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Odds against common sense

Sep 05,2018 - Last updated at Sep 05,2018

The battle for Idlib started when Russian warplanes showered the area on Tuesday with bombs, killing scores of people, most of whom were civilians, women and children.

The launching of the offensive against Idlib preempted the tripartite meeting between Russia, Turkey and Iran on Friday that was supposed to address the imminent confrontation over Idlib province. Moscow, it appears, has decided to preempt this meeting by setting the tone ahead of time on the battlefield.

US President Donald Trump, on the other hand, issued a "stern" warning to Russia not to use chemical weapons in its offensive on Idlib. If that is not a clear signal that all other weapons can be used, we do not know what that is. Moscow and Washington have a meeting of the mind on finishing off Al Nusra and Al Qaeda factions still deployed in the area after having been "collected" in the Idlib region.

Dislodging these common enemies, however, is not going to be easy since their number is big and they are firmly entrenched in the vast region. These realities promise a long and protracted fighting for the control of Idlib area, for which the civilian population will end up bearing the brunt of the war and paying dearly for it.

It did not escape the notice of all sides that the "terrorists" being targeted now were lured to leave their former positions in Syria only to have them reposition themselves in one corner of the country, where Damascus and its allies are expected to "finish them off", once and for all.

There is every reason to fear that the battle for Idlib is not going to be easy sailing for Damascus and its supporters. Thousands and thousands of innocent people will have to pay for this battle with their lives. Hundreds of thousands are also expected to flee the battlefield and seek sanctuary in Turkey and beyond. The onus is now on Ankara to salvage what can be salvaged in the battle for Idlib, but the odds are stacked heavily against common sense in the battle for Idlib.

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