Turkey, Iran, Russia fail to agree on a ceasefire for Idib

Russian and Syrian jets began bombing rebel positions in Idib province today, the last stronghold of rebel opposition to the regime of Bashar Assad.  Western nations and the U.N. are warning Assad not to engage in indiscriminate slaughter as hundreds of thousands of civilians hunker down in anticipation of the onslaught.

The U.S. is strongly warning Assad not to use chemical weapons in the coming campaign and is drawing up military options to use in case the Syrian president gases his own people.

Meanwhile, a summit involving Iran, Turkey, and Russia failed to achieve a ceasefire that might have spared tens of thousands of civilians.

Reuters:

Friday's summit had focused on a looming military operation in Idlib, the last major stronghold of active opposition in Syria to the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan pushed for a ceasefire during the summit but Russian President Vladimir Putin said a truce would be pointless as it would not involve Islamist militant groups Assad and his allies deem as terrorists.

Tehran and Moscow have helped Assad turn the course of the war against an array of opponents ranging from Western-backed rebels to the Islamist militants, while Turkey is a leading opposition supporter and has troops in the country.

The United Nations fears a full-scale offensive could cause a humanitarian catastrophe involving tens of thousands of civilians.

Both the rebels and the terrorists are using civilians as human shields in Idib, but it appears that Russia and Syria will ignore the potential catastrophic loss of human life to stamp out the last major opposition to Assad's rule.

Today's air attacks are just a taste of the future:

Russian and Syrian warplanes pounded towns in Syria's opposition-held Idlib province on Saturday, a day after a summit of the presidents of Turkey, Iran and Russia failed to agree on a ceasefire that would forestall a Russian-backed offensive.

Witnesses and rescuers said at least a dozen air strikes hit a string of villages and towns in southern Idlib and the town of Latamneh in northern Hama, where rebels are still in control.

Syrian helicopters dropped so-called barrel bombs – containers filled with explosive material – on civilian homes on the outskirts of the city of Khan Sheikhoun, two residents of the area in southern Idlib said.

Three civilians were killed in the village of Abdeen in southern Idlib, a civil defense source said.

The destruction of the rebel army will not end the war.  Terrorist militias will almost certainly continue some kind of low-level insurgency against Assad, and the main rebel group will maintain control in isolated pockets of the country.

But, with the destruction of the rebels in Ibid, there will no longer be any effective opposition to Assad.  Whatever bloodbath happens in Ibid will almost certainly be matched by Assad when he takes his revenge.  That means reining in the Kurds, who have established a semi-autonomous region in the south.  The Kurds have a tough little army but are no match for Russian jets and Hezb'allah fighters.  They, too, will be conquered.

So Assad will rule the rubble of his country.  Western and Arab nations are not likely to contribute to rebuilding, so Syria will slip into the status of a failed state – a haven for terrorists who will bedevil American friends and allies in the region for decades. 

The ultimate triumph of the "Arab Spring."

Russian and Syrian jets began bombing rebel positions in Idib province today, the last stronghold of rebel opposition to the regime of Bashar Assad.  Western nations and the U.N. are warning Assad not to engage in indiscriminate slaughter as hundreds of thousands of civilians hunker down in anticipation of the onslaught.

The U.S. is strongly warning Assad not to use chemical weapons in the coming campaign and is drawing up military options to use in case the Syrian president gases his own people.

Meanwhile, a summit involving Iran, Turkey, and Russia failed to achieve a ceasefire that might have spared tens of thousands of civilians.

Reuters:

Friday's summit had focused on a looming military operation in Idlib, the last major stronghold of active opposition in Syria to the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan pushed for a ceasefire during the summit but Russian President Vladimir Putin said a truce would be pointless as it would not involve Islamist militant groups Assad and his allies deem as terrorists.

Tehran and Moscow have helped Assad turn the course of the war against an array of opponents ranging from Western-backed rebels to the Islamist militants, while Turkey is a leading opposition supporter and has troops in the country.

The United Nations fears a full-scale offensive could cause a humanitarian catastrophe involving tens of thousands of civilians.

Both the rebels and the terrorists are using civilians as human shields in Idib, but it appears that Russia and Syria will ignore the potential catastrophic loss of human life to stamp out the last major opposition to Assad's rule.

Today's air attacks are just a taste of the future:

Russian and Syrian warplanes pounded towns in Syria's opposition-held Idlib province on Saturday, a day after a summit of the presidents of Turkey, Iran and Russia failed to agree on a ceasefire that would forestall a Russian-backed offensive.

Witnesses and rescuers said at least a dozen air strikes hit a string of villages and towns in southern Idlib and the town of Latamneh in northern Hama, where rebels are still in control.

Syrian helicopters dropped so-called barrel bombs – containers filled with explosive material – on civilian homes on the outskirts of the city of Khan Sheikhoun, two residents of the area in southern Idlib said.

Three civilians were killed in the village of Abdeen in southern Idlib, a civil defense source said.

The destruction of the rebel army will not end the war.  Terrorist militias will almost certainly continue some kind of low-level insurgency against Assad, and the main rebel group will maintain control in isolated pockets of the country.

But, with the destruction of the rebels in Ibid, there will no longer be any effective opposition to Assad.  Whatever bloodbath happens in Ibid will almost certainly be matched by Assad when he takes his revenge.  That means reining in the Kurds, who have established a semi-autonomous region in the south.  The Kurds have a tough little army but are no match for Russian jets and Hezb'allah fighters.  They, too, will be conquered.

So Assad will rule the rubble of his country.  Western and Arab nations are not likely to contribute to rebuilding, so Syria will slip into the status of a failed state – a haven for terrorists who will bedevil American friends and allies in the region for decades. 

The ultimate triumph of the "Arab Spring."