The Tehran meeting yesterday brought the leaders of Turkey, Iran and Russia together. It was a chance to use diplomacy before the Syrian regime's possible operation in Idlib. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did his best to call for an immediate cease-fire for the sake of the innocent people in the region, but unfortunately the other leaders weren't as sensitive as he was, in that his call wasn't responded positively. The Russia and Iran-backed operation might cause irreversible humanitarian damage in the city and launch another big wave of refugees towards the Turkish borders.
Since the first news of a possible offensive in Idlib broke, President Erdoğan has repeatedly said any operation in the city would have catastrophic consequences.
As many of the Western countries showed insincere reactions toward the developments in Idlib, Turkey may be the only country that can play a key role here, with regards to its mission in the Astana peace process and anti-terrorist policies. It has also been the only country that provided Syrians with shelter and assistance.
For weeks now, Ankara has been telling its Russian and Iranian counterparts to stay away from creating a humanitarian crisis with a likely attack on Idlib. Given the region's demographic, it is very hard to separate the terrorists from the civilians. But whenever this difference is distinguished, the necessary actions against the terrorist groups should immediately be taken. From the chemical attacks to one of the largest exodus in modern history, the Syrian people have faced an extended period of human tragedies going back to 2011.
Meanwhile, the Western countries have mostly turned a blind eye to the suffering of the Syrian people – especially after the chemical attacks carried out by Bashar Assad. But they should now review their positions vis-a-vis the humanitarian tragedies faced by the people of Syria. The West has failed the test because of their hostility toward the region and only prolonged the Assad regime's lifespan and presented an opaque and misleading view of the situation in the Western world.
"It does not matter if the dictator used chemical weapons, but a Muslim opposition cannot be the alternative to govern the country," was the West's stance on Syria, exposing how a dangerous mindset is occupying its road map for the Middle East.
Now Idlib is quickly becoming another test for the "modern world's" conscience. May God protect all innocent civilians around the world.
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