Trump warns Syria to not give birth to another crisis by attacking Idlib recklessly

Trump & Pence/AP

President of the United States Donald Trump has warned the Syrian Government to not attack the Idlib province recklessly, as it could lead to the death of hundreds of thousands of innocents.

The Idlib province in the last rebel-held region in the war-prone country. Nations like Turkey, Russia and Iran have long supported anti-Government rebels. Turkey also has troops stationed for observational purposes in this area. A Reuters source told the news agency that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is preparing an attack on the Idlib province to regain control of the region. As a response to these whispers, Donald Trump tweeted, “The Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy. Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed. Don’t let that happen!”

Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State said that any attack on the Idlib province would be seen as an escalation of Syrian War by Washington and that there would be serious retaliation if there are any chemical attacks by Damascus. It is being widely believed that the Idlib-rebels could stage a chemical attack in order to trick the US into retaliating against Syrian forces. Meanwhile, the Russian navy deployed some of its finest vessels to the Mediterranean Sea, prompting speculation that Russia is all set to protect Syria against an imminent US attack. On Wednesday, NATO’s chief spokeswoman, OanaLungescu, said, “We will not speculate on the intention of the Russian fleet, but it is important that all actors in the region exercise restraint and refrain from worsening an already disastrous humanitarian situation in Syria.”

The Idlib region is believed to have a population of around 3 million civilians. Along with Russia, the Turkish army sent an armoured convoy deep into Syria, Iranian-backed militias were allied to the south and the Syrian army was placed on an elevated alert. Russia’s stand in this probable war is worsening its relations with the United States, especially since Trump is trying to improve relations between the superpowers ever since he took office. On the other hand, Iran is all set to discuss the Idlib province with Russia and Syria and has asked its militants to back-off from the area. Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif travelled to Damascus last week to go over plans for the summit between Iran, Russia and Turkey. This will be hosted by Tehran on the 7th of September. He also signed an agreement for defence cooperation between Iran and Syria.

The US is keeping a close eye on any signs of chemical activities or attacks in Idlib. Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, posted a message on Twitter: “All eyes on the actions of Assad, Russia, and Iran in Idlib. #NoChemicalWeapons”.


*Neha Hardikar is a Research Intern at The Kootneeti


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