What’s new? The Syrian regime and its allies look on the verge of attacking the country’s north-western governorate of Idlib, the last remaining stronghold of the armed rebellion, saying they must root out the jihadist militants who are dug in there.
Why does it matter? The Idlib region is home to nearly three million people, mostly civilians, more than one million of them displaced from war zones elsewhere in Syria. These people would have nowhere to flee in the event of an all-out regime assault. The death toll could thus be massive.
What should be done? Turkey and European countries should tell Russia it will compromise its political objective in Syria – the regime’s full rehabilitation – with an assault on Idlib. Turkey, Russia and Iran should resume negotiations to find less dangerous means of neutralising the most hardline jihadists.