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Nikki Haley warns Russia and Iran of 'dire consequences' if they continue airstrikes in Syria

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told Russia and Iran that there would be "dire consequences" if they continue to conduct airstrikes against rebel positions in Syria. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has told the governments of Iran and Russia that there would be “dire consequences” if they did not stop bombing rebel-held positions in Syria.

What about the attacks by Iran and Russia in Syria?

As the war in Syria continues to drag on, the militaries of Iran and Russia have been launching attacks on rebel-held positions, in an attempt to end the conflict in a way that favors their ally, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

Both nations have strongly denied that Assad has possession of or has used chemical weapons in the past, despite a plethora of evidence. Assad has targeted civilian populations with sarin and chlorine gas. In addition to covering for Assad, Russia has targeted rebel territory with “barrel bombs, rockets and artillery,” according to Haley.

More than half a million people have died in the Syrian Civil War so far. According to a study conducted in March by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 85 percent of that number were civilians killed by the Assad regime.

What did Nikki Haley say?

“If Assad, Russia and Iran continue down the path they are on, the consequences will be dire,” Haley said during a meeting of the U.N. Security Council regarding the ongoing crisis in Idlib, Syria.

Haley called the “atrocities” perpetrated by the Assad regime “a permanent stain on history, and a black mark for this council which was blocked over and over by Russia from taking action to help.”

She added:

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. The United States followed through when we said that we would respond to the use of chemical weapons. We stand by this warning.

When asked by reporters on Tuesday, Secretary of Defense James Mattis refused to say whether or not the U.S. would take any sort of military action against Syria, or what exactly these dire consequences might look like.

What else?

On Sept. 3, Trump tweeted that "the Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake" by assisting Assad in his assault on Idlib.

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