The Syrian Arab Army on the roll in Idlib; the Western al-Qaeda proxy in despair

The Syrian Arab Army On The Roll In Idlib; The Western al-Qaeda Proxy In Despair

Face the simple facts. In Syria's Idlib province, governed by the most brutal terrorist groups, we can see how the alternative to present Syrian leadership looks. In Idlib is the true face of what has been called a “popular uprising” in Syria. Some say that the “revolution” has been hijacked by terrorist groups and radical Islamists, but looking not too far back at Syria's history, especially the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization's “revolution” in early 1980s, it was expected to take such turn.

Western support since the beginning of the Syrian crisis was all out in one single goal: removing Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad. To reach that goal, the al-Qaeda terrorist group was used as a perfect tool since the early beginning when Jabhat al-Nusra was formed. Armed groups under the umbrella of the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) who were fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with al-Nusra against the Syrian army were receiving full financial and logistical support, as well training and armament from Western powers and Gulf states.

Quite often, personnel, weapons and equipment ended up in al-Nusra's hands. The US Train and Equip Program served that purpose. In June 2016, when al-Nusra rebranded themselves, “cutting ties” with al-Qaeda and changing its name into Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, it didn't make any changes in their ideology and forms of military and governing abilities. As long as the FSA was receiving the “aid” from Western governments and Gulf states, al-Nusra didn't lack anything.

It is disturbing to see the Western media giving a propaganda platform to groups closely related to al-Qaeda. Calling them “rebels” is a travesty and a deliberate effort to confuse the public. It is Fake news in its purest form. CNN went even further and interviewed the spokesperson of Syria's al-Qaeda branch, Jabhat al-Nusra, in 2016 after they had re-branded themselves, to explain their decision to supposedly “cut ties” with al-Qaeda.

 Fifteen years after the September 11th attacks, an al-Qaeda spokesperson was a distinguished guest in the US media, something which couldn't have been predicted in our wildest dreams. But, as al-Qaeda is in fact a US creation, we may look at it as a long lost child returning to its mother's embrace. 

In recent weeks, we are witnessing huge progress by the Syrian Arab Army in Idlib and in southern Aleppo provinces against the Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) terrorist organization and their allies. HTS was formed in January 2017 from Jabhat al-Nusra, Ansar al-Din, Jaish al-Sunna, Liwa al-Haqq and notorious Nour al-Din al-Zinki. Da'esh (ISIS/IS) also has a pocket of control in the area.

Meanwhile, Nour al-Din al-Zinki has left HTS, but they are still participating in the Idlib battle. Areas with a presence of designated terrorist organizations are not party to “de-escalation zones” and the ceasefire regime. Among many terrorist gangs involved in Idlib, such as Ahrar al-Sham, the “Free Idlib Army”, Jaish al-Izza, Faylaq al-Sham, and many more, two groups which pledged their allegiance to al-Qaeda, Jaish al-Badia and Jaish al-Malahem are also battling the Syrian forces.

Supported by Russian Aerospace Forces, dozens of villages and hamlets have been liberated. As far as we know, military operations aim to secure huge areas in southeast Idlib and south Aleppo, and to capture Abu Duhur airbase, which is a strategic position. Furthermore, Abu Duhur airbase is symbolic for Syria because in 2015 the base was overrun by al-Qaeda's Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organization, and it was the scene of a heinous crime against dozens of Syrian soldiers who were brutally executed. Of course, no major condemnation from the West happened. Al-Qaeda fulfilled its purpose for Western interests to inflict losses on the Syrian Army's forces, as it has many times before and since.

After days of Syrian forces' advancement, terrorist groups counter-attacked and regain some lost territory, but it is very hard to believe that any of their efforts will be sustainable in the long term period. The battles are heavy, which is taking a toll on all sides, but the Syrian Arab Army with Russian aerial support are forces which will be impossible to stop. The military apparatus is just too huge for terrorist forces. Al-Qaeda and its affiliates, the corporate media's “moderate rebels”, are going to face defeat.

“Syrian rebels” of Turkestani origins, from Chechnya, Uzbekistan and even Chinese Uyghurs, participated in the counteroffensive. “Syrian rebels” from North African and European countries put aside their constant differences when trying to reverse the SAA advancement. Footage of Turkish armoured vehicles used by terrorists emerged on social networks, and medical equipment and food of Turkish origin were found in the liberated areas.

But we shouldn't be a bit surprised. Turkey's support to terrorist groups in Syria is nothing new. This is just the continuance of years of Turkey's illegal meddling in the internal affairs of Syrian Arab Republic.

Turkish forces already entered Syria's Idlib in October 2017 on the pretext of “monitoring the de-escalation zones”. Now they are planning to enter in Afrin area in northwest Aleppo province, if they haven't already, to fight the Kurdish YPG (People's Protection Units). Northeast Syria is under illegal rule of Kurdish militias who ethnically cleansed huge areas east from Euphrates river, and with the US occupying forces protecting the Kurdish forces, that part of Syria is out of reach for any Turkish aggression.

Any foreign military forces or civilian institutions present in Syria without the permission of the Syrian government are in breach of international law. The legitimacy of this fact can be seen in the recognition of who represents the Syrian delegation at the UN. Therefore, the Syrian government, its institutions and armed forces are solely legitimate in the entire Syrian territory.

A huge outcry for al-Qaeda and its affiliates in Idlib may happen in the same manner as it did in Aleppo during its full liberation from terrorist groups in late 2016. Terrorist groups disguised as the “Free Syrian Army” are in despair, seeking any kind of the United State's help. “Opposition” leaders are urging Trump and European Union leaders to put more pressure on President al-Assad.

The Syrian government and President Bashar al-Assad are determined to liberate all parts of Syria and to bring stability to each corner of the country. After all, it is their duty and responsibility. Even though it is very hard to predict any course of the Syrian war, in this year we may finally see the end of this terrible conflict.

Syrians deserve peace. And they deserve to choose their own destiny. And by all means, they deserve to live without a constant threat from terrorist groups deeply affiliated with al-Qaeda who are supported by the “civilized West”.

Matija Lukač

Matija Lukač is a pro-Syrian activist and researcher of the Syrian conflict; he is also a Special Assistant and Contributor for the Middle East and Syria at the GlobalCIR website.