The Turkish-backed Operation In Syria’s Idlib

On October 7, the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced that his country was carrying out an anti-terror operation in Syria’s Idlib. He explained this with such affirming words: “We won’t allow a terror corridor along our Syrian border.” In his perspective, the operation had the attempts to offer safety and security to Idlib, the northwestern province of Syria. Before this, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) backed by Turkey, was in the first line to enter the area. According to Xinhuanet, such action is based on the de-escalation zone deal, which came from the sixth round of Astana talks between Russia and Turkey, regarding the conflict in Syria.

Most of Idlib’s area is controlled by Tahrir al-Sham, a listed “terrorist” group by the United States and other nations. A Syrian rebel commander even claimed that the Turkish-backed operation was intended to drive such group from the whole province. In accordance with the Daily Mail; however, the coalition of the so-called “terrorist” group is reduced back down to Fateh al-Sham effectively, in advance of the Turkish operation. A researcher at the Turkey-based Toran Centre named Ahmed Abazeid commented on this and said, “a Turkish intervention has been on the table for a long time;” this country had been encouraging defections for the purpose of isolating the Tahrir al-Sham group associated with Jolani. To illustrate, the prominent Nureddine al-Zinki faction, as well as the elite Jaish al-Ahrar faction, abandoned Tahrir al-Sham and jumped ship. Therefore, there can be further defections from this group. Sam Heller, an expert at the Century Foundation think-tank believed that the defections can be considered to be “opportunistic in anticipation of a Turkish intervention.” Meanwhile, another expert at the Middle East Institute, Charles Lister, added that the conflict in Syria turned to a new stage since rebellion groups may see jihadists as a toxically. Nevertheless, the Tahrir al-Sham group will not surrender and tend to fight to the death with any potential intervention.

The battle between these fighting groups can last for a very long time. It seems that negotiations are the most suitable way to alleviate the problem, however, it is not that easy to reach a proper agreement among several groups and fighters. In fact, it must be taken into consideration that the civilians in Syria are the most innocent and miserable ones in this war.

It is reported by the BBC that millions of people living in Syria fled out of the country and became refugees in the neighbourhood such as Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey. Others are internally displaced within the country itself. In fact, refugees in Lebanon are even lacking some basic living conditions: they don’t have enough food, clothing, cash, possessions, and shelter, in light with the Welfare Association. In 2016, around 70% of the citizens inside Syria could not gain adequate drinking water, over 2 million children left school and four-fifths of the population there suffered from poverty.

Some form of humanitarian assistance is necessary in this context. For instance, the Welfare Association has been applied to several kinds of emergency programs in camps and gatherings for the country of Lebanon, including providing food and clothing vouchers, supplying food packages and hygiene kits, as well as offering cash assistance to newcomers and so on. However, it is hard for the internally displaced civilians to have access to life-saving aid, according to the United Nations.

It is vitally important to figure out what is needed and demanded by people outside and inside Syria. Individuals should always shoulder the responsibility for assisting these poor civilians, regardless of their social status, race, or nationality.