Friday 14 September 2018

The Syrian War enters its Idlib Phase, Antiquities Take a Back Seat Now

Updated map of Syrian situation, the extent
of ISIL territory may be overstated here
Martin Chulov Syria conflict: why does Idlib matter and what could happen? Guardian Wed 12 Sep 2018.
Fears of a refugee crisis and ‘killbox’ as rebels prepare for likely last stand against Assad
Let us not forget the role (Obama's) America played in weaponising the internal civil conflict within Syria, encouraging the revolt against Assad, and then slinking away when things got out of hand and before attempting intervention in the form of fighting the '("terrorist") ISIL-problem', and again dropping out as the War got more complicated. Probably they'll soon be queuing up now for the contracts now for the reconstruction when the country has bled itself to death with Assad still in power. Then nobody will bat an eyelid much when the unpapered antiquities start to surface.

Within this region are a number of archaeological sites, a number of which had been looted already when I did my Google Earth search a while back (' Syria (3), Evidence of Looting from Google Earth as of 5th May 2013, Northern and Eastern Regions', PACHI Sunday, 26 May 2013) and most specifically Ebla [see here in particular - Ebla was never in ISIL hands].

Alia Chughtai's Al Jazeera article ('Syria's war: Who controls what?A map of the Syrian war showing who controls what after seven years of fighting', 07 Sep 2018) is a useful concise summary:
Since March 2011, fighting in Syria has killed an estimated 465,000 people, injured more than one million, and forced about 12 million people - or half the country's pre-war population - from their homes. Forces loyal to the Syrian government have retaken major rebel strongholds, as well as large swaths of territory in the country's south in recent months.[...] Air raids have pounded areas in Syria's last rebel-held province of Idlib, killing several civilians and raising further concerns that an all-out government offensive is only a matter of time. A full-scale military offensive would be devastating for the nearly three million people living in the province, including many rebels and civilians who were bussed out of other areas as they came back under government control. At least 24 raids - the first in three weeks - hit the area on Tuesday morning. There are an estimated 70,000 rebel fighters in and around the province. Idlib is strategically important as on one side it shares a border with the province of Latakia, home to the biggest Russian airbase in Syria, and on the other side, it borders Turkey. The strategic M5 highway - the main access road to the north - also passes through Idlib.
Meanwhile, this is what this is about:

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