For a decade, the Syrian people have born the heaviest burden of civil war on their weakening shoulders. In the midst of atrocities committed by various parties of the ongoing crisis, the Syrian people struggle to overcome one of the darkest phases of their history.
During the course of the Syrian civil war, hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians have been killed. Almost half of the Syrian population migrated to foreign countries where most of them live in inhumane conditions.
Running from the atrocities committed by the Assad regime, more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees have taken shelter in Turkey. After completing a toilsome and dangerous journey toward the Turkish border, these refugees have dispersed across Turkey's provinces. Despite the hospitality and generosity of our people and the state, they have been struggling to live in a foreign country.
Meanwhile, approximately 1 million Syrian refugees have migrated to countries in the European Union. In their desperate attempt to migrate to Greece and Italy by crossing the Mediterranean, thousands of refugees have drowned. While corpses washed up on the shores of the Aegean and the Mediterranean seas, humanity remained silent.
Being the erstwhile champions of human rights, the countries of the EU have exposed their incapacity and unwillingness to end the Syrian civil war by working toward a resolution to the Syrian crisis. The Syrian civil war has undoubtedly exposed the political poverty of Europe.
Idlib is now at the center of the ongoing humanitarian tragedy in Syria. It is estimated that the population of the province has reached 3 million. All oppositional political groups and terrorist groups have been forced to reside in Idlib. The number of fighters from radical groups is estimated to be 20,000. It is claimed that these groups, which had formerly operated with al-Qaida and al-Nusra, are currently fighting under the banner of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.
From the perspective of Syria, Iran and Russia, the concept of human rights is null and void. If you oppose the Syrian regime, it doesn't matter whether you are civilians or fighters. Barrel bombs are being dropped on schools and hospitals. In these atrocious bombings, thousands of civilians were killed and tens of thousands were maimed.
Turkey does not have the capacity to host yet another million Syrian refugees in the country. As the European countries have been reluctant to receive a new wave of Syrian refugees, Syrian people have no other choice but to stay in their own country.
During the course of the Syrian civil war, the Assad regime attempted to capture the province of Idlib twice. Thanks to the consensus reached between Turkey and Russia, a buffer zone was created in Idlib between the regime forces and the oppositional armed groups. Through a network of observation posts, Turkey agreed to ensure the maintenance of a de-escalation zone in the region.
Turkey, Russia and Iran take their position in favor of protecting Syria's territorial integrity and establishing political stability in the country. Yet, the recent attacks of the Syrian regime on Idlib cripple the goal of restoring the Syrian unitary state. Instead of forcing 3 million civilians to migrate toward the Turkish border, the Syrian regime could have used international aid to cope with the radical groups in Idlib. They must immediately stop shedding civilian blood and begin to act like a legitimate state, not like a terrorist organization.