Russia postpones Syrian offensive in Idlib as NATO threatens escalation
15 September 2018
Moscow announced yesterday the postponement of a planned joint offensive by Syrian and Russian government forces against Islamist opposition militias in Syria’s Idlib province, after growing threats from the militias’ backers in Turkey and the NATO imperialist powers.
Before yesterday, Moscow and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime had made clear that they intended to crush the Islamist terrorist militias inside Idlib. The United Nations has estimated that there are 10,000 Al Qaeda-linked forces among the Islamist militias in the province, primarily from the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham militia. They are the last bastion of opposition support in Syria, after the lack of popular support for the NATO-backed forces and Russian and Iranian military aid to the Syrian regime turned the tide of the war against NATO.
Over the last several days, however, US, European and Turkish officials blocked the Russian-Syrian offensive, at least temporarily, by drastically escalating military tensions in the region. They repeatedly threatened to strike Syrian forces and their allies, risking a direct military clash with nuclear-armed Russia, if the Syrian regime attacked Al Qaeda-linked forces in Idlib.
Yesterday, the Times of London reported that “Britain is preparing to join the United States and France in launching waves of airstrikes against Syria,” identifying a long list of potential targets. It added, “The Pentagon has begun drawing up a list of chemical weapons sites inside Syria that could be targeted in a far wider campaign of retribution than the single night of strikes in April involving British, American and French warplanes, after a chemical attack near Damascus…