Flashpoint: Major Offensive Begins at Idlib – Trump’s Warning

 In Foreign

While Americans are watching the Kavanaugh/Congressional circus in DC, Syria is on the edge of a major conflict. “A grave humanitarian mistake” the President tweeted when he warned Syria, Russia, and Iran not to launch an offensive against Idlib in Syria. But it appears they have done so. At least twenty-six airstrikes on Sept 4 were said to have killed numerous civilians. They are expecting a major ground offensive very soon.

Flashpoint

A major offensive began in a portion of Syria where civilian refugees from the fighting in other places had gone for a safe-haven. So the President issued a warning, as did the UN.

Map via Al Jazeera

Syria views Idlib has a hotbed of terrorism, primarily for the rebels and al-Qaeda forces there. But there are approximately 2.9 million people also there who fled from other parts of Syria. Trump’s warning is playing as solidarity with Al-Qaeda, rather than a concern over civilians.

The US has been allied with the SDF- Syrian Defense Forces, which are made up of several anti-Assad rebel groups. There are approximately 2,000 US troops in Syria. The Assad vow to take out the rebels could endanger US troops.

Russia says it “surrounded Syria” with its naval forces (25 vessels) in recent days saying that they were military “exercises” – the largest seen since the Cold War.

Iran says it is going to remove rebel forces with the least civilian casualties possible. Supposedly, leaders of Iran, Russia, and Syria are to meet in Iran on Sept 7, according to Al Jazeera.

Assad is bound and determined to “liberate” the entire country so that it falls under his control. The combination of Russia, Iran, and Assad’s forces could spark a larger conflict witht he United States and coalition partners. They have been actively attempting to cause the rebel groups to disassociate with the US and join the Syrian government (where they would likely be killed).

And so you have a flashpoint. With wacked out propaganda free-flowing between the Assad regime and the West, things have come to a precipice from which one side or the other may drop off:

Featured photo: airstrike in Idlib, Sept 4, 2018 via Twitter

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