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On Sunday, government forces bombed the village of Hobeit in Idlib province, killing an infant girl and wounding several other civilians, the Syrian Civil Defence search-and-rescue group said.

Erdogan on Friday said Turkey couldn't cope with more Syrian refugees, referring to more than 3.5 million people scattered across the country.

Fears of a massacre have been fueled by new USA intelligence indicating Mr. Assad has cleared the way for the military to use chlorine gas in any offensive, US officials said.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley echoed this warning on Thursday during a United Nations Security Council meeting on chemical weapons use in Syria.

In a recent discussion about Syria, people familiar with the exchange said, President Trump threatened to conduct a massive attack against Mr. Assad if he carries out a massacre in Idlib, the northwestern province that has become the last refuge for more than three million people and as many as 70,000 opposition fighters that the regime considers to be terrorists.

"The new policy is we're no longer pulling out by the end of the year".

On April 13, USA bomber jets, warships, and an attack submarine launched strikes along with French and British fighter jets in a more sweeping attack.

Answering questions from reporters in capital Ankara during Afghanistan's National Day reception, Akar said Turkey "wants the absolute cease-fire to be maintained" which was planned within the scope of Astana peace process brokered by Turkey, Russia and Iran.

"We haven't said that the USA would use the military in response to an offensive", one senior administration official told the paper.

"We are not in a hurry to go", said James Jeffrey, the retired Foreign Service officer brought back to handle the Syria account.

Can the U.S.do more than denounce Assad? The Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy.

A previous chemical weapons attack in Douma, which killed at least 70 people, resulted in retaliatory strikes from American, British and French forces stationed in the Mediterranean.

If chemical weapons are used, National Security Adviser John Bolton promised the USA would deliver a counterattack that's even more severe than the two previous assaults authorized by Trump. "Don't let that happen!"

Assad used chemical weapons again in the western Syrian town of Douma, nearly a year later.

Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, believes the president's abrupt shift in strategy is the result of increasing Russian and Iranian influence in Syria.

Russian Federation and the United States also accused each other's allies of preparing to mount chemical attacks. "To ensure that we succeed, the rest of the world must set aside narrow self-interest and throw its weight behind a political solution", he concluded.

Hundreds of families have fled Idlib's southeastern areas since Saturday, when Russian and regime strikes on the region were the most violent in a month, the Observatory said.

Kurdish security forces, known as Asayish, said that a government patrol entered the areas controlled by the Kurdish militia in Qamishli and began arresting civilians, then shot at a Kurdish checkpoint, sparking the gun battle.