Is there still a solution for the Syrian Idlib without too many victims?

km. Current military actions and statements suggest that an attack by Syrian troops – together with armed forces from Russia and Iran – on the northern Syrian city of Idlib is imminent. At the meeting of the presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey in Tehran on 7 September 2018, there was a joint final declaration (see box) and also a joint criticism of the USA’s previous Syria policy, but the Turkish president did not agree to the planned attack on Idlib. The situation in Idlib is extremely complex. First, according to corresponding statements from East and West, there are many thousands of fighters in Idlib who are also assigned to terrorist groups on the Western side. Secondly, there are many civilians in the city and region who would most probably be affected by a military action. Many of them will want to flee the city and the region. Thirdly, the fighters in Idlib are trying to persuade NATO and above all the US to intervene militarily on their side – and even the forces in the NATO states, which do not want to admit their defeat in Syria, are pushing their forces to intervene massively. And now the German Ministry of Defense has also anonced its readyness for war. If one believes reports from the Russian side, there is evidence that a chemical attack on Idlib is being staged and that the Syrian armed forces are to be held responsible so that exactly this intervention can take place – which can plunge the world into a great war. Already bevorehand, these Russian reports are called false reports by the West. The following text was written by the Russian news agency Sputnik:
At a meeting in Idlib, terrorist groups and “White Helmets” have approved scenarios for shooting the staged “incidents” with alleged use of toxins by Syrian troops. This was explained on Saturday by the official spokesman of the Russian Ministry of Defence, Major General Igor Konashenkov.
“According to the irrefutable information available to the Russian Ministry of Defence, the leaders of the groups Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (Jebhat al-Nusra) and Hizb At-Turkestan Al-Islami (Turkestan Islamic Party), with the participation of the local coordinators of the Syrian Civil Defence (White Helmets), met on 7 September in the town of Idlib in a terrorist command post located in the ‘Al-Vachda’ school area”, Konashenkov said.
“At the meeting, the scenarios for filming the ‘incidents’ with alleged use of poison by Syrian government troops against civilians in the cities of Jisr al-Shughur, Saraqib, Taftanaz and Sarmin were finally agreed and approved”, he stressed.
The preparation of provocations with C-weapons in Idlib should be completed by the evening of 8 September. A signal for the beginning of the provocation should be a special order from some “foreign friends of the Syrian revolution”, Konashenkov said.
At the end of August Konashenkov had declared that terrorists of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham would prepare a provocation. This was to accuse Damascus of using chemical weapons against civilians in the Syrian province of Idlib, which could then serve as a pretext for an attack on government objects in Syria by the US and its allies. For this purpose, said Konaschenkow, a US destroyer with 56 cruise missiles on board had arrived in the Persian Gulf and a type B-1B bomber had been transferred to the military base Al-Udeid in Qatar.
The White Helmets introduce themselves as protectors of the civilian population in Syria without a political agenda. However, the organisation is accused of distributing staged videos from Syria: Syrian journalists, for example, have shown several photos showing the “rescue forces” with weapons and in military uniforms. The Russian Foreign Ministry described the activity of the White Helmets as part of the smear campaign against the Syrian government.    •

Source: https://de.sputniknews.com/politik/ 20180908322253613-idlib-terroristen-weisshelme/ from 8.9.2018

(Translation Current Concerns)

Joint Statement by the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the President of the Russian Federation and the President of the Republic of Turkey

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran H.E. Hassan Rouhani, President of the Russian Federation H.E. Vladimir Putin and President of the Republic of Turkey H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdogan gathered in Tehran on 7 September 2018 for a Tripartite Summit.

The Presidents:

  1. Expressed their satisfaction with the achievements of the Astana format since January 2017, in particular, the progress made in reducing violence across the Syrian Arab Republic and contributing to peace, security and stability in the country.
  2. Emphasized their strong and continued commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic as well as to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and highlighted that they should be respected by all. They reiterated that no actions, no matter by whom they were undertaken, should undermine these principles. They rejected all attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of combating terrorism and expressed their determination to stand against separatist agendas aimed at undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria as well as the national security of neighboring countries.
  3. Discussed the current situation on the ground, took stock of the developments regarding the Syrian Arab Republic following their last meeting in Ankara on 4 April 2018 and agreed to continue trilateral coordination in accordance with their agreements. In this regard, they took up the situation in Idlib de-escalation area and decided to address it in line with the above-mentioned principles and the spirit of cooperation that characterized the Astana format.
  4. Reaffirmed their determination to continue cooperation in order to ultimately eliminate DAESH/ISIL, Al-Nusra Front and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaeda or DAESH/ISIL, as they have been designated as terrorists by the UN Security Council. They underlined that, in the fight against terrorism, separation between the above-mentioned terrorist groups and the armed opposition groups that had joined or would join the ceasefire regime, would be of utmost importance including with respect to preventing civilian casualties.
  5. Reaffirmed their conviction that there could be no military solution to the Syrian conflict and that it could only end through a negotiated political process. They reaffirmed their determination to continue active cooperation with a view to advancing the political process in consistence with the decisions of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi and the UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
  6. Reaffirmed their resolve to continue joint efforts aimed at advancing the Syrian‑led and Syrian-owned process for reaching a political settlement and reiterated their commitment to help establish and launch the work of the Constitutional Committee. They expressed their satisfaction with the useful consultations between their senior officials and the United Nations Secretary‑General’s Special Envoy for Syria.
  7. Emphasized the need to support all efforts to help all Syrians restore their normal and peaceful life and to alleviate their sufferings. In this regard, they called upon the international community, particularly the United Nations and its humanitarian agencies, to increase their assistance to Syria by providing additional humanitarian aid, facilitating humanitarian mine action, restoring basic infrastructure assets, including social and economic facilities, and preserving historical heritage.
  8. Reaffirmed their determination to continue joint efforts aimed at protecting civilians and improving the humanitarian situation via facilitating rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to all Syrians in need.
  9. Highlighted the need to create conditions for the safe and voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their original places of residence in Syria. To this end, they  emphasized the necessity of coordination among all relevant parties, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other specialized international agencies. They agreed to consider the idea of convening an international conference on Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).
  10. Welcomed the progress of the work of the Working Group on the release of detainees/abductees and handover of the bodies as well as the identification of the missing persons, as undertaken with the participation of the UN and ICRC experts.
  11. Decided to hold their next meeting in the Russian Federation upon the invitation of the President of the Russian Federation H.E. Vladimir Putin.
  12. The Presidents of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey expressed their sincere gratitude to the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran H.E. Hassan Rouhani for hosting the Tripartite Summit in Tehran.

Source: www.en.kremlin.ru/supplement/5337 from 7 September 2018