Haley, the United Nations envoy, again warned Assad and his allies that any assault on Idlib would be considered "reckless" by the USA and "the consequences will be dire". "We are saying that this has the potential to be the worst crisis - humanitarian crisis - in the 21st century, because that is frankly what it looks like, if it goes ahead with a full-scale military operation".
But a Red Crescent official who was with him in Idlib told Middle East Eye that the humanitarian organisation expected millions more to seek refuge along the border from the fighting in Syria's last rebel-held stronghold.
"We're deeply concerned about this recent escalation of violence, which has resulted in the displacement of over 30,000 in the area".
That has prompted an estimated 30,452 people to be displaced within Idlib and parts of adjacent Hama province between September 1 and 9, the UN's humanitarian coordination agency (OCHA) said Monday.
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A man in Syria's embattled city of Idlib has created a makeshift gas mask from party cups, cotton and charcoal, among other easy-to-find items.
"In Idlib, we're watching very closely what the Assad regime, aided and abetted by the Iranians and the Russians are up to", Mattis told Pentagon reporters.
A full-scale military offensive on Idlib risks creating the worst humanitarian tragedy of the 21st century, United Nations aid agencies have said, amid concerns that a severe funding shortfall threatens the most vulnerable victims of the conflict.
"Some even said that they are preparing to die as Idlib is the last safe place for many of them".
"There are 2.5 million people living in Idlib".
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Detainees in these political re-education camps have not been charged with any crime, have no access to lawyers or contact with relatives.
Christy Delafield of Mercy Corps, one of the largest organisations delivering aid in Syria, said it has been hard for aid workers and communities to keep up with the displacement.
"We're not talking about a military offensive", the Russian ambassador said.
"The consequences of inaction are enormous".
Turkey has continued to provide humanitarian relief to opposition areas in Idlib and Latakia - situated in Syria's north - and operates a number of military observation posts in the province.
The regime of Bashar al-Assad and its top backer Moscow have consistently denied those claims, pointing the finger at rebels instead.
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"Idlib province is.a sort of zone of responsibility of Turkey; it is their responsibility to separate the moderate opposition from the extremists, from Jabhat al-Nusra and other groups, other terrorist groups", he said.