“Old scenario” at risk of being repeated on Syrian battlefield

Wednesday, 2018-09-12 16:36:22
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UN humanitarian coordinator Mark Lowcock attends a news conference at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, September 10, 2018. (Reuters)
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NDO – The situation in Syria is becoming increasingly complicated, as the parties concerned recently put forward mutual accusations about the attacks conducted in the Middle East country. Such a “smoke-screen” of information has sparked worries over the possibility that the West is seeking an excuse to launch an air raid on Syria.

According to US National Security Adviser, John R. Bolton, the US, the UK and France have agreed to take stronger retaliatory measures than the previous air strikes, if the Syrian government troops “continue to use chemical weapons”. Recent accusations that the Syrian government troops are preparing to use chemical weapons in the Idlib battle are said to “pave the way” for the West to launch its second air strike campaign in the country. Mutual consultations were conducted recently by the Western countries and the recent moves show that Syria is in danger of suffering a military intervention.

After the US issued warnings of launching an air raid on Syria, the German media reported that Berlin could join the campaign with the US-led coalition. The German Defense Ministry said it is considering this possibility if Damascus deploys attacks with chemical weapons. France’s Defense Minister Florence Parly also affirmed that if attacks using chemical weapons are carried out in Syria, France would be ready to deliver the appropriate retaliatory moves.

The aforementioned moves take place as the Syrian government forces, backed by Russia and Iran, have been mobilising huge resources for the last major campaign in the province of Idlib, the remaining stronghold of the rebels. Russia has accused that the rebel forces in Idlib had planned a “fake” chemical weapon attack and then blamed it on the Damascus administration aiming to create an excuse for the West to attack the Syrian government troops. Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, stated that the Western countries were using the same scenario that had been used previously when attacking Syria. Russia underlined that the consequences of the West’s “provocative moves” related to the alleged chemical weapon use in Syria are unpredictable.

Meanwhile, the Russian media reported that two US F-15 fighter jets had dropped phosphorus bombs over Syria’s Deir al-Zor province. According to the Russian military, the air strikes targeted the village of Hajin, the last major stronghold of the Islamic State (IS) in Syria. Moscow affirmed the Syrian administration completely destroyed the chemical weapons stockpiles under international control in a campaign involving the US and other countries, while warning the US and its allies against intervening in the current campaign in Idlib.

Although Russia and the Syrian government vowed to consider all the options in their anti-terrorist campaigns in Idlib aiming to limit casualties for civilians, the Western nations still warned of the risks of a humanitarian disaster in the province, which is currently home to about three million people. While Idlib needs a political solution, the West is counting on a large military campaign to prevent the “humanitarian disaster” that they have warned could occur. The international community is concerned that any Western military intervention into Idlib will turn this battlefield into a “fire wok” of conflict. The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, warned that a large-scale military campaign in Idlib could cause the “worst humanitarian disaster” of the century.

Russia has asked the United Nations Security Council to hold an open session to discuss the outcome of the Russia-Iran-Turkey tripartite summit on the situation in Syria. The Syrian crisis needs a political solution, not the use of force to find the “key” to open the door of peace, as some outside countries are attempting. If the “old scenario” is repeated, a humanitarian disaster will truly occur in Syria, and the most vulnerable subjects still remain the innocent civilians.