US hypocritical stance towards successful operation in Idlib is unsurprising: Russian MOD
[ Editor’s Note: One could begin for thinking the Pompeo statement was a spoof, but unfortunately not. This is really how the top graduate of his 1986 West Point class views the Idlib battle.
On a more formal note, with the US allegedly supposed to be involved in a counter-terrorism campaign, one could view his remarks as provide aid and comfort to the enemy, something that was illegal last time I looked at the statutes.
The US-backed jihadis have broken so many ceasefires it would take a PhD. dissertation effort just to compile them all. How sad that Americans should have to read such drivel from a sitting Secretary of State who sounds like someone commenting from a dementia facility.
With Turkey shifting his throwaway proxy troops into Libya now with his eye seemingly on a dream, or hallucination, of gas field riches in the Mediterranean in a joint economic zone grab that would extend from Turkey to Libya, with Mr. Erdogan the new toll gatekeeper.
We now have a political circus going on before our eyes as to which Western leader can play the biggest fool. You just can’t make this stuff up… Jim W. Dean ]
– First published … January 30, 2020 –
On January 27th, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Russian, Iran and the Syrian government to halt their offensive on Idlib. In his statement, Pompeo said that the US was concerned about the situation in the area.
According to him, the military assault is causing a humanitarian crisis affecting “hundreds of thousands” of civilians in Idlib Province, the last rebel stronghold where millions have taken refuge after fleeing other parts of Syria during its nearly nine-year civil war.
“The destabilizing actions of Russia, the Iranian regime, Hizballah, and the Assad regime are directly preventing the establishment of a ceasefire in northern Syria, as called for in UNSCR 2254, and the safe return of hundreds of thousands of displaced persons in northern Syria to their homes.”
He alleged that the Russian, Syrian and Iranian forces were directly targeting civilians and not armed terrorists. And as has become customary, the US threatened to impose heavy sanctions on President Bashar al-Assad’s government.
“The United States condemns these unjustifiable attacks against the people of northwest Syria. We call for an immediate ceasefire and full access to the affected areas by humanitarian organizations to alleviate the suffering of the hundreds of thousands that have fled the incessant bombing.
The United States is prepared to take the strongest diplomatic and economic actions against the Assad regime and any state or individual that aids its brutal agenda.”
In response, the Russian Ministry of Defense said that it “wasn’t surprised by the hypocrisy” of Mike Pompeo.
The spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, General Major Igor Konashenkov expressed that view.
“Over the entire period of Russia’s active confrontation with international terrorism in Syria, there has not been a single public statement by the US Department of State in support of this fight.
Moreover, all the State Department’s teachings on Syria and “concern” about the alleged suffering of “civilians” are published exclusively at the time of the crushing defeat of terrorists and the long-awaited release of peaceful Syrians,” he said.
He further said that US State Department silently supported the offensive operations from the Idlib de-escalation zone, by those same “innocent civilians,” who somehow have artillery and armored vehicles, and are part of the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.
“Against this background, the State Department’s silent support of the powerful and coordinated offensive from the Idlib de-escalation zone of large forces called by M. Pompeo “innocent civilians” with artillery and armored vehicles belonging to the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda – “Jahgat al-Nusra” was not surprising.”
He underlined the success of the anti-terror operation in Idlib:
“As of the morning of January 29, as a result of defensive actions and a counteroffensive by the Syrian government forces on the border of the Idlib de-exclusion zone, 8 “innocent” tanks, more than 15 “innocent” infantry fighting vehicles, 49 “innocent” cars with large-caliber weapons were destroyed and, many “innocent” Jihadists were captured, 4 “innocent” shock UAVs and dozens of artillery pieces of various calibers …
With similar hypocritical tweets, the US State Department released statements praising the US bombardment of Raqqah. In contrast, the Syrians independently establish peaceful life in Syria, Aleppo, Palmyra, Hama, Homs, Duma, Derya, Suweide, Kuneitra, Deir Ez-Zor.”
Konashenkov concluded by saying that it was precisely the US State Department and the US who were the principal propagator of the difficulties in restoring peaceful life in Syria.
“The reason for the main difficulties in restoring peaceful life by the Syrians is precisely the State Department, which does not disdain anything to implement the most severe sanctions that block any food, medical, clothing and financial assistance to truly innocent peaceful Syrians in the territory of their country freed from terrorists.”
Idlib militants seem to be in disarray amid the developing advance of the Syrian Army. Since the liberation of Maarat al-Numan, government forces have achieved several important breakthroughs on the frontline in southeastern Idlib and southwestern Aleppo.
The army has liberated the villages of al-Qahira, al-Jaradah, Khan Assubul, Maarrat Dibsah and Ain Halbane, all located on the M5 highway north of Maartan al-Numan. Near Aleppo city, government forces have liberated Tell Maher, Tell Abiad, Tell al-Zaitoun, Tell al-Mahruqat, Jurf al-Sakhr, the Rashidin 5 neighborhood and one of the key militant strongpoints – Khan Tuman.
Most of these areas were liberated without significant resistance from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) or the Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation. Despite this, according to pro-opposition sources, up to 200 militants have been killed or wounded in clashes with the Syrian Army.
The setbacks of al-Qaeda-backed militants and their pro-Turkish allies have caused discontent in Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that Russia “hasn’t abided by either the Astana or the Sochi agreements.”
“We have waited until now, but from this point, we are going to take our own actions. This is not a threat but our expectation is that Russia will give the regime the necessary warning,” the President said.
The main point of contradictions between Turkey and the Syrian-Russian-Iranian alliance is the fighting of terrorism and the separation of opposition groups from terrorist groups like Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Ankara does not want or just cannot separate its proxies in Idlib from al-Qaeda. So, it sees anti-terrorism efforts by the Syrian-Russian-Iranian alliance as a threat to its own interests and influence.
On January 29, reports appeared that Syrian government forces had shelled a Turkish military convoy west of Aleppo city. According to photos that appeared online, the shelling destroyed at least one vehicle. However, it remains unclear if it belonged to the Turkish Army. Turkish military convoys moving through Idlib often include members and equipment of Turkish-backed militant groups. So, one of these vehicles may have become a target of the Syrian strike. This would explain the lack of reaction from the Turkish Defense Ministry.
Currently, the advance of government forces seems to be focused on the M5 highway area. The army and its allies exploit the internal contradictions among Idlib militant groups who have failed to cooperate properly to set up strong defenses deep inside the region. It is no secret that mighty Idlib fighters prefer taking selfies to dig trenches.