U.S., European Governments Should Apply Pressure On Russia To Allow Humanitarian Aid To Idlib, Editorial Says

Washington Post: Syria’s carnage nears a horrific climax
Editorial Board

“…According to the United Nations, some 900,000 people have fled a new offensive by forces of the regime of Bashar al-Assad and its Russian and Iranian allies since December. That includes an estimated 500,000 children. Most of these civilians are crammed into a narrow strip of territory near the Turkish border, which is sealed. … [Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan] appears to be hoping he can establish a safe zone stretching some 20 miles from the border and including the provincial capital, Idlib city. That would allow civilians to receive humanitarian aid and prevent the refugees from spilling into Turkey, which already harbors 3.6 million Syrians. The Russian government seems inclined to allow some kind of safe zone, though perhaps a much smaller one. … The Assad regime, however, is bent on recapturing all of Idlib, whatever the human cost. And the relentless pattern of the Syrian war has been Russian promises to control Damascus, followed by a failure to do so. That’s why it is urgent that the United States and European governments apply concerted pressure to Mr. Putin now to curtail the offensive, enforce a cease-fire, and allow full humanitarian access to Idlib. They should make clear to Moscow that it will pay a substantial price — in the form of new sanctions and a reversal of European moves toward better relations — if the carnage does not cease” (2/26).