The zero-hour has arrived in Idlib, as the long awaited military operations to clear the last remaining terrorist-controlled area in Syria has begun. It is estimated that there are 40,000 terrorists, some with their families, and they comprise many different terrorist groups, which are now aligned under one umbrella. Colonel Suheil Al-Hassan of the Tiger Forces is part of the ground forces advancing on the province, in the wake of air strikes. Idlib's population, about 2 million today, has changed since 2011.
Idlib was one of the first areas infiltrated by the Radical Islamic political ideology of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The very first murder in Idlib by the Syrian 'rebels' in 2011 was the pharmacist Dr. Samir Kanatry, who was killed and then burnt up inside his pharmacy in August 2011 at Ma’arat Numan. He was murdered because he was advocating secular values. The US-backed FSA were sectarian from the outset, and any secular political ideals were their enemy.
The majority of Syrians do not support armed revolution in order to create a new sectarian based Syrian government. The ‘rebels’ only hope was to incite a military intervention by US-NATO forces based on a fabricated story of a chemical attack. They tried this ploy repeatedly, and it never succeeded. Even aligning them with Al Qaeda didn’t work, as the FSA and Al Qaeda developed their own ‘wars’ amongst themselves.
Beginning in 2011 many residents of Idlib fled: some to Latakia as a safe-haven from the 'rebels', who by then were clearly acting as terrorists. Some of the residents of Idlib sided with the terrorists, and yet others fled to Turkey which is close by, with promises not only of safety, but financial support, and possible long term benefits from Turkish citizenship and income.
The current residents in Idlib are a very mixed bag: almost 4,000 of them are Chinese citizens. They are Uyghers from the far West of China, which is a Turkic speaking Muslim population. Pres. Erdogan of Turkey inticed them to come to Turkey on passports he had issued, and then cross the border into Syria. He supported their Jihad to Syria, and they brought parents, wives, and children and they are well-armed. Pres. Erdogan sees the Uyghurs as 'long lost cousins', sharing the same root language as modern Turkey.
The "White Helmets" are in Idlib, too. This award-winning video troupe has been evacuated from other terrorist areas which were cleared by the SAA. Why are the "White Helmets" (WH) only in areas under terrorist control? Why have we never seen any WH rescuing people in places that were targeted by the 'rebels'? Recently, a missile fell on the Palestinian refugee camp in Latakia and destroyed a home: why weren't the WH there to pull the injured from the rubble?
Raed Saleh, the main organizer of the WH recently spoke with National Public Radio in the USA, and he said, "The revolution still goes on. We have not lost. This revolution continues." He also admitted that his group still receives funding from the US government. It appears his focus is not helping to rescue people or any humanitarian project: his goal is a revolution. This proves the group is not neutral, or humanitarian.
They work strictly within a political framework that was developed by the US-NATO organizers of the destruction of Syria. The question not asked of him by NPR is: "How much support does the revolution have among the current population in Syria?" The majority of Syrian citizens who have never left Syria, and have endured 8 years of armed conflict, want peace. They want to rebuild their lives, homes, and businesses.
Russia and Turkey entered into a de-escalation agreement on Idlib last year. This agreement was supposed to entail the Al Qaeda affiliates, as well as ISIS and all other recognized terrorist groups, moving away from civilian areas, thus allowing forces to target and eliminate terrorists, while protecting innocent civilians. However, the agreement did not cause the separation of the innocent from the terrorists.
In fact, some terrorist groups fought with each other and innocent civilians were killed and injured, as well as some armed groups made new alliances that moved their designation from 'rebels' to terrorists. Many people wondered why would Russia and Turkey make a pact to safeguard and protect armed groups? Turkey has always been a supporter of the armed groups, including Al Qaeda's Syrian branch, Jibhat al Nusra, which is the leading force occupying Idlib.
Idlib residents are Americans, French, Belgian, Australian, British, North African, and Saudi Arabian. Some are Syrians but were originally from Aleppo, Deraa, Homs, East Ghouta and other locations far removed from Idlib. The Syrians living in Idlib today were mainly bussed to Idlib, as their areas fell to the SAA, and they chose to live in exile in Idlib rather than surrender and resume peaceful life.
The Western media warns of the largest humanitarian disaster waiting to happen in Idlib if the SAA and its Russian allies take the area. One wonders where the Western media was when those terrorists in Idlib shot missiles repeatedly at Kessab, Latakia, Slonfa, Hama, Aleppo, Jeblah, and M'Hardeh. Where were the cries about deaths, injuries, and loss of property such as schools, and homes in places targeted by the terrorists?
In fact, many industries which lay on the perimeter of Idlib are unable to recover or rebuild, even though peace is restored, because they live under the threat of missile and drone attacks, launched by the terrorists who are protected in Idlib. An example is Kessab, which was attacked, destroyed and occupied in March 2014 by the FSA and Al Qaeda. The Christian village is far from Idlib, yet the missiles still land there and have landed in the school while children were playing.
America and her western allies, including the Arab Gulf monarchies, have the policy to prevent Syria from peaceful recovery and rebuilding. They are demanding 'regime-change' prior to rebuilding, even though they lost the war. Once Idlib is retaken by the SAA, the US-NATO project for the "New Syria" made in their image will be declared dead.