Escalation in Syria’s Idlib Will Not Grow Into New Large-Scale War – Former Chinese Envoy

The escalation in the Syrian province of Idlib will not ignite a new large-scale military conflict in the country as the government of Syria has now regained its strength and will prevent a new war from happening, former Chinese Special Envoy on the Middle East Issue Wu Sike said.

“The conflict in Syria is in its ninths year. In my opinion, the Syrian government with Russia’s support has already managed to solve major problems… The situation is currently complicated in the Idlib province, as you mentioned, and on the border with Turkey — the forces of armed opposition are still there. So it will take time to completely resolve this issue, but in my opinion there is no possibility for the situation in Syria to strongly escalate again – no, this I can say with complete certainty,” Wu said.

He said that despite there still being terrorist formations and armed opposition groups scattered across Syria, “the government has regained its strength, having gone through the challenges of such a long war, and for that reason the possibility of a new war is not realistic.”

“Syria has entered a period of recovering, but apparently time is needed to completely solve all problems,” he added.

The fighting has escalated in Idlib over the past several weeks, as the Syrian army has launched an offensive to clear the area from remaining terrorist threat and closed in on the strategic city of Khan Shekhoun. On August 31, a new ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey entered into force in the area. The same day, US forces attacked what they said were positions of leaders of al-Qaeda (terrorist group banned in Russia) in northern Idlib. According to Moscow, the strikes resulted in an unspecified number of casualties and damage to surrounding structures.

The civil conflict in Syria has been ongoing since 2011 between President Bashar Assad’s government and various opposition groups and terrorist organizations. In May 2017, the warring parties held talks in the Kazakh capital of Nur Sultan under the mediation of Russia, Iran and Turkey, and managed to conclude a ceasefire agreement and establish four de-escalation zones. Even though in some parts of Syria military operations continue, the priority is now given to political settlement and return of refugees.

In January 2018, the sides held talks in the Russian city of Sochi and reached a landmark agreement to form a constitutional committee that would work toward preparing a constitutional reform in Syria.

Source: News Agencies