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New Year’s in Idlib!

New Year’s in Idlib!

Sunday, 29 December, 2019 - 09:00

For four years, Syria’s Idlib has not celebrated a new year. Years there don’t change. Every year is the same as the last. Anything “new” has been seen before, but it now takes on a more gruesome form. This is the only new thing to take place in the region. The people there have seen the same cycle of violence, deceit and suffering over and over again.

One and half million people living in Idlib are enduring what can be almost described as genocide. It is taking place in phases, but still happening. Those exposed to hunger, subject to displacement and left to suffer in freezing temperatures belong to the whole of Syria. They had initially been pushed into that northern province to escape death, starvation and attacks. They have overlooked the fact that they will be used as pawns and negotiations chips for those calling the shots in Syria.

All this is taking place in front of the entire world. Technology may have bridged distances across the globe, but Idlib still remains very far away from us. It has been abandoned to weak blatant political excuses uttered by the “pragmatic” purveyors of death: Isn’t it time to get rid of terrorism and al-Nusra Front? Isn’t it time for Bashar Assad to extend his national authority over all Syrian territories? And, of course, isn’t it fair, or rather progressive, for the allies Vladimir Putin and Ali Khamenei to claim strategic positions against Donald Trump?

Hospitals, schools and houses are being bombed in Idlib. Those running away from death only carry very few possessions that they have collected throughout years of poverty. They are targeted by Russian and Syrian jets and barrels bombs. And the world? Since the eruption of the Syrian revolt and until this day, Russia has exercised its veto 14 times at the UN Security Council. The latest of which was its veto against aid delivery to Idlib.

Those fleeing to the north are met with shut Turkish gates. Recep Tayyip Erdogan only cares about Arab “fraternity” when it concerns defeating the Kurdish “brothers.” In order to continue his Peace Spring Operation, he has set his sights on Libya to determine the fate of Syria, taking it towards de-escalation or further escalation. Truces are followed with fighting or fighting is followed with truces. In the meantime, it is okay to blackmail the Europeans by threatening to open the floodgates to more refugees: The barbarians are coming.

The displaced departed from Maaret al-Numan. They were the first to flee because the attack targeted them first. Syrian journalist Ahmed al-Ahmed quoted “Siham”, another journalist who lived in Maaret al-Numan not too long ago: “Displacement is a luxury for civilians there. Those who have a vehicle to flee with their family are considered lucky.” Some families are striving to flee, but they have so far failed because they don’t have the means of transportation, she added.

Comparing the situation to previous waves of displacement in other parts of the country, Syrian writer Bakr Sadqi said that eastern Aleppo or eastern Ghouta, for example, did not witness a return of displaced due to regime pressure. Moreover, several displaced do not want to return to the hell of the Assad nation. Their replacement could be people who meet the sectarian, civil and political requirements. This hinges however, on rebuilding the destroyed areas to make them livable. This demands major resources that the crisis-hit regime currently lacks. The same applies to its Russian and Iranian allies.

Who knows, maybe upcoming evil man-made geological shifts could achieve what nature has failed to. Perhaps tons of Arabs could be shifted to Kurdish regions and we can sit back and watch as they fight for power.

Idlib today represents the impossible task of building a nation and uniting a people. It also reflects the world’s cold shoulder to the Syrian plight. As the new year approaches, we should hang our heads in shame against such shortcomings.

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