Zackary Cohen and Richard Roth — CNN Sept 11, 2018
Note that the although the above video report features the Syrian White Helmets, it doesn’t identify them. That would give away too much: too many people now know that the White Helmets are a Western-backed propaganda outfit linked to Al-Queda and Al-Nusra. So CNN is now featuring the White Helmets in its reports without identifying them; reports which may even have been filmed by them. Ed.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned Russia and Iran of “dire consequences” if they continue airstrikes against the last rebel-held area in Syria and said the US would respond to any use of chemical weapons.
Russia’s ambassador to the UN met Haley’s threat with a denial that Syria has any chemical weapons, as the UN secretary-general warned of a potential “bloodbath” during Tuesday’s UN Security Council meeting on the crisis in Idlib, Syria.
During what was the second session on Idlib in four days, Haley told the council that “the world has seen a clear military escalation” this month by Russia and the Syrian regime, whose forces have conducted more than 100 airstrikes, using “barrel bombs, rockets and artillery” in an attempt to retake the last rebel holdout after more than seven years of war.
Haley accused Russia and Iran of having little interest in a political solution and called their actions those of “cowards interested in a bloody military conquest.”
“If Assad, Russia and Iran continue down the path they are on, the consequences will be dire,” she said.
“I also want to reiterate what I said last week to the Assad regime and anyone else contemplating the use of chemical weapons in Syria,” Haley added. “The United States followed through when we said that we would respond to the use of chemical weapons. We stand by this warning.”
Secretary of Defense James Mattis declined to say Tuesday whether the US would take military action against the Syrian regime should it use chemical weapons, but he did say Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad has “been warned.”
“I’m not going to tell the world ahead of time what we’re going to do. It’s just not my style,” Mattis said when asked if and what kind of retaliation the US military would carry out should the regime use chemical weapons in its offensive against Idlib.
“I never talk about what would come next,” Mattis said. “But I think that you do have to look at the fact that we will abide by the chemical weapons prohibition and support it.”
When asked what the US has done to prevent their use, Mattis referred to US, UK and French strikes on Syria after a chemical weapons attack in April. Assad “has been warned,” Mattis said. “The first time around he lost 17% of his pointy-nosed air force airplanes. He’s been warned. And so we’ll see if he’s wised up.”