These days, the fate of several million people who are in desperation at the Syrian-Turkish border is decided. Any reaction to the current escalation in Syria must, first of all, keep an eye on the fate of the Idlib war refugees.
For months, the army of the Syrian dictator Assad has been driving people away to conquer the country’s last rebel area. One place after the other is flattened and conquered with the help of Russia’s Air Force, mostly as a deserted field of rubble. Nobody welcomes Assad’s Soldateska as a liberator. People flee from her until the Turkish border ends. The Syrian dictator has made no secret of the fact that he wants to take back the whole country by force – and anyone who has ever risen against him or even lived under rebel rule will be cruelly punished. There is no peace for Syrians under Assad.
Nobody in the world has raised a finger to stop this extermination campaign – until now. In response to its own losses, the Turkish army is seriously attacking the Syrian military infrastructure for the first time. Finally, someone stops Assad’s murder machine – and Turkey also shows how weak the Syrian regime actually is. Assad throws teenagers to the front and is helpless without Russian fighting power.
Of course, Turkish President Erdogan does not act out of selfless motives, but out of political power. But that doesn’t change the result. Every day that Syrian and Russian bombers stay on the ground and every kilometer that Turkish soldiers make up with their Syrian allies saves lives in Idlib.
From Europe and especially in parts of left-wing politics, this is blocked by the antipathy against Erdogan. One does not analyze political options under the question of whether they benefit the Syrians, but whether they use Erdogan. From this perspective, doing nothing is considered wise. You hide behind the talk of “Islamists” to delegitimize the defense in Idlib and behind your own border fences so that you don’t have to touch human misery.
If you find Erdogan so bad, why do you leave him to protect the people in Idlib? It would be better if Europe and NATO put themselves at the forefront of protecting Syrians. Cooperation with Russia is not impossible; they already existed in the area of the Syrian Kurds. The West could have taken the initiative years ago. But it’s not too late yet.