In Idlib, Syria's last opposition-held province, millions are bracing for what could be a catastrophic government assault. UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura called the looming offensive a “perfect storm” that threatens the wellbeing of large numbers of already vulnerable civilians. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo echoed that concern, remarking that many “will suffer from this aggression,” while President Trump cautioned that “hundreds of thousands of people could be killed.”
Why it matters: The warnings are justified. An estimated 3 million civilians reside in the province, many of whom have already been displaced from other parts of Syria by seven years of violence and surrender deals with the government. According to Mistura, more than 2 million people in Idlib are already in need of humanitarian assistance, and the brunt of the expected assault has yet to begin.