On September 7th, during a UN Security Council briefing, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley claimed that Russia and Syria “want to bomb schools, hospitals, and homes.”
In her statement during the UN Security Council briefing, Haley said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and its “enablers,” Russia and Iran have a playbook for the war in Syria. First, they surround a civilian area. Next, they make the “preposterous claim that everyone in the area is a terrorist,” thus making all civilians targets. That is followed by a “starve and surrender” campaign, during which Syrian security forces keep attacking until the people no longer have food, clean water, or shelter. “It’s a playbook of death. The Assad regime has spent the last seven years refining it with Russia and Iran’s help.”
According to her it has happened many times before, in July 2018 it happened in Dara’a and the southwest of Syria, where Syrian forces “trapped and besieged civilians.” In February 2018, it was Ghouta. In 2017 it was Aleppo, and prior to that places like Madaya and Hama.
According to her, Assad’s government has left the country in ruins. “The atrocities committed by Assad will be a permanent stain on history and a black mark for this Council – which was blocked over and over by Russia from taking action to help,” Nikki Haley said.
She then continued that the offensive in Idlib is about to start. Airstrikes by Russia and Syrian forces have already begun despite “clear warnings of the President of the United States and other world leaders.” She further reiterated that the US has been more than clear with Russia and the broader international community: “we consider any assault on Idlib to be a dangerous escalation of the conflict in Syria. If Assad, Russia, and Iran continue, the consequences will be dire.”
She cited numbers that 3 million people are at risk in Idlib, according to her 99% are civilians. “The Assad regime must halt its offensive. Russia and Iran, as countries with influence over the regime, must stop this catastrophe. It is in their power to do so,” she urged.
She also accused Russia of claiming it seeks a political solution, however it hasn’t done anything to assist in reaching it. “If they support an offensive in Idlib, the world will know where Russia really stands when it comes to supporting peace talks.”
She also commented that the US is also concerned with the presence of terrorists in Idlib, however, according to her there are ways to target the groups without causing a humanitarian catastrophe.
She then, directly accuses Russia and Assad’s government of targeting civilians, without substantiating her claims with any proof whatsoever. “But when Russia and the Assad regime say they want to counter terrorism, they actually mean they want to bomb schools, hospitals, and homes. They want to punish the civilians who had the courage to rise up against Assad. When the regime calls the brave White Helmets terrorists, we know they are not serious about fighting terrorism. The United States will not cooperate with Russia on the Assad regime’s slaughter of innocent civilians,” she claimed.
She also claimed that Russia’s requests for the international community and the US to provide funds for the reconstruction of Syria is unacceptable. She “translated” the claims: “they want us to clean up all the roads, bridges, and homes that Russian jets, Iranian-backed militias, and Syrian shells destroyed. The United States will not consider such requests for reconstruction aid until we see concrete results from a genuine political process that ends the war and offers freedom to the Syrian people. No one else should either. That would be absurd. The U.S. taxpayer is certainly not going to subsidize Assad’s campaign of destruction.”
She further reiterated that there was still time to pursue an alternative, citing the roadmap in Security Council Resolution 2254, which calls for real dialogue among Syrians and the drafting of a new constitution.
She once more commented that Russia has chosen the wrong side. “But for Russia, continuing to support this murderous dictator, and isolating themselves from the international community, is the wrong choice,” she said.
She claimed that, despite the horrible crimes she accused Russia of, it can still rectify the situation. “We urge Russia to consider its options carefully. Stop Assad’s assault on Idlib. Work with us, with the UN and international partners, to find peace at last for Syria. The Secretary-General, and the overwhelming majority of this Council, have made our position very clear. Russia needs to live up to its responsibility and put an end to the fighting,” she said.
United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley’s claims during the UN Security Council briefing were substantiated by no evidence whatsoever, it was just one more step in the US fight against Assad’s rule, which it sees as illegitimate.
All of this came on the same day the US Special Representative for Syria James Jeffrey announced the US new strategy for Syria. According to it, US military presence in the country may continue indefinitely, until Iran completely withdraws, as well as there is a government different from that of Bashar al-Assad.