On March 5, 2020, the Turkish Heritage Organization hosted a Teleconference on “The World’s Failure in Idlib” with Dr. Ali Demirdas, Foreign Policy Expert, University of South Carolina, Bassam Barabandi, Former Syrian Diplomat, Co-Founder People Demand Change, Dr. Zaher Sahloul, President of Med Global and Kenan Rahmani, Policy Advisor, Americans for a Free Syria.
During the teleconference, the speakers discussed the roles developed nations and intergovernmental organizations could play to help the crisis in Idlib as the number of people being affected by the crisis increases with the increase in the Syrian government’s intervention. Syrian military force backed by the Russians has become more powerful as they fight against the opposition in Northern Syria.
Dr. Sahloul discussed facts about the war and how it is now known as the biggest humanitarian horror story as described by the United Nations. Because the region is in crisis, not much help has been able to reach as it is hard for intergovernmental organizations to cross the border. This is the reason why the United Nations has not been able to utilize its emergency funds that are oftentimes used for catastrophe.
Mr. Barabandi talked about his analysis of how Russians are not going to support Syria forever and how Assad will be left without further support . Another point was made by Mr. Rahmani as he described the situation of the White House as the 2020 presidential election is in action. It is making the situation less likely for the United States to be involved in military action as the situation is very sensitive and any bitter move could affect the results of domestic agendas.
The issue of a no-fly zone and pending ceasefire that was to be discussed by both President Putin and President Erdogan was also touched upon in the teleconference. As U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham and others have urged for a no-fly zone in Idlib, the speakers agreed that a no-fly zone might reduce the number of airstrikes in Idlib which will, therefore, minimize humanitarian casualties.
Before taking any questions from the audience, the speakers also talked about the importance of President Erdogan and President Putin’s meeting and the roles it could play for the future of Russia-Turkey relations. Lastly, all the speakers made it clear that the situation in Idlib was increasingly escalating and if swift action from the international community did not occur, the humanitarian crisis would no doubt get worse.