Bombarded by Putin
World leaders have been unwilling to intervene to stop Russian leader from bombing civilians in Syria, but their successors may be ready to change it
Ahmed was born in the Syrian province of Idlib. In 2010, he graduated from the University of Istanbul as pediatrist. Since childhood, his dream was to be a family doctor. Two years after he returned from Turkey to his homeland devastated by the war, he had to forget his plans. Like thousands of his colleagues, he had to be a doctor of every specialisation.
Hundreds of thousands of the severely wounded pulled out of ruble required intervention of a surgeon, optometrist, cardiologist or neurologist. He had to learn to be all of them. Half a year later, he became one of the supervisors of the regional hospital with 200 beds. The beds were spread out in five different locations due to heighten security for the patients.
A trip outside created a danger to the medical staff.Nobody knew when the artillery shelling might occur.
The attackers targeted vans with the red cross, particularly intensively. Many doctors and nurses were killed in the ambulances. After Ahmed's colleagues died in the bombardment by the Russian airforces, he took full responsibility for his hospital.
Two weeks ago Ahmed returned from Idlib to one of the towns to Turkey for the medical supplies to his hospital. About seventy hospitals have closed because of bombing by the Russian and Syria’s air force. From December, both allied armies have been targeting specifically hospitals and medical centres in hope to kill off the rebels. Instead, tens of thousands injured civilians, and the medical staff died. A few field hospitals are still open despite shortages of staff and supplies. Ahmed had to keep the location of their hospitals secret, fearing they may be targeted next.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians in Idlib province are scrambling to escape a widening, multi-front offensive by Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces. The scale of the likely humanitarian crisis surpasses the latest great wave of the immigrants to Europe in 2016.
900,000 Syrians are displaced
More people have fled fighting in Syria over the past 10 weeks than at any other time in the 9-year-old conflict and the city of Idlib, where many are sheltering, could become a graveyard if hostilities continue, two U.N. agencies said on Tuesday.
“People here have little hope and everyone has started to head toward the border, fearful of the (Assad regime) advance,” said Ismail Shahine, 37, originally displaced six years earlier from the Hama countryside. “What matters is today around 1 million people from Idlib have been moving towards our border," Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement Saturday after a phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump in which they discussed Syria and other topics. “We are already hosting 3.5-4 million people. Unfortunately we are not in a position of accepting this another 1 million.” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated after meeting his German counterpart that 2 million people could head for Turkey's border with Syria if no cease-fire is achieved.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he pushed Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for Russia to lean on Assad's government to stop the fighting. “We are very worried that this is going become a humanitarian catastrophe if the fighting there doesn’t stop,” he admitted. But for now, his appeal left without an answer.
Putin will continue his offensive in Idlib
The Russian foreign minister told that parts of Idlib remain “one of the last hotbeds of terrorism, at least the only one on the west bank of the Euphrates.” "These agreements do not mean the hard fighting against the terrorist the threat will stop,” he stated.
Russia was not willing to prematurely suspend the air operations, Russian leader Vladimir Putin suggested. It is an open secret that Russia is paying a high bill for the expenses in Syria’s war. According to the independent observers, Moscow could spend nearly half of its defence budget to support the Assad regime.
Backed by heavy Russian airpower, Syrian government forces have stepped up a campaign to retake regions of Aleppo and Idlib, sparking an exodus of nearly a million people toward a shrinking pocket along the Turkish frontier. On Monday, Russian and Syrian warplanes continued to pound eastern and southern areas of Idlib province, according to the Syrian Observatory, a war monitor, and witnesses.
World leaders have no illusions that Putin will continue his offensive in Idlib as he ignored calls for ceasefire and access to the humanitarian help. Current politicians seem to be unwilling to intervene.
The hope is that future leaders will put an end to this paralysis. “It is not enough the EU condemns these war crimes”, stated leading German politician from Christian Democrat Party Mr Norbert Röttgen “The humanitarian disaster unfolding in Idlib must have consequences”. As a popular Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the German Parliament Bundestag Mr Röttgen is a likely successor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.