US President Donald Trump has warned Syria and its Russian and Iranian allies against attacking Idlib, the last rebel held province. In a tweet he warned of a “humanitarian mistake” in which hundreds of thousands of people could be killed.
Last week Moscow’s defence ministry announced it has deployed 25 ships and missile cruisers in the eastern Mediterranean as well as 30 jets. Syrian government forces are conducting a huge offensive on the last major rebel stronghold in the country.
UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura expressed concern regarding the fate of civilians caught in the midst of fighting. He called for humanitarian corridors to be set up to allow civilians to be evacuated temporarily.
"There is a perfect storm based on warnings, counter-warnings which is gathering around and due to the dilemma, which is a true dilemma on how to defeat terrorists in Idlib and at the same time avoid affecting a huge number of civilians," he said.
The US State Department warned on Monday that Washington would respond to any chemical attacks by the Syrian government or its allies.
US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley tweeted:
All eyes on the actions of Assad, Russia, and Iran in Idlib. #NoChemicalWeapons https://t.co/DscJOxf4x1— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) September 3, 2018
Cyprus is currently witnessing increased air traffic congestion causing closure of several flight corridors which are normally used by civilian planes. There has been also a substantial increase in the arrival of refugees on the islands' shores, prompting a cabinet meeting to address the crisis.