The clock is ticking in Idlib: Russia must finally make a decision - YASIN AKTAY

The clock is ticking in Idlib: Russia must finally make a decision

Regardless of which angle you look at it, Syrian regime forces attacking Turkish troops and martyring eight soldiers in the process is a breaking point that will lead to the reshuffling of cards in the Syria issue. The martyred Turkish soldiers were working to reinforce the observation points in the de-escalation zones in Idlib as decided between Turkey, Iran, Russia and the regime during the Astana and Sochi processes. In other words, regime forces and Russia had for some time made it a their mission to violate this agreement in Idlib, and were striving to render the function of Turkey’s observation points obsolete.

Turkey, though, could see these efforts to render the agreement obsolete through fait accompli, and was objecting.

Clearly, the attacks the regime forces have been organizing for some time in Idlib, accompanied by, with the support and protection of Russian forces, were arrogant attempts that have been disregarding all diplomatic efforts that have been ongoing in Astana and Sochi, and aimed at clearly violating them.

As in many fields, Turkey has, as a matter of fact, fully followed its policy that presents a chance for a political solution in Syria to Russia, Iran and the Syrian regime. The regime in Syria is murderous and has led as many as 12 million of its own people to be displaced both internally and outside the country. The only way this regime knows to deal with its own opponents is to kill them, exile them, to bring their houses down. This criminal regime, which should have no place on this earth, is still unfortunately able to remain standing with open support from Russia and Iran.

As a matter of fact, despite Russia and Iran being the chief responsible for the human tragedy of the century taking place in Syria, Turkey sat at the table with them in Astana and Sochi in pursuit of ending the bloodshed in Syria. This pursuit led to an urgent expectation in some with respect to the formation of a new alliance, a new international axis. Yet, Turkey’s fundamental priority, as it has been in general, was the human aspect of the matter.

The people of Syria did not demand much from Bashar Assad; they just wanted to live with dignity. Assad, who thought this was too much, tried to hold subject to genocide even those who made a request as minor as this. The result of this tyranny is obvious: 12 million people displaced, 1 million people sacrificed, millions injured, arrested and missing.

Turkey’s attitude towards these practices has been quite clear but it came under attack because of it. It was accused of taking sides in the clashes in Syria. Yet, the only side Turkey took was humanity.

If what has been happening in Idlib alone since the Astana process is not enough of a lesson to those still suggesting an agreement with the bloody-handed Assad, their hearts have been sealed, their eyes have been blinded. During the Astana process, Turkey reached an agreement with Russia and Iran – that have been protecting the regime – to reach a political solution with the opposition. After all those massacres and war, it was agreed that opposition in Syria is now an indisputable right, and that those rebelling against the regime would not be considered terrorists. Since the regime’s oppression and tyranny is a clear fact, accordingly, rebellion is also a right and nobody could be accused of using this right. On the contrary, the state, which should be the first to blame, is a regime that uses its means as tool for massacre against its own defenseless people.

If there is so much mass migration from a country, those migrating take along with them the legitimacy and rightfulness of that regime. The at least 8 million Syrians outside of Syria today are standing witness to the presence of not a state in their country but a murderous, terrorist organization.

Russia and the regime were conducting their attacks in Idlib with the excuse that there were terrorist activities taking place but here, schools, hospitals and bakeries are being air raided, and civilians were dying. At least 1 million people are forced to flee from this region due to attacks and migrate to the Turkish border. If it continues this way, Idlib is going to be completely vacated like the other areas in Syria and taken over, but the people purged from here will become the responsibility of Turkey.

Turning the fight against terrorism into genocide against an entire civilian population is in itself a crime against humanity, while the violation of the deals with Turkey is another crime.

It appears that there is no such thing as humans for Russia but simply breathing machines. People dying, migrating, the atrocious tragedies resulting from these to gain control in an area have no significance. It is clear how that horrific cold-bloodedness is taking on a dangerous form for humanity. It does not have enough time or energy to take control. If there is an opponent hiding among thousands of people, it can destroy those thousands of people to get rid of that one opponent. It is determined to kill hundreds of thousands of people if necessary to gain control in Syria.

However, it is the civilians and Turkey that are paying for the inhumane practices they are resorting to in efforts to fight against the opposition they call terrorist based on their own criteria. They pay no price themselves.

As many as 1 million civilians, children are at Turkey’s border; these images are proof not of fighting terrorism but of savage genocide.

Turkey could not stand by the sidelines and watch this any longer. The clock is ticking.

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