Top US officials are warning the Russian and Syrian governments against chemical weapons use in Syria as forces allied with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad prepare for an offensive on a rebel stronghold. The United States “will respond to any verified chemical weapons use in Idlib or elsewhere in Syria in a swift and appropriate manner,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters in Washington during a briefing Wednesday.

Nauert said senior US officials engaged with their Russian counterparts “to make this point very clear to Damascus,” adding that the use of chemical weapons “will not be tolerated.” CBN News and other reporters pressed Nauert on if intelligence officials are seeing activity on the ground. All Nauert would say is the Syrian government is gearing up for an expected offensive in Idlib province, which is home to nearly 3 million people and has a large al Qaeda presence in addition to Syrian rebel groups. READ MORE