Russia’s Responsibility in the Syrian Reconquest of Idlib

Ken Roth at the website of Human Rights Watch:

The endgame of the war in Syria is likely to come down to the northwestern province of Idlib, on the Turkish border, where some 2.3 million people are now trapped. As Russian-Syrian forces now finish retaking the smaller southwestern province of Daraa, Idlib will be the last significant enclave in anti-government hands. If Russian-Syrian forces resume pummeling the city and surrounding area from the air, its civilians could face the horrible choice of bunkering in place or desperately trying to cross the Turkish border, which has been effectively closed since 2015.

Recently, however, there is some evidence that Russia might be willing to act more constructively. Russian officials have been seeking reconstruction aid for Syria from Western donors. According to sources close to United Nations-brokered negotiations among the parties to the Syrian conflict, Russia has floated the idea of stopping the military advance on Idlib, and perhaps handing over to Turkey a degree of control similar to that now exercised by Turkey over the neighboring region of Afrin, in return for a major Western commitment to help reconstruct Syria’s devastated cities and infrastructure. That may give the West new leverage to stop the atrocities taking place in Syria. The question is how to use it.

More here.