The success of the current Syrian government operations against al-Qaeda in Idleb governorate can be measured by the volume of U.S. propaganda against it. A similar situation occurred when Aleppo was liberated from al-Qaeda’s control. Certain U.S. media, (non-)government-organizations and politicians obviously prefer Takfiri al-Qaeda rule in Syria over control by the legitimated secular government.
According to the various streams of such propaganda Idleb is crowded with hospitals, bakeries and little children who all get “barrel bombed” by the nefarious Iranians and Russians while no Takfiri militant can ever be seen.
Amnesty International @amnesty – 3:41 PM – 12 Jan 2018
We’re outraged by the attacks on civilians in #Idlib governorate which hosts thousands of internally displaced people from across #Syria. They now have nowhere else to flee to anymore.
The tweet is decorated with a picture of al-Qaeda’s first aid mercenaries, the White Helmets, who are paid by the British and other governments and receive propaganda cover from British media.
The overpaid (more than $450,000 pa) eternal leader of Human Rights Watch, Ken Roth chips in:
Kenneth Roth @KenRoth – 11:47 PM – 12 Jan 2018
Putin-Assad fooled Great Negotiator Trump into believing Syrian “de-escalation zone” would mean a halt in attacks on civilians rather than just a lull to regroup.
Roth links to a Washington Post editorial which finds that fighting al-Qaeda in Idleb is not in the interest of the United States:
[Trump officials] are playing down the Idlib fighting on the grounds that the area is dominated by al-Qaeda-linked rebel groups.
While extremist groups control a large part of Idlib, Turkey says moderate Free Syrian Army units are involved in the fighting – an assertion that we also heard from several FSA leaders now visiting Washington.
[I]f the offensive is successful, the result will be the further entrenchment in Syria of not just Russia but also Iran, the Assad regime’s closest ally.
The United States, in short, stands to lose – again – to Russia in Syria.
The Washington Post bureau chief in Beirut adds her half cent by lauding a propagandist for the al-Qaeda death-cult in Idleb as “brave journalist”:
Liz Sly @LizSly – 9:06 PM – 11 Jan 2018
This Syrian journalist, standing in an open field while bombs explode all around him, is very lucky to be alive. No flak jacket or helmet. You can barely hear him above the explosions. He and his colleagues are very brave.
The neoconservative WaPo editors picked their idea from the notorious propaganda outlet Institute for the Study of War. When the de-escalation zones where introduced in Syria through negotiations between Russia, Iran, Turkey and the U.S., al-Qaeda and the Islamic State were excluded. Associated Press reported at that time:
[The deal] also calls for the continued fight against IS and former Al-Qaeda affiliate Fateh Al-Sham Front
Al-Qaeda itself denounced any de-escalation agreement and promised to continue fighting.
The ISW recognized that at that time and pointed out that al-Qaeda is the real danger in the deal:
The ceasefire deal will provide Al Qaeda with time and space to further network itself within the opposition, including through local governance and security structures.
Syrian rebels have expressed dissatisfaction over U.S. demands to abandon the fight against President Assad and decreased U.S. support to rebels. Al Qaeda will exploit these grievances and attempt to fill the vacuum. Al Qaeda will position itself to eventually spoil the agreement, but will do so in a timeframe that supports its own interests.
That al-Qaeda is the main ruling and fighting power in Idelb, is excluded from the de-escalation deal and tries to break it is now conveniently forgotten. In its newest efforts the ISW even claims that attacks on al-Qaeda violate the de-escalation agreement:
Russia, Iran, and Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s regime launched a joint operation in northwestern Syria against the al Qaeda stronghold in Idlib Province in November 2017.
The pro-regime offensive violates the “de-escalation” zone in Idlib Province.
That is an obvious lie. The various UN Security Council resolutions on Syria demand “to eradicate the safe haven [al-Qaeda and ISIS] have established over significant parts of Syria”. But the ISW now believes that fighting al-Qaeda is not in U.S. interests:
A pro-regime campaign to seize Idlib Province is not in America’s interest. The extension of Assad’s control produces a corollary extension of Iran’s military footprint and leverage in Syria.
Neither Turkey nor Russia can deliver an outcome in Syria that supports US interests. The US should help Turkey block pro-regime operations that will cause further humanitarian catastrophe. The US must refrain from accepting either Russia’s diplomatic play or Turkey’s relationship with al Qaeda, however. The US must instead retain freedom of action and avoid the temptation to outsource American national security requirements to regional actors already at war in Syria.
What does that actually say? What action would the ISW or the Washington Post editors like to see? Turkey attacking Syrian and Russian forces in Syria to prevent further attacks on al-Qaeda? An occupation of al-Qaeda held Idleb by U.S. forces against the will of Syria, Turkey, Iran and Russia? By what means?
Neither the ISW nor the Washington Post offer concrete advice. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch do not further any idea on how to solve the issue. They seem to prefer that civilians living in Idleb stay under the deadly ruled of religious fanatics who’s ideal of “liberated women” (video) are walking black tents.
Thankfully larger scale military action against Syria by either Turkey or the U.S. is now unlikely. The bloody liberation of Idleb governorate from al-Qaeda will proceed. The propaganda wave against it lets one assume that it will be successful. This makes it even less understandable why the above outlets continue with their efforts. What again do they hope to achieve?