Washington .- The United States promises to “respond swiftly and appropriately” if Syria uses chemical weapons in Idlib province, the last rebel stronghold in Syria.

The White House said Tuesday it is “closely monitoring” the fate of Idlib, where it said “millions of innocent civilians are under threat of an imminent … attack” by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

It said President Donald Trump “has warned that such an attack would be a reckless escalation of an already tragic conflict.”

The White House said it “will continue to work tirelessly with its allies to find a lasting diplomatic solution to resolve the hostilities in Syria” under a United Nations Security Council resolution.

A Syrian man rides a motorcycle past a destroyed building in an area that was hit by a reported airstrike in the district of Jisr al-Shughur, in the Idlib province, Sept. 4, 2018.

​Russia and Iran back the Assad regime and say they support Syria’s efforts to retake Idlib.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Idlib is a pocket of terrorism and that the situation there is undermining efforts to find a political resolution to the Syrian conflict. VOA

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