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World Needs Peace in Idlib say Medical Workers, Part 1



Unsung Heroes in Syria, Recep Erdogan and Vladimir Putin saved thousands. Parties must now respect the peace in Idlib.

That is exactly what medical workers in the city of Idlib are telling Feminine Perspective Magazine.

by Melissa Hemingway, Feminine Perspective Magazine Senior Staff Writer with Behar Abbasi currently in Yemen but based in Syria

In Part 1 Feminine Perspective Magazine recaps and updates events related to Idlib, Syria.
In Part II, tomorrow,  FPMag will have some surprising revelations about who the players are.

Looking North East to the city of Idlib in the Idlib Governorate of Syria. Photo By Jamen Schahoud

Idlib is a governorate and a city by the same name about an hour’s drive or less from Aleppo. When troops loyal to Bashar al Assad overwhelmed the Syrian rebels who held Aleppo, the fighters fled south to Idlib.

“From my memory of events,” says writer and nurse Behar Abbasi, “dealing with this massive buildup of mixed fighters and small arms, Russia and Turkey sought to create a cease-fire zone in Idlib governorate, in order to contain the area and allow the Russians to negotiate with fighters near Damascus telling them, an invasion is about to happen but if you wish to leave you may leave your weapons and take your families to the cease-fire zone in Idlib. It worked like a miracle. That’s the best capsule version of events from my memory and how people I see everyday think about this.”

Angela Merkel (Germany), Vladimir Putin (Russia), Recep Erdogan (Turkey), and Emmanuel Macron (France) at the Summit for Syria in Istanbul on 27 October. Photo Credit: Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik

Recent Background of Troubled Times of Idlib

Following the failure of a summit in early September,  nobody saw peace as possible but Messrs. Erdogan and Putin persisted in their efforts after Tehran kyboshed a September 7 deal proposal. This was horrible say two nurses who were in eastern Ghouta when Syrian bombing scared thousands of people to flee to Idlib just weeks before Syria began threatening to invade the cease-fire region which has become the last and only safe place for civilians to flee to safety.

The fate of Idlib seemed so gloomy that Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations’ Syria envoy asked at the UN Security Council meeting for the establishment of UN-monitored evacuation corridors for Idlib’s civilians to voluntarily leave the Idlib governorate and yes, people began to flee. Hundreds if not thousands were seen leaving the city in packed vehicles say RINJ Foundation nurses and medical workers who live and work in or near the city.

Additional background reading:

2018/09/07 T 17:50Z   Trilateral Summit Fails to Agree on cease fire.
You can read the details here: (Trilateral Summit in Tehran Fails to Achieve Cease Fire)

Trilateral Summit Fails to Achieve Cease Fire. Photo: Handout of Trilateral Summit Commemorative Plate

 

Then Came an Historic Moment: Peacemakers create 15-20 Kilometers wide Demilitarized Zone around Idlib by Oct. 15

You can read the details:(Take Note USA/Iran: Erdogan-Putin Teamwork Accolades)

Recep Erdogan and Vladimir Putin looking deservedly proud as they conclude a memorandum of understanding for Idlib in Sochi, a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, located on the Black Sea coast near the border between Georgia/Abkhazia and Russia. Photo Credit: Reuters Pool

Today in Idlib

Turkey Hosts Vast Number of Refugees as Some Go Home To Idlib

In 2018, Turkey has hosted some 4 million refugees from Syria. This is the lion’s share of Syrians who fled their country since war began in 2011.

Today a large number of refugees leaving Turkey using the Cilvegözü border gate in Turkey’s southern province of Hatay are arriving home to Idlib governorate.

Unpacking belongings and reopening their boarded up home a family told a RINJ clinic medical worker/EMS driver that back in Turkey in the refugee camps there is widespread hope for safety and peace in Idlib. This hope they say is partly because of a May 2017  neutrality agreement for Idlib between Turkey, Russia and Iran in alliance with Syria’s Assad regime but when that was enforced mid-September 2018 people seriously began to believe the region is safe.

The 15 October milestones were reached successfully in the ceasefire brokered by Recep Erdogan and Vladimir Putin.

Turkey’s Demirören News Agency reports that some 64,000 refugees in Syria have returned home to Idlib in an exodus that began slowly in May or June.  Photo Credit: Behar Abbasi

Who is who? A Recap and Update

Syria’s Assad Regime is backed by Russia and Iran. Turkey is backing a group of Syrian opposition members opposed to the Assad Regime. That makes Turkey a benefactor of the general Idlib citizenry. But Turkey has common opponents with Russia, Iran and Syria: mostly Islamic State terrorists types.

Because of this complexity, all parties have a vested interest in compelling the Idlib region to be disarmed in a peaceful manner. Russia and Turkey are the only outsiders that have worked diligently on achieving this goal, think the people of Idlib city, according to a recent straw poll conducted by Civil Society members.

Turkey has one of the largest armies in the world and is not to be taken lightly as a military force in the region. The same is true of Russia, but it is far away.

The city of Idlib is controlled by opposition political voices and a plethora of militant forces which all are opposed to the rule of the ruthless Bashar al-Assad.

From Yemen, Behar Abbasi recalls from memory that Bashar al Assad “who in 2011 had set upon peaceful demonstrations with extreme violence and who has been proven to use chemical weapons of mass destruction against civilians will likely never be accepted as a leader by the politicians of the deposed opposition parties that now control Idlib.”

But according to security expert Simon Baldock, who works for a private security protection group in Syria, Idlib is made up of millions of indigenous and internally displaced civilians and hundreds of thousands of armed militants from a dozen or more jihadists or regional militias, “about 2.7 to 3 million people in a fluctuating total”, says Baldock.

Bashar al Assad suddenly Raises Spectre of Immediate Invasion

In a sudden and surprising development, Syria’s flailing leader Bashar al-Assad is claiming that Recep Erdogan’s side is not holding up the Idlib agreement that Syria acquiesced to on September 18.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said in comments reported by Reuters late on Monday that Turkey appeared unwilling to implement the deal that was made mid September.

“The terrorists still exist with their heavy arms in this region and this is an indicator of Turkey’s unwillingness to fulfill its obligations,” Moualem said according to the official Syrian news agency SANA.

Vladimir Putin said on Sunday in Istanbul told the world that the Turkish side had been fully upholding its part of the Idlib accord, thus contradicting Assad’s claims and hopefully calming Damascus.

In Part II of this series we will report on the global concerns of Civil Society and the make-up of the players in Idlib who have no valid goals and no interests other than creating mayhem.