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The world looks on as Idlib burns

May 13,2019 - Last updated at May 13,2019

The UN Security Council is becoming increasingly irrelevant to international efforts to stop the killing of innocent people under any pretext, whether in Syria or elsewhere in the world.

The latest Russian "success" to abort the council's bid to issue on Friday an innocent appeal for ending the fighting in the Idlib region of Syria is a fine example of the weakening resolve of the UN to end the slaughter of innocent civilians anywhere in the world.

This latest episode was perpetrated simply because Moscow had a different vision for what is going on in the north-western part of Syria. From the perspective of Moscow and Damascus, the offensives that their combined forces have been unleashing in the area, including the use of barrel bombs on hospitals and homes of innocent civilians, is part of a campaign to end the "unfinished business" that kept part of Syria outside their control.

Hundreds of people have been killed already in the offensives and many more injured, most of them severely. Hospitals, schools, homes, etc. have been mercilessly and indiscriminately bombed by either Russian or Syrian warplanes.

The pretext is, as always, elusive and self-serving. This time, Moscow and Damascus say they are fighting to uproot, once and for all, the forces of the so-called Tahrir Al Sham extremists from the Idlib area, despite the existing truce for the region that was agreed upon by all parties, including Turkey, Russia and Syria.

The region affected is where all the anti-Syrian regime rebels have been assembled after they were soundly defeated on other fronts in the country with the consent, coordination and cooperation of interested parties, including Russia, Syria and Turkey.

The fate of some 3 million Syrians is at stake, but Moscow and Damascus do not see it that way. Geopolitical considerations, pure and simple, is all that counts for both of them, and "liberating" the Idlib area from all forces not loyal to Damascus and Moscow is all that counts for them, even if it entails the killing of thousands of innocent civilians in the process as, indeed, had happened in Aleppo nearly two years ago under the watchful eyes of the international community.

While conceding that the fate of any remaining rebel groups in Syria is a legitimate concern, it must not be done at the expense of innocent civilians. This much must be understood by all parties.

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