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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Syrian troops advance in Idlib

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

SYRIAN TROOPS, backed by Russian and Syrian war-planes, are continuing their offensive to kick the Turks and their Arab auxiliaries out of Idlib province in northern Syria. Over the past two weeks Syrian forces have liberated a number of towns and villages in the enclave that has been under Turkish occupation for over five years.

The Syrian advance has cleared the M5 motorway and allowed Aleppo airport to resume civilian flights after a seven year break. But fierce fighting continues amid reports that morale amongst those that serve the Turkish army is beginning to crack. Reports in the Arab media say that some militiamen abandoned their positions during the Syrian advance or fled to Turkey to avoid being sent to fight for the Turkish cause in Libya.

While Turkish and US troops still hold parts of northern Syria once controlled by Kurdish militias Idlib is the last stronghold of the Muslim terror gangs that were less than covertly armed by the Americans, Turkey and the feudal Arab rulers in an attempt to topple Syria’s popular front government in 2011.

Eventually the Syrian army, bolstered by Russian air-power and the support of the people’s militias and the Lebanese resistance, beat back the terror gangs and in September 2018 Russia and Turkey agreed to create a demilitarised buffer zone in the Idlib province to end the fighting. But it didn’t last. The sectarian militias, including ISIS and the Syrian wing of Al Qaida, continued to target Syrian government troops and civilians which resulted in a new offensive in the region.

This week Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that his country’s army will not take “smallest step back” in Idlib province and he’s given Syria an ultimatum to withdraw to previous positions by the end of the month or face the consequences. Scores of Turks have been killed or wounded in skirmishes with Syrian troops but whether Erdogan is prepared to escalate into all-out war is another matter altogether.

So far the Turkish government has limited its efforts to beefing up the terrorists’ lines and supplying them with artillery and ground-to-air missiles to try and contain the Syrian advance. The Turks are also appealing to their American and European NATO allies to pressurise the Russians into forcing the Syrians to end the fighting. But the Kremlin insists that the Syrian army is acting within its own territory and has every right to restore its sovereignty and quell the Islamist insurgency. The Russians also maintain that Turkey has failed to separate the ‘moderate opposition’ from the terrorists – a key provision under the 2018 Sochi accord, which set out several “de-escalation zones” across Idlib.

Meanwhile Chinese Ambassador to Cuba Chen Xi reaffirmed his country’s stance in support to Syria in its war against terrorism, underlining the necessity of respecting its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

During a visit paid by Syria’s Ambassador to Cuba Dr Idris Mayya to the Chinese Embassy in Havana, Chen lauded the advances and victories achieved by the Syrian Arab Army against terrorism in the provinces of Aleppo and Idlib.

The Chinese Ambassador said that People’s China stands by Syria in the reconstruction stage and it will provide all the possible help in this domain.

Chen expressed thanks for Syria’s stance in support of his country in the face of the coronavirus in a way that reflects the deep-rooted and strong relations binding the two friendly peoples and countries.

Ambassador Mayya, for his part, reviewed the triumphs achieved by the Syrian Arab Army in the provinces of Aleppo and Idlib, expressing appreciation at the same time for China’s stance in support of Syria at the international forums.

He said that Syria hopes that China will have an effective and significant role in the reconstruction of what has been destroyed at the hands of terrorists.