Liberating Idlib, Syria on Hold

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September 18, 2018
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September 19, 2018

Liberating Idlib, Syria on Hold

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

Following Putin/Erdogan talks in Sochi on Monday, Russia’s president agreed to establish 15 – 20 km-wide demilitarized zone in Idlib province along the Turkish border.

It’ll be controlled by Russian and Turkish forces, an offensive to liberate Idlib put on hold – perhaps until after US November 6 midterm elections, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu explained the plan, adding:

“(W)e will coordinate all the issues” Putin and Erdogan agreed on with Damascus. Putin said the following:

“We’ve focused on the situation in the province of Idlib, considering presence of large militant groups and their infrastructure there.”  

“We’ve agreed to create a demilitarized zone between the government troops and militants before October 15. The zone will be 15-20 km deep, with full withdrawal of hardline militants from there, including the Jabhat Al-Nusra (US-supported al-Qaeda in Syria as bloodthirsty as ISIS and other terrorists).”

The plan involves achieving the unattainable – getting heavily armed, US-supported, cutthroat killer jihadists to voluntarily leave the demilitarized zone they occupy, along with removing all heavy weapons from the area.

How to accomplish the unattainable wasn’t explained. Clearly Trump regime hardliners aren’t about to remove jihadists they control from any Syrian territory where they want them deployed.

As long as ISIS, al-Nusra, and other terrorists remain in Syria, they’ll continue being used as imperial foot soldiers – massacring civilians, carrying out CW attacks falsely blamed on Assad, and committing other atrocities, encouraged, supported, and directed by Washington and its imperial partners.

Following Monday talks, Erdogan said “we agreed that it is necessary to solve the Idlib issue. Territories that are under control of the Syrian opposition must be demilitarized.” 

“The opposition that controls these territories will remain there, but at the same time, together with Russia, we will take every effort to eliminate all radical groups from these territories. We will make every effort to do this.”

Erdogan can never be trusted. So-called “opposition” forces are cutthroat killer terrorists. No “moderate” elements exist. 

All anti-Assad forces are jihadists, supported by Washington, Turkey, and their imperial partners, responsible for massacres, terrorizing civilians, CW attacks, and other gruesome atrocities, falsely blamed on Syria.

Damascus reportedly agreed to delay its long-planned offensive, not cancel it. Putin, Assad, and Rouhani agree on the importance of eliminating US-supported terrorists in Idlib and throughout the country, the only chance for Syria’s liberation, along with ending illegal occupation by US, UK, French and Turkish forces.

Erdogan pretends to oppose the scourge of terrorism in Syria he supports. How Russian and Syrian forces intend responding to attacks by terrorists in Idlib once the demilitarized zone is established remains unclear.

They’ll surely continue. Ceasefire violations occur daily in all Russian established deescalation zones. Syrian forces attacked will respond forcefully. So will Moscow if its Khmeimim airbase and ground personnel are threatened.

For now, the Idlib offensive remains on hold, the inevitable delayed, the mother of all battles in Syria to come at a later time.

Why later and not now? Why delay liberating Idlib from US-supported terrorists? Why let things fester? 

US-supported jihadists in the province will continue terrorizing residents they hold captive as human shields, along with launching attacks and committing other atrocities without letup.

They won’t go unanswered.

A Final Comment

Was Putin wise or foolish agreeing with Erdogan to establish an Idlib demilitarized zone, putting on hold the province’s liberation from tens of thousands of US-supported cutthroat killer terrorists essential to eliminate?

Only the fullness of time will tell. I’m disappointed with his decision. For me it smacks of unacceptably appeasing a tyrant, failing to do the right thing. 

I hoped for pressing ahead to liberate the last major terrorist stronghold in the country, essential to accomplish – not delaying it for some weeks, postponing the inevitable. 

In fairness, Putin and his military strategists have intelligence and other information I’m not aware of. 

Overall they’ve done an excellent job beating Washington’s dirty game in Syria, foiling its regional imperial objectives for now.

It remains to be seen if delaying Idlib’s liberation is strategically sound. Trump regime hardliners, their imperial allies, and terrorist foot soldiers they control will go all-out to foil Putin’s best laid plans.

Their regime change objective remains unchanged. Resolving conflict has miles to go, perhaps years to liberate the country from US-supported terrorists – essential to achieve for Syrians again able to breathe free.

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.