid-April in retaliation for an alleged Syrian chemical attack, say their red line against illegal weapon use remains in force.

But these "verbal warning shots" have little to do with today's reality in Syria, said Jonas Parello-Plesner, a researcher with the Hudson Institute in Washington who recently published a study on the USA approach to the region.

During their meeting Assad and Zarif discussed the agenda of the summit in Iran.

Trump said in April that "it's time" to bring American troops home from Syria - once the jihadists of the Islamic State group had been definitively defeated.