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Kuwait fears bloodletting in Idlib

Kuwait’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi addressing UNSC meeting

NEW YORK, Aug 29, (Agencies): A military option in Syria’s Idlib would have catastrophic humanitarian consequences, especially with half of the governorate’s population are internally-displaced, Kuwait said before the UN Security Council late Tuesday.

Diplomatic efforts need to be doubled on the highest of levels in order to avoid carnage and not re-live the bloody scenarios in Aleppo and eastern Ghouta, said Kuwait’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Mansour Al- Otaibi. “Eyes are on Idlib, resided by some three million people.

Any military escalation would worsen the already dire humanitarian crisis. “It is sad and frustrating at the same to see the Council resolution not being implemented on ground,” Ambassador Al-Otaibi said in reference to Resolution 2401, which was unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council last February and called for immediate cease-fire and facilitating entry of humanitarian assistance. “Resolution unimplemented are worthless ones. History once again will witness incompetence of the UN Security Council in light of loud breaches of international humanitarian law and international law for human rights throughout the Syrian crisis”.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday described militants in Syria’s last big rebelheld enclave of Idlib as a “festering abscess” that needed to be liquidated. Speaking after talks with his Saudi counterpart Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir in Moscow, Lavrov said militants were using civilians as a human shield. Lavrov told reporters that there was a political understanding between Turkey and Russia on the need to distinguish between the Syrian opposition and people he described as terrorists in Idlib Province.

The government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Moscow, says it aims to recapture Idlib, which has become a refuge for civilians and rebels displaced from other areas of Syria, as well as jihadist forces. The region has been hit by a wave of air strikes and shelling this month in a possible prelude to a full-scale government offensive.

Russia has deployed several frigates to the Mediterranean via the Bosphorus, part of what a Russian newspaper on Tuesday called Moscow’s largest naval buildup since it entered the Syrian confl ict in 2015. Lavrov said that Moscow was in close contact with Turkey on the situation in Idlib. “This is the last hotbed of terrorists who are trying to speculate on the region’s status as a de-escalation zone, who are trying to hold the civilian population hostage as human shields and bend to their will those armed groups ready to engage in dialogue with the government,” Lavrov said. “So from all points of view, this festering abscess needs to be liquidated,” he said. Lavrov also said Russia remained in contact with the United States on the situation in Idlib and that communication was happening between their two militaries. An expected government assault on Idlib, and surrounding areas could displace as many as 800,000 people already in a dire humanitarian situation, the UN warned Wednesday.

In an interview with AFP, a representative of the United Nations Humanitarian Coordination Offi ce (OCHA) in Damascus said an attack could be catastrophic. “We fear that – should there be an increased escalation of hostilities in that area – up to 800,000 people could be displaced and that the number of people who are in need of humanitarian assistance, which is already high, could increase dramatically,” said Linda Tom. Idlib in northwest Syria along the border with Turkey is the last province still held by the country’s beleaguered rebels. An estimated three million people live in Idlib and adjacent rebelheld territory, many of them already displaced from other parts of Syria since the confl ict erupted in 2011.

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