On Sunday, U.S. President Donald Trump urged Russia to stop bombing Idlib province. It came on the heels of the Kremlin statement that signaled Moscow would continue to back the Assad offensive.
Trump wrote in a Twitter post:
Hearing word that Russia, Syria and, to a lesser extent, Iran, are bombing the hell out of Idlib Province in Syria, and indiscriminately killing many innocent civilians. The World is watching this butchery. What is the purpose, what will it get you? STOP!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 2, 2019
On Friday, the Kremlin said it was Turkey’s responsibility to stop rebels in Syria’s Idlib province from firing on civilian and Russian targets. Turkish President Erdogan has long complained to Moscow about the Russian-backed Syrian government strikes against the Muslim Brotherhood rebels. They mostly control the country’s northwest.
A HUMANITARIAN DISASTER IN SLOW MOTION
Since last summer, the Assad Idlib offensive is the biggest escalation of the war against rebel opponents. It has raised new fears of a humanitarian crisis as Syrians displaced by the fighting seek shelter at the Turkish border.
According to the U.N., more than 200,000 people have fled the violence in Idlib since the strikes began at the end of April.
The last time Trump acted against Assad demonstrated Trump’s weakness.
When asked on Sunday night before departing on a state visit to Britain what he intended to do about the massacre of civilians in Idlib, Trump told reporters he did not like the situation. “Bad things are happening,” Trump said.
The last time Trump acted against Assad demonstrated Trump weakness. Instead of sustained bombardments of his assets, Trump fired 59 rockets on an airport the Syrian government fixed overnight.
Sending a Tweet with the word STOP capitalized is an indirect green light for the Assad government to bomb Idlib and its Islamist rebels to pieces. This is how little consideration the Syrian government has for any American messages.
Reuters contributed to this article.