Seven years into the devastating Syrian war, the international community remains still divided as experts fear a possible bloodbath in Idlib, the last stronghold of the Syrian armed opposition. The northwestern province bordering Turkey was one of the four “de-escalation zones” agreed to by Russia, Turkey and Iran in May 2017 during the fourth round of the Astana talks launched to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict. On September 7, another summit between the three countries disappointingly failed to produce a clear agreement, and a full-fledged offensive against the armed opposition now seems imminent.
According to international media reports, Syria and Russia have already carried out their most intensive air raids on rebel positions in Idlib. Meanwhile, the Russian government has for weeks now been warning of having received information which suggests that rebels are planning to launch a chemical weapons attack in Syria to escalate and draw other countries into the conflict. The US, on the other hand, has threatened unilateral action, including military, should the Syrian government continue attacking the rebels.
From what we have seen during the recent UN Security Council meetings, it seems obvious that all countries involved in the conflict are, in one way or another, looking to pursue their own geostrategic interests, ignoring completely the cost for Syria. In this deadly conflict, hundreds of thousands of Syrians have already lost their lives or their loved ones, while countless more have been displaced.
It is time for individual countries to recognise the sufferings that Syrians have had to endure, and to stop pursuing their own selfish geopolitical interest by spilling even more Syrian blood. Also important to remember is the risk of a larger conflict breaking out, should such aggressive posturing continue from different sides. The international community should, thus, urgently look for a political solution to the conflict, instead of escalating things further.