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Idlib prepares for major crisis

by zeenat

Salaam Foundation | 03 September 2018

A massive flare up in the Syrian humanitarian crisis is expected as Russian, Iranian and Syrian troops amass on border of the Idlib province inside Syria.

With up to 3 million civilians crowded into the small geographical area, Turkish diplomats are reported to be in deep negotiations with their counterparts in Russia to try and prevent what could possibly be a bloodbath.

The Syrian government along with the their Iranian and Russian allies have vowed to retake the province that currently houses various rebel groups that have been fighting the Syrian army for the last 7 years. The largest of the groups is the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), formerly known as Jabhatun Nusra that has been aligned to Al Qaeda.

Last week United Nations Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura called on Russia, Iran and Turkey to delay any action until some solution could be found for civilians living in the region.

At least 1 million people in the province have been displaced from other areas of Syria while they fled from President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces.

De Mistura told international media last week, ‘I am once again prepared… personally and physically to get involved myself, with the government cooperation this time… to ensure such a temporary corridor would be feasible.”

Turkey has several military outposts inside Idlib from where they have acted as monitors for several months. This weekend large convoys of Turkish armoured vehicles and tanks were seen moving towards the Syrian border for possible deployment inside Idlib province. The Turks have welcomed Syrian refugees in the past but a new inflow of a possible 2 million people could stretch their capabilities.

News agencies have reported that Ankara has been asking Russia for time to isolate HTS from other rebel groups and root it out of Idlib.

“It’s important to deactivate all the terrorist groups since they are posing a threat to Turkey on our border. But a military solution would be a disaster not only for Idlib but for all Syria,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Friday.

De Mistura has called for humanitarian corridors to be opened in the province, and said he would travel there himself in order to secure them.

Irrespective of whether the impending attack occurs or not, Syrian refugees continue to require support and assistance.

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Ref: IDB Zakat/Lillah

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