How can Russia be so indifferent to the human tragedy in Idlib? - YASIN AKTAY

How can Russia be so indifferent to the human tragedy in Idlib?

The Russian Defense Ministry, ignoring the tragedy faced in the middle of winter by the one million people whose homes were destroyed as a result of the blind bombs itself fired Idlib, who lost numerous family members and loved ones, and set off to Turkey to save their own lives, had brazenly stated the cause of the crisis as, “Turkey’s failure to differentiate between moderate opposition fighters and terrorists.”

Let us say that Turkey was indeed unable to differentiate between the moderate Syrian opposition and terrorists, as sometimes it truly may not be that easy to differentiate between them, but is it that difficult to differentiate between children and terrorists? Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in fact, frequently voices these critical questions during his special dialogue with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and, as far as we have ascertained, Putin accepts this and acknowledges Erdoğan. However, statements from the Russian Defense Ministry, which is subject to him, show that from time to time the situation is no different to that of the U.S. In other words, there is an armed bureaucracy that disobeys Putin and applies its own policy on the ground without any regard to him.

To top it off, this bureaucracy, which hides behind the excuse that Turkey does not distinguish between the moderate opposition and the terrorists, also stated that it considers the reports that a million refugees are headed towards the Turkish border are being exaggerated and, in fact, fabricated.

A Russian ministry official stated that the reports regarding a mass exodus from the Idlib de-escalation zone do not reflect the truth, that news reported by certain media outlets are not based on concrete findings and, as a matter of fact, that a significant portion of the dwellers in Idlib have safely left the conflict areas and passed through to government-controlled areas.

This is the perfect example of “I will rain down bombs and disregard the consequences” apathy and brazenness. How frightening is it that those possessing tools and devices in the age of such communication technologies, which are capable of focusing on the desired point from a height of tens of thousands of meters and analyze all the way into cells, are so nonchalant to humanitarian issues?

Technology does not even have to be so advanced to test the results of your brutal operations in Idlib. Answering this simple question is more than enough: Where did the 1 million people who have reached Turkey’s border come from? Will so many adults throw their children and families into an uncertain end, a horrific adventure in the middle of winter, in snow, ice and mud out of pleasure?

Let us say that “1 million” is no longer enough “as a statistic” to activate any emotion; let us provide some personal examples; perhaps it might be a little more cautionary. Here are three stories that were presented yesterday in Yeni Şafak daily and other news wires. Only three examples from among millions of other similar examples:

ONE. Iman Mahmoud Layla is only one of the babies that succumbed to the bitter cold in Idlib. Despite having come into the world as early as one-and-a-half years ago, she experienced great pains. Her family of four had to flee from the Hamuriye village in Eastern Ghouta, where Bashar Assad’s regime is shedding blood in streams. As the bombs would not quit chasing them, they had to migrate many times. Their last destination was the Mareta village, located an hour from Afrin. They took shelter in a shop building, consisting of four walls alone – with no plaster, window, bathroom or toilet. However, little Layla’s tiny body could no longer endure such pain. Her father who woke up one morning to find his daughter lifeless, took his child in his arms and set off on the road. Walking for a whole hour while carrying Layla’s lifeless body, he received answers at the hospital that he did not want to hear. Doctors told him that Layla, who passed away with her eyes open, had frozen to death. The bereaved father, who collapsed upon hearing the bad news and refused to let the doctors drive him home, returned after walking for another hour and buried his daughter.

TWO. The Hammad family. The family migrated from Kafr Rumah to the small town of Ma’arrat Misrin. Settling in Al-Ziya camp in Killi village, they were among the Syrians who felt fortunate to be able to find a makeshift tent. However, this was not enough to save their lives. They placed a charcoal-burner in the middle of the tent to protect themselves against the cold temperature that drops to -10 degrees Celsius at night. Not having anything to burn, they kindled a fire by burning their clothing and shoes. The father, Sitayf Hammadi, took his children Hur and Huda with him and fell asleep; the mother snuggled up in a corner. This was to be their final slumber. The Hammadi family died in each other’s arms from the fumes emanating from the charcoal-burner.

THREE. Muhammad Kusay Selce. He was 16 years old, but nobody knows his origin or family. He fled the bombardments in central Syria and came to Ma’arrat Misrin. He was staying at a former poultry farm. He neither had a bed nor a blanket. He could not awake from the sleep of death after laying on the concrete ground Monday night. He was long dead by the time those who found him had taken him to hospital. The nurse who intervened to bring him back to life said, “His body was so frozen that we struggled to get the needle into his arm.” These words are enough to summarize Selce’s tragedy. Ammar al-Suleiman, who was mentally disabled, also died from the cold in Maar Shurin. Suleiman passed away freezing to death in the tent in which he took shelter to protect himself against the bitter cold.

This human tragedy of the century that stands before us as a result of the irresponsible attacks conducted by Russia to save the Assad regime shows, in fact, the severity of the threat that our humanity is under as a whole. This is proof that one of the two super powers of the bipolar world has today become a massacre machine that cares about its own interests alone.

Really, why are Russia and Iran only part of the war and political solution in Syria? Why are they not a part of the solution to this human tragedy that has emerged as a result of their actions? Why does nobody even think to call on them to become a part of this solution?

The world having lost hope in them with respect to humanitarian issues is more than enough humiliation, is it not?


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