Syrian American Council Calls For Safe Zone in Idlib
Today, the people of Idlib face two lethal crises. In brazen defiance of previous agreements and the laws of war, the Assad regime and its Russian allies have waged a brutal military campaign against the 3.5 million civilians in Idlib, Syria. Turkey has been left as the only defender of the more than one million civilians who have fled the bombardment to the Turkish border, 60% of whom are children who risk death in freezing winter conditions. And now, some of those who fled the fighting find themselves with no choice but to return to Idlib as fears grow of COVID-19 spreading in overcrowded camps on the Turkish border.
Senators Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio and former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford recently called for similar measures to be applied. Sen. Graham said that the no-fly zone would pave the way for political negotiations to end the war in Syria. Ford called for a safe zone in February, saying that a safe zone could “forestall a humanitarian crisis”. A no-fly zone protects civilians from aerial attacks, and a safe zone would provide an extra safeguard by also protecting civilians from ground-based attacks. This will allow Syrians to practice social distancing measures in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to halt the ever-increasing humanitarian catastrophe unfolding.
Today, we ask that you contact your members of Congress and ask them to take a stand in the face of the greatest humanitarian disaster of this century. Ask them to call upon President Trump to work with our NATO ally, Turkey and the international community to establish and enforce a safe zone in opposition-held portions of Idlib to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and attacks by regime forces.