air strike Idlib
© Agence France-Presse/ Anas Al-DyabSmoke rises near the Syrian village of Kafr Ain in the southern countryside of Idlib province after an airstrike on September 7, 2018
At the Tehran summit on Friday, Iran's Hassan Rouhani and Russia's Vladimir Putin expressed tactical differences with Turkey's President Erdogan, on how to proceed with the military offensive for the Syrian army to retake the northwest province of Idlib from terrorist groups.

Rouhani and Putin want a determined push to eliminate the last bastion of anti-government militants, while Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey was concerned to avoid a bloodbath and a worsening refugee crisis.

To be blunt: Erdogan's vote should not carry much weight on the matter. For it was the Turkish president who was a key player in fomenting the very terror groups that are now holding out in Idlib.

There is reckoned to be about 10,000 fighters among a civilian population of some three million.

Those fighters comprise the hardcore so-called Islamists affiliated with the Al-Qaeda terror network. Groups such as Al Nursa, Ahrar al Sham, Nour al Zenki, and Daesh. They are specialists in chopping heads off captured soldiers, and civilians, including children, under their reign of terror.

There are no "moderates" among these jihadists. There never was anyway. That was always cynical illusion sold to the public by Western news media obeying the narrative of their state intelligence agencies who armed and directed these terror proxies to do their dirty work of regime change against the Syrian government.

It is documented that the Turkish government and its military intelligence were instrumental in acting as a covert conduit for weapons and mercenaries to infiltrate Syria. Turkish journalists have been jailed for exposing that collusion.

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Thus, the American CIA and Britain's MI6 were crucially enabled by Turkey's Erdogan in their plot to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.

Recall, too, how it was Erdogan's government that reportedly ran the lucrative oil smuggling routes for the terrorists out of Eastern Syria as part of the weaponization scheme.

So, given the vile profile of the militants remaining in Idlib and their record of horror inflicted on the Syrian people, and given Erdogan's past role of complicity in that horror, the Turkish Sultan of Swing should do a lot more listening than talking on what to do about Idlib.

Besides, what is likely to be the real concern for Ankara is that it knows the terrorists corned in Idlib may pose an immense security problem of blowback for Turkey. Faced with imminent defeat and cut off from escape routes, the head-chopper brigades may try to flee across the northern border to Turkey. That will, in turn, bring major future security risks for Ankara.

As American political analyst Randy Martin comments: "The terror remnants remaining Idlib are probably the officers and hardest battlefield soldiers, as well as the leadership of Erdogan's and CIA's hand-trained special forces."

Martin adds:
"These crack terror squads have nowhere to go, no golden parachute, pension or retirement plan. No one wants them as refugees because they are truly bad guys. What do you do with an obsolete army with nowhere to go? Massacre them. or find them a foster home? And there's no takers on the foster homes."
This would explain why Turkey's Erdogan, as well as the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, are trying to stall the military offensive on Idlib. They are trying to buy time in order to minimize the blow back from their own states' deep complicity in the terror networks in Syria.

In any case, the party with the biggest vote in any discussion here is the Syrian government. It has witnessed its country and nation being turned into a charnel house over the past eight years by NATO-backed terror groups. Millions of people have been killed or maimed, orphaned and displaced. Reconstructing the country will run into trillions of dollars.

Syria's ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Al Jaafari, told the Security Council this past week that his country will proceed to obliterate all terrorists in the territory of Syria.

Of course, it goes without saying, that the Syrian Arab Army will endeavor to spare as much as possible civilians from violence. The Syrian army has always operated in that way. It is only Western media propaganda that portrays a wanton disregard for civilians.

But the priority is for Syria to eradicate all terrorists - many of them foreigners - from its territory. Why should these heartless, barbaric killers be allowed to set up a de facto reign of terror in Idlib or any other part of Syria?

Russian President Putin said it correctly in Tehran. It is Syria's sovereign right to take back full control of its national territory from foreign-backed terror gangs.

Earlier, Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Russia would support Syria until all illegally armed groups are totally eliminated. Zakharova also made the important point, too, that of the three million civilians in Idlib, many of them are actually being held hostage by the terrorists as human shields, just as the people of East Aleppo, Homs, Maloula, East Ghouta and many other places were previously before being liberated by the Syrian army and its Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah allies.

Potentially, the NATO-orchestrated war on Syria is coming to an end. The offensive on Idlib is a decisive final chapter.

Since Russia made its noble intervention in Syria three years ago to help that nation defeat the foreign conspiracy to destroy it, the NATO-backed terror proxies have gradually been rounded up and routed to Idlib. Some observers had expressed concern why the militants appeared to be given passage to the northwest province instead of being vanquished at the time of each battle.

Now perhaps we can see the strategic prudence manifest. The disparate terror brigades that had marauded across Syria have hence been neatly concentrated into a corner.

They have shown no mercy to the people of Syria in their past evil service to foreign imperialist crimes. For those with strong enough stomachs, you can read many of the barbarous crimes, recounted by Irish peace activist Dr. Declan Hayes, who visited Syria throughout the war.

What to do with rats in a corner? We should leave that decision to the people of Syria, their brave leadership and their heroic army. And then support them unequivocally in their resolution.
About the author

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.