The United States has largely withdrawn from Syria and has never really interfered with Europe. The consequences are terrible, even for Europe itself, says Rainer Hermann of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

A humanitarian catastrophe occurs in Idlib and the world looks away. It is photos like towards the end of the Second World War that should actually have to shake people up: long refugee journeys move north in the snow and frost to the perhaps rescuing Turkish border. People still have only a few belongings with them.

The Syrian regime, supported by Russian planes and pro-Iranian militias, is pursuing a scorched earth strategy in Idlib. Helicopters drop barrel bombs on hospitals and schools, markets and homes. Large settlements have been depopulated and have become ghost towns. The unmistakable message is: There should be no more life here in the future!

Children on the run

The Syrian war machine drives hundreds of thousands of defenseless people in front of it like a roller. Aid organizations estimate that 290,000 of the displaced are children. Some freeze to death every night. For the Syrian regime, everyone in the province is a “terrorist”. A large number of residents had fled to Idlib in recent years to escape Assad’s army and henchmen. There is no longer any other place where they could find refuge.

COMMENTARY picture  Rainer Hermann, FAZ & Klett-Cotta (Helmut Fricke)Rainer Hermann is the editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The Russian leadership cynically participates in this contempt for human beings, which now permits in Idlib what it has already practiced in Grozny in Chechnya. Meanwhile, the Damascus torture regime is completely discredited. Those who still believed that they could negotiate with the rulers in Damascus about the political future of Syria should finally throw this naivety overboard. Assad and the pillars of his regime want to bomb a country where only loyal Syrians live and from which all potential troublemakers have been driven out. But that won’t bring peace to the country.

Ankara fears that one in two of the currently almost four million inhabitants of the Idlib region could flee to Turkey if the border is opened. But it is closed with a high wall. Because more refugees would destabilize the country, and Europe too wants and must prevent another flow of refugees. This shows the power Russia has over Europe if, like now in Libya, it sits at a key point on a migration route.

Presidents Erdogan and Putin spoke again on Thursday. But the phone call was no match. Turkey is therefore starting a risky game and trying to use military force to push the Syrian army behind the twelve observation posts. They were actually created to control a ceasefire that Russia, Turkey and Iran had agreed on for Idlib.

Dishonest lawsuit from Germany

Turkey is not only doing itself a service, but also Europe. The complaint is therefore dishonest that German weapons could also be used in this operation by the Turkish armed forces. And when Angela Merkel offered to build winter-proof houses for 100,000 refugees in Idlib, a shit storm broke out over her. Europe is once again helpless and powerless, although all the values ​​for which the continent stands are brutally bombarded with bombs.

Much is reminiscent of the Yugoslavia war, when Europe watched helplessly and helplessly at the Serbian massacres. Back then, an ultimatum by the beefy American diplomat Richard Holbrooke to the Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic and then targeted American bombings had put an end to the ethnic murder.

The day-to-day actions of the Syrian regime show what happens when the US regulatory power withdraws. And Europe, the self-proclaimed guardian of human rights, is making another moral oath of revelation.


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