Syria – fate of millions hangs in balance

 

Sir, – Your report “Syrian and Russian warplanes pound Idlib province before talks” (World News, September 4th) was chilling because it was stated that reports suggest the Assad regime had set the deadline of September 10th for diplomacy to work, with the clear inference if it did not work a civilian bloodbath would ensue.

Rarely if ever in history has a potential genocidal style assault on a large civilian population been so well posted, and alarmingly accompanied by so little if any international action to stop it.

All the more shocking with probably over three million civilians in Idlib, including at least one million children, half of whom have fled slaughter elsewhere multiple times before reaching the supposed place of safety guaranteed by Russia as a “de-escalation zone”.

The Syrian regime and its allies Russia and Iran have been accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity consistently by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and many other independent NGO and UN agencies, for their scorched-earth “war”, which always seems directly targeted at civilians, with the bombing of hospitals, schools, bread queues, and camps for internally displaced.

Meanwhile, the Syrian regime has grown even more repressive, as recent statements by Assad’s air force intelligence chief Jamil al-Hassan make very clear. Speaking to a group of 33 senior officers he reportedly said: “A Syria with 10 million trustworthy people obedient to the leadership is better than a Syria with 30 million vandals . . . After eight years, Syria will not accept the presence of cancerous cells and they will be removed completely.”

Worse still he stated that three million Syrians are on his wanted lists and that anyone deemed a “hindrance” to the regime’s consolidation of power would be labelled a “terrorist” and dealt with accordingly. In Syria, a “wanted list” is usually a “death list.”

We have an opportunity if we protest immediately to stop the Idlib attack, especially if we press the EU to act against Russia and Iran to halt the Idlib attack because the Syrian regime would fold without Moscow’s support. – Yours, etc,

RONAN L TYNAN,

Dublin 3.