Recently, the armed forces of the Syrian Arab Republic have managed to secure the better part of all strategically important areas of the country. The turning point in the Syrian war was a rather symbolic liberation of the city of Daraa which played a pivotal role in the escalation of the conflict, and which was retaken by Syria’s armed forces in spite of attempts by Western sponsors of terrorists to rescue their proxy forces. This brings the conflict now to a point when the liberation of Idlib is in the cards, Idlib Governorate currently controlled by the so-called opposition and Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham, a designated terrorist group and therefore outlawed in a great many countries around the world. It is here that the remaining detachments of various terrorist organisations are concentrated, who make constant attacks against government-controlled territories, killing representatives of Syrian law enforcement agencies, but mostly civilians. It’s safe to say that Damascus is determined to regain control of Idlib — and with this last push, regain control of almost all of Syria’s pre-war territories, thus beginning the transition to a peaceful life.
Unsurprisingly, Washington venomously opposes the future Idlib offensive. The White House has provided rhetorical support for forces besieged in Idlib by the Syrian army regardless of the crimes they’ve committed throughout the war. The US under secretary of state for public affairs, Heather Nauert announced that Washington remains concerned over the possibility of the escalation of violence in Idlib, which, in its opinion, will put the civilian population and civilian infrastructure in harm’s way. In turn, US secretary of state, Michael Pompeo has boldly announced that the assault on Idlib will be considered a further escalation of the conflict. However, he, if one is to put it mildly, is known for distorting facts, as the liberation of Idlib from the reign of foreign terrorists and mercenary warlords will be a step toward ending the Syrian conflict, while Damascus’ inaction will only prolong it.
However, the role of champion supporter of terrorists and war criminals in Syria was hijacked by the ultimate ‘democrat’ — current US president, Donald Trump. He warned Syria, Russia and Iran about the dangers of any future assault of of Idlib – the last Syrian Governorate still controlled by the opponents of the Assad government. In his personal Twitter account Trump would state:
‘President Bashar al-Assad of Syria must not recklessly attack Idlib Province. The Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy. Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed. Don’t let that happen!’
One can’t help but wonder how the US president concluded hundreds of thousands of people could allegedly die amid a Syrian assault. Maybe Trump is aware of the exact number of terrorists operating in Idlib? After all, Idlib today is a hornet’s nest of the most notorious terrorist groups on Earth, armed with the most advanced weapons American ‘democrats’ could supply them with. They are occupying entrenched positions fortified under direct supervision of American instructors, who remain deployed in this stronghold of terrorism to this day. In addition, according to Western media sources, the defences of Idlib have been strengthened by hundreds of American, British and other pro-Western special forces operators and members of private military companies.
War crimes of various degrees of inhumanity have long accompanied the deployments of PMCs in almost every single country they go, which has transformed this ordeal into a test of patience for the rules of those states that host bases and supply depots for them. When it comes to criminal impunity and unspeakable acts of cruelty of American contractors in Iraq, one’s mind immediately shifts to the notorious Blackwater firm and its dubious track record. It turned out that Blackwater mercenaries are virtually indistinguishable from the terrorists now besieged in Idlib and being defended by the sitting US president.
And apparently these days, when Donald Trump talks about human casualties, he fails to recall the atrocities carried out by US armed forces in Iraq, which resulted in a civilian death toll of well over a million people. He is also silent on the long list of US crimes in Afghanistan; he is equally silent about the huge losses of innocent lives in Mosul and Al-Raqqah, two cities the US chose to level to the ground, leaving any survivors nothing to return to. For some reason, one can’t help but to draw a comparison with the actions of Nazi Germany air raids, which wiped out whole cities, towns, and villages, paying no heed to the fate of the civilian population living in them.
During that same conflict, American war hawks managed to surpass the Third Reich by bombing the German city of Dresden into oblivion at the very end of the war. There were no German troops stationed there.
Russia’s presidential press secretary, Dmitry Peskov commented on Donald Trump’s statement by nothing that warnings of certain consequences cannot be properly evaluated without one taking into account the threat of terrorism, adding that this threat is to be dealt with in a timely manner. Peskov recognised that Moscow is aware the Syrian armed forces are preparing to counter this threat, while adding that one’s reluctance to recognise the disastrous consequences this threat can bring if left unchecked is a sign of a short-sighted approach being applied to the whole situation.
In his turn, deputy minister of foreign affairs of the Russian Federation Oleg Syromolotov said that no one is interested in the beginning of active hostilities in the Idlib Governorate. One can recall that Idlib became a terrorist stronghold at a time when the Syrian armed forces were liberating the southwestern part of the country with the active support of Russia’s air force. Militants managed to gain significant control in Idlib due to the fact that it was a de-escalation zone. As it has been announced by Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov the situation in Idlib cannot be tolerated indefinitely as there’s an acute need to separate the armed opposition from terrorists, adding that this position is fully supported by Ankara. In turn, Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that it’s imperative for all sides involved in Idlib to cooperate with Russia to find a solution to the conflict. This opinion, according to Haberturk, was voiced by Erdogan aboard a airplane taking him home after visiting Kyrgyzstan. According to Erdogan, a brute force scenario can be averted through negotiations.
Both Russia and Turkey warned the international community that Washington may use false-flag chemical attacks in Idlib to justify yet another act of direct aggression against Syria. However, the new round of escalation may mean the entire Middle East getting drawn into a military conflict, as there’s a real threat that this time Iranian facilities may also come under fire. Experts say that this situation is unprecedented, as a certain group of American politicians directly influencing the situation are evaluating the option of plunging the entire region into a state of perpetual war. The possibility Iran will block the Strait of Hormuz and launch a series of strikes against Israel would lead into a highly unpredictable conflict in which all bets are off.
New Eastern Outlook, September 9. Victor Mikhin is corresponding member of RANS.