Syrian American Council Calls for US-Turkish Cooperation to Protect Civilians in Syria’s Idlib Province
Syrian civilians flee toward Turkish border as Russian-backed Syrian forces march toward Idlib, violence between Syrian and Turkish forces increase
WASHINGTON D.C., February 11, 2020 – The escalating tensions between Turkey and the Assad regime in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib have erupted into escalated violence with the deaths of more than a dozen Turkish soldiers in attacks by pro-regime forces. Approximately 700,000 Syrian civilians have fled toward the Turkish border since December, as the Assad regime, backed by Russia, has intensified attacks on civilian areas. The Syrian American Council calls on the United States to uphold its responsibility to its NATO ally and to work with Turkey to protect civilians in Idlib.
“The latest escalation of violence between Turkey and the Assad regime will have its greatest effect on the most vulnerable in Idlib - the hundreds of thousands of civilians fleeing their homes, the vast majority of whom are women and children,” said Dr. Zaki Lababidi, president of the Syrian American Council. “While we were heartened by Secretary Pompeo's statement earlier this month, the United States must take concrete action and continue to stand by Turkey as its NATO ally against the brutal violation of the ceasefire by Russia and Assad.”
As the Russian-backed Assad regime has made advances in Idlib, the last opposition stronghold, its brutality has only increased. Since the beginning of the year, the regime continues to destroy villages one by one, and has recently been discovered to be desecrating graves of opposition fighters, even photographing themselves with skulls of revolution soldiers as trophies.
The violation of the ceasefire in Idlib has left millions of lives in Idlib hanging in the balance. Civilians who have fled the advances of the regime are stranded along the border with Turkey, with inadequate shelter from the freezing winter conditions. The Syrian American Council calls on the U.S. administration to work with Turkey to protect civilians in Idlib from Syrian, Iranian, and Russian forces and restore humanitarian access and a lasting ceasefire, in line with UNSCR 2254.
Michelle R. Taylor