Radio Sputnik discussed the possibility that Turkey could help reach a ceasefire in Idlib with Ferrada de Noli, founder and chairman of Swedish Doctors for Human Rights.
Sputnik: What are your thoughts on the possibility that Turkey could help reach a ceasefire in Idlib?
Ferrada de Noli: I’m doubtful whether that would be possible, because the core of the terrorist forces, which are in this constellation of the jihadist opposition to the Syrian government, have said that they are essentially determined to fight to the bitter end. So the possibilities of the Turkish government are only constricted to their forces, which they have been supporting, and more closely to their own borders.
You have the US, France and the UK, which have supported, founded and armed these rebel groups from different factions. They will have to stop their support for these forces to make that possibility occur.
The second thing is that you could compare [it] with what’s happening in Raqqa, where, according to a UN report, about 80% of the city was destroyed. There were nearly six thousand airstrikes from the coalition forces; a number of civilians were also killed — some estimations reach 1,300 civilians. These operations resulted in severe damage both in terms of lives of civilians and in terms of the material destruction of the city.
At the time, none of these discussions were taken up; no concern was made about the civilian population or the future of the city of Raqqa. But now we have all the discussions around the situation in Idlib.
You have to also take that into consideration. What were the options that the coalition forces had in the attacks on Raqqa and what are the options that the Syrian government has in the pursuit of retaking their territory, which has been [captured] by the terrorists in the province?
Sputnik: We’ve heard the claims that various sides are preparing a chemical attack; what are your thoughts about that? We’ve heard the US saying that the Syrian government is preparing a chemical attack; we’ve heard from the Russian side that the White Helmets and the terrorists are preparing [a chemical attack]. What do you make of this? Who’s telling the truth? Another question is that everybody knows that two barrels of chlorine were brought into the country. There’re so many troops on the ground, why can’t they just liquidate the source of those weapons, since they know that they’re present in the area? Why is that not possible?
As I said, there’re a lot of reports about the possibility of these attacks, which are mainly coming from the Western media. But there’re no reports in the Western media about facts which we know are recorded.
For instance, Carla Del Ponte, former general prosecutor in Switzerland at the time, was a member of one of the investigation committees established by the UN on Syria. She then declared that they had proven that the rebel forces in Syria do have possession of chemical weapons. So, the possibility that chemical weapons are in the hands of rebel forces is more than likely an empirical fact.
The second thing is that we know for a fact that the White Helmets organization have been staging chemical attacks in order to achieve their main goals – to achieve the establishment of a no-fly zone in Syria and, the other is to give a pretext to the US and their allies, France and the UK, to attack Syrian forces and Syrian territory; and again, there’s not much difference between the military personnel and the civilians that are eventually killed.
*a terrorist groups, banned in Russia.
Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Winston Mckenzie and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.