Small Wars Journal

On Syria, The U.S. Can Drive a Hard Bargain With Russia

On Syria, The U.S. Can Drive a Hard Bargain With Russia by Dennis Ross – Wall Street Journal

Syrian President Bashar Assad has launched his opening salvo to take back Idlib, the last major stronghold of organized rebel forces. The northwestern province is teeming with internally displaced Syrian civilians who have fled other parts of the country—Aleppo in December, Eastern Ghouta in April, and Daraa in June—under the weight of indiscriminate bombing by Russia and the Syrian regimes. U.N. officials say 800,000 people may be forced out of the city and the province in the assault. Refugees are running out of places to go.

In the face of this impending humanitarian disaster, the international community will do very little. The Trump administration warns it “will respond to any chemical weapons attack perpetrated by the Syrian regime.” But with the Russians positioning forces to carry out naval and air bombardments, Mr. Assad is unlikely to resort to gas. President Trump tweeted that Mr. Assad should not “recklessly attack Idlib Province” and warned that the “Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy.” The Russians answered by striking Idlib…

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