During a weekend meeting with Angela Merkel at the German government’s Meseburg castle outside Berlin, Russia’s Putin spoke about the Syrian refugees in neighboring countries. Putin threatens flooding Europe with more Syrian refugees by brutalizing the province of Idlib, the last bastion of Syrian rebels, if Europe does not fund the reconstruction of Syria.
In their press conference, Putin spoke humanly of those he has brutalized already. His fake compassion has but one intention: Find funds to reconstruct Syria.
We must reinforce the humanitarian dimension of the Syrian conflict, and by that I mean boost humanitarian assistance to the Syrian population, and help the regions where refugees living abroad can return to.
Over 5.5 million Syrian refugees have been sheltered by Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon. All three countries get foreign aid to sustain their economic balance.
This is potentially a huge burden for Europe. That is why we have to do everything to get these people back home,
Mrs. Merkel, for her part, was not fazed by Putin’s threats and arrogance. She responded that the priority in Syria today is the Idlib Province. Her words trailed off with to “avoid a humanitarian catastrophe”.
In other words, Merkel was telling Putin Europe is not stupid.
If we had to guess, most likely Merkel was thinking to herself:
You come threatening us with more Syrian refugees you are about to create by attacking the Idlib province if we don’t pay to rebuild Syria. Europe will not be bullied by a Russian thug.
Putin Threatens EU
Indeed, Putin’s trip to Germany served as a threat to Europe. Pay up to rebuild Syria, or I will cause more Syrian death and will flood your shores with more Syrian refugees.
With a friend in the White House, Putin can afford to be so bold. He has nothing to fear from an American backlash for his gangster ways.
Western estimates believe some 30,000 Islamist fighters are holed-up in Idlib. They escaped from other regions, along with hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilian refugees seeking shelters from the Assad regime brutality.
There is no doubt that Syria must rid itself of all Islamists who preach a fundamentalist form of Islam. The way towards that path is not to bomb civilians, but to help the trapped civilians chase them out of the region. Putin could ally himself with the Syrian population in Idlib to avert the catastrophe Mrs. Merkel spoke about.
Then, and only then, we believe the EU may step-up.