The European Union has called on Russia, Turkey, Iran, and the Assad regime to stop the killing and displacement of civilians in northwest Syria. – 4 May 2019 (MESOP NEWS)
Since April 28, Russian-regime attacks have killed almost 300 civilians — most of them women and children — and injured more than 800. More than 300,000 of the estimated 3 million people in Idlib and northern Hama Provinces have been displaced.The bombardment has escalated during a Russian-regime offensive which began May 6. The ground assaults, enabled by Russian bombing, took several towns in northwest Hama. However, it has been checked by a rebel counter-offensive, and a series of attacks has failed to take the key mountaintop town of Kabani in neighboring Latakia Province.
On Wednesday, the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and its humanitarian aid chief Christos Stylianides said in a statement, “We expect the Syrian regime and the Astana guarantors [Russia, Turkey, and Iran] to fulfill immediately their responsibilities and commitments, and ensure the immediate protection of civilians.”
The attacks on civilians and ground offensive shattered a demilitarized zone declared by Russia and Turkey last September. Despite its forces being alongside rebels in northwest Syria since August 2016, Ankara has not acted against the Russian-regime assaults.
Mogherini and Stylianides said, “Indiscriminate attacks on women and children and other civilians, their displacement, and the destruction of civilian infrastructure cannot be justified under any circumstances.”
Emphasizing that “the current hostilities demonstrate once again that there can be no military solution”, the statement repeated the call for “an inclusive, genuine, and comprehensive political transition”.
Bashar al-Assad has resisted any process in which he might lose power, and the regime has checked the attempts by the Astana Group — its allies Russia and Iran alongside Turkey — for a committee to develop a new Constitution.
Another 22 civilians were killed on Wednesday, bringing total to at least 76 since Sunday. Russian and regime warplanes continued to bomb southern and western Aleppo Province, including attacks on crops to choke the food supply for the millions in the opposition-held northwest.