Syria’s humanitarian crisis only worsens

Even as ISIS is nearly defeated, the conflict is becoming ever more dangerous,
Sunday 11/02/2018
A Syrians youth runs following a regime air strike in the rebel-held enclave of Arbin in the Eastern Ghouta, on February 8. (AFP)
A Syrians youth runs following a regime air strike in the rebel-held enclave of Arbin in the Eastern Ghouta, on February 8. (AFP)

The toll continues to mount in Syria and the ultimate tragedy is that the war, soon to enter its eighth year, shows no sign of ending.

A UN Security Council meeting February 8 sought a temporary truce but Russia rejected it as “unrealistic.” Short of a final resolution of the conflict, a reprieve was the minimum required to provide urgent humanitarian assistance and to evacuate the critically ill.

Even as the Islamic State (ISIS) is nearly defeated, the conflict is becoming ever more dangerous, with multiple players aggressively staking claim to territory and regional influence.

Meanwhile, the Turkish incursion into the Kurdish-controlled enclave of Afrin in Syria continues to push up the civilian toll. The same applies to attacks by Russia-supported Syrian troops.

The regime in Damascus is even suspected of using chemical weapons. Such brutal methods have been internationally denounced but, as French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian recently said, there are many other violators of international law, not least Turkey and Iran.

Le Drian has called for “the withdrawal of all of those who ought not to be in Syria, including Iranian militia, including Hezbollah.” Turkey, he said, “should not add war to war.”

Even in a war seemingly with no holds barred, the world must set — and enforce — some limits.

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