GENEVA, Switzerland, The situation in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold, has been relatively calm, in the past two months, but there are many signs that “bad things will happen” unless there are further breakthroughs in the negotiations with the numerous armed groups inside, warned a senior UN Adviser, on Thursday.
UN senior adviser for Syria, Jan Egeland, told a press briefing here that, there is no solution to freeze the situation as it is now, and the civilians in the province need better and normalised situation.
“I fear that this month of Nov would be the most horrific war month, potentially, of the war, so far,” he noted.
According to the UN official, there are also many instances of infighting among groups, bad behaviour by groups, recklessness and ruthlessness inside the region, and there is more shelling along the outer perimeter of the so-called buffer zone around Idlib.
“It’s very tense inside the zone, the civilians inside, 2-3 million of them, still make us think, whether this is quiet before the big storm or this is quiet before peace,” he said.
Jan told journalists that both Russia and Turkey had said that, they will go to great lengths to avoid military action, to avoid escalated armed conflict in Idlib, as long as their forces and bases are not attacked.
“What makes me worry for Idlib is that I haven’t seen a lot of talks with or signals from the listed groups, listed as terrorist groups, that they are going to lay down their arms or seek amnesty,” he said.
“That’s why we urge, in all of the meetings with Russia, Turkey, Syria and everyone who has influence, to talk with everybody,” he said.
Syria’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Bashar Jaafari, has insisted that his country will retake Idlib province, saying, “We allow for diplomatic and political work. But our right under the UN Charter and international law allows us to fully recover Idlib when we deem necessary.”
Earlier this year, Russian President, Vladimir Putin and Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, agreed to establish a demilitarised zone within Idlib, in a bid to avert a full-scale assault on rebel stronghold, which humanitarians feared would have severe consequences for the three million civilians living there, many of them displaced people.
“The province of Idlib, north of Syria, currently has more than 18,000 terrorists of Libyan and other Arab nationalities. Information indicates that while the Syrian army continues to pressure them, they will be expelled to Sudan, and from there to Libya and other African countries,” the spokesman said.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK