Frustrated at its failure to “regain every inch” of Syria and beset by economic crisis, the Assad regime has aimed at Turkey in a presentation to the UN General Assembly.
Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem (pictured) declared “the Turkish regime reigns supreme” among “sponsors and financiers of terrorism” in Syria and the region. Pushing aside reports on the regime’s crimes against humanity, he said it was Turkey that is guilty of “a war crime”, accussing it of cutting water to towns in northeast Syria.
Turkey’s military support of anti-Assad fighters in northwest Syria, with a population of 4.7 million, has prevented Russia and the regime from completing an offensive to overrun Idlib and western Aleppo Provinces.
The Russian-regime offensive from April 2019 to March 2020 seized almost all of northern Hama Province and part of Idlib as it killed about 2,000 civilians, wounded thousands, and displaced more than 1 million.
But Turkey struck regime targets in February, drawing a line against further advances. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed on March 5 to a ceasefire.
Russia has occasionally bombed since then, including attacks on civilian sites. Pro-Assad fighters have shelled the perimeter of the “de-escalation zone”, and anti-Assad forces have retaliated with attacks on regime positions.
Moallem pressed the claim for northwest Syria with the declaration that the reigme “will spare no effort to end the occupation by all means possible under international law” of Turkish forces and of US personnel, who support the Kurdish autonomous authority in northeast Syria.
“The actions of these forces, taken directly or through their terrorist agents, secessionist militias, or manufactured and illegitimate entities, are null and void, with no legal effect,” the Foreign Minister maintained.
On Saturday, Russian officials added their own pressure with the disinformation that anti-Assad forces are planning a chemical attack in Idlib.
Moscow has used the disinformation in the past to stigmatize the Syrian opposition, including White Helmets rescuers, and to cover for the Assad regime’s dozens of sarin and chlorine attacks.
In March and April 2017, the regime carried out sarin assaults on northern Hama and southern Idlib Province. On April 4, a regime jet dropped a sarin canister on the town of Khan Sheikhoun, killing about 90 people and injuring hundreds.
The chemical attacks have been checked by international inspections of the incidents, with a series of reports blaming the regime. The last significant assault was in April 2018 on the town of Douma near Damascus, with 43 civilians killed by chlorine.
“Shameful and Unacceptable”
In his video presentation, Foreign Minister Moallem accused Turkey of moving “terrorists and mercenaries — referred to by some as `moderate opposition’ — from Syria to Libya”, violating Iraq’s sovereignty, using refugees “as bargaining chips against Europe”, and laying claim “by force to energy resources in the Mediterranean”.
“The current Turkish regime has become a rogue and outlaw regime under international law,” he asserted. “Its policies and actions, which threaten the security and stability of the whole region, must be stopped.”
Turkey’s UN Mission dismissed the “Syrian regime’s delusional statement, ridden with ludicrous allegations, in its entirety”.
It’s shameful and unacceptable that the murderous Syrian regime which lost its legitimacy long ago continues to misuse UN General Assembly general debate to distort the facts.
The Syrian regime is responsible for death, mutilation, abduction, starvation and enforced disappearance of millions of Syrians. Its crimes against humanity, violations of international humanitarian law and the war crimes have been documented in countless UN reports.
Moallem also tried to blame the US for the regime’s difficulties amid a 75% drop in GDP and widespread shortages of food, fuel, and electricity.
He invoked anti-racism marches in the US to criticize the “Caesar Act”, which imposed additional American sanctions in June over the regime’s crimes against humanity, including the deaths of tens of thousands of detainees through exections, torture, and poor conditions.
“[This is an] inhumane attempt to suffocate Syrians, just like George Floyd and others were cruelly suffocated in the United States, and just like Israel suffocates Palestinians on a daily basis,” Moallem said.