Syria: Trump tries to snatch a cease-fire from Erdogan

Donald Trump dispatched his vice-president Mike Pence to Turkey to rescue a ceasefire from Turkish President Recep Tayyip, who on Wednesday urged Kurdish forces to lay down their arms and withdraw from northern Syria. A week to the day after its outbreak, the Turkish offensive against the Kurdish militia of the People's Protection Units (YPG) has already rebuffed the cards in northern Syria, the new epicenter of the conflict that has torn the country since 2011.

With the help of an agreement with the Kurdish forces, the Damascus regime has indeed returned to regions that have been elusive for years and Moscow has begun to fill the void left by the withdrawal of US forces. Criticized in Washington for seeming to give the green light to the Turkish operation, the US president has since urged Ankara to stop its offensive and authorized sanctions against Turkey.

In this context, he decided to send his Vice President Mike Pence and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Turkey with the mission of securing a ceasefire. Erdogan is due to receive them on Thursday. “Our mission is to see if we can get a ceasefire, see if we can negotiate,” Pompeo told reporters before boarding his plane.

Trump's vitriol letter

According to US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, other US sanctions are in preparation in case of no agreement. The American billionaire has nevertheless blurred the signals by stating Wednesday, before the departure of MM. Pence and Pompeo, that “if Turkey goes to Syria, it is a matter between Turkey and Syria, it is not our problem”. “The Kurds are not angels,” he added. Also in a missive dated October 9 and issued Wednesday evening, the US President tried to persuade his Turkish counterpart to reconsider his decision, urging him to “not play the hard” and “do not fool” .

As for a truce, Mr. Erdogan has already ruled out “sitting at the table of terrorists”, an expression for the YPG, and argued that for the offensive to end, the forces would have to Kurds disarm and retreat. “Right now, tonight, all the terrorists are laying down their weapons and equipment, destroying all their fortifications and withdrawing from the security zone we have set,” he said.

The stated objective of the Turkish operation is the creation of a “security zone” 32 km deep along its border, which would separate it from YPG areas and repatriate some of the 3.6 millions of Syrian refugees settled in Turkey.

Battle of Ras al-Ain

Ankara views the YPG as a “terrorist organization” for its links with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which delivers bloody guerrilla warfare in Turkey. But Western countries support the YPG militia, which dominates an Arab-Kurdish coalition called the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), for its leading role in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist organization.

A week after the start of the operation, fighting continues to rage, especially in Ras al-Ain, a town on the Turkish border where Kurdish fighters are trying to repel the onslaught of Ankara forces. An AFP reporter near Ras al-Ain saw columns of smoke rising from the city as the overwhelming thunder of Turkish artillery filled the air. In order to blind the planes of Ankara, the Kurdish fighters burned tires.

An SDF official said the Kurdish fighters were “ready to fight to the end” in Ras al-Ain. “We have not yet made the attack (…) The real battle has not started yet,” he warned. Accusing Mr. Trump, whose decision to withdraw US troops left the field open for the Turkish assault, to have betrayed them, Kurdish forces called for the rescue Damascus, which deployed troops to Minbej and Ras al -Ain, among others.

Kurdish fighters, backed by Syrian forces, entered a base recently cleared by the Americans, ahead of Ankara-backed rebels who wanted to seize it, according to an NGO, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights ( OSDH).

Meeting Erdogan-Putin

Taking advantage of the withdrawal of the Americans, and in order to avoid a major confrontation between the forces of Damascus and the Turkish military backed by their Syrian counterparts, the Russian military police conducts patrols in the sector of Minbej, according to Moscow. Erdogan, who denounced on Tuesday the “dirty market” concluded between the Kurdish forces and the regime of Bashar al-Assad, said on Wednesday that it does not matter to him “who of the Russians or the regime” “pull out the YPG of Minbej” .

The Kremlin announced on Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited Erdogan to Russia. The meeting between the two men will take place on October 22 in the seaside resort of Sochi, said Wednesday the presidency in a statement.

In seven days, 71 civilians, 158 FDS combatants and 128 protesters have been killed, according to the OSDH. Ankara lamented the deaths of six soldiers in Syria as well as 20 civilians by firing rockets of Kurdish fighters on Turkish cities. In addition, the offensive caused the exodus of 160,000 people in northern Syria, according to the UN. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council on Wednesday worried “the risk of dispersion” of jihadists held prisoners in northeastern Syria, without calling for the end of the Turkish military offensive against the Kurds.

Speaking separately to the press, US ambassador to the UN, Kelly Craft, also stressed the jihadist danger: “Turkey's military offensive in northeastern Syria undermines the campaign to defeat the Islamic State group, endangers innocent civilians and threatens peace, security and stability in the region “. In Brussels, two Belgian deputies told AFP that two Belgian jihadists who were imprisoned in northeastern Syria had escaped “in recent days”.

(With AFP)

Syria conflict: The Federal Government has (not) done so far

As for the choice of words, the German rejection of the Turkish Syria offensive hardly misses much clarity. Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) condemns the invasion “in the strongest terms”. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) unambiguously demands the end of the military operation from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Because there are already many dead and tens of thousands are on the run. Because the region is further destabilized. And because the IS terrorists may be strengthened again.

The indignation over the military operation against the Kurdish YPG militia is so great. By contrast, the willingness to put pressure on Erdogan with punitive measures is comparatively low – as the US has announced. The opposition considers this unanimous. The government has (not) done so far against the Syrian offensive – the overview in the star:

Measures taken by the Federal Government in the Syrian conflict

Protests with the Turkish government: First, Maas called his colleague Mevlüt Cavusoglu and then phoned Merkel for a long time with Erdogan. She called for “an immediate end to the military operation” and “regardless of legitimate Turkish security interests.”

Referral to the UN Security Council: Germany, together with other European countries, has organized a meeting of the UN Security Council on the Syria offensive. Result: no countable. It is also unlikely that the US and Russian veto powers involved in the conflict will agree on a common stance in the most important UN body. Nevertheless, the Europeans have already requested another meeting.

Joint statement: EU Foreign Ministers met on Monday to agree on a strong condemnation of the offensive, with the participation of Maas, but not common countermeasures such as a common, comprehensive arms embargo or the threat of economic sanctions.

Restriction of arms exports: The only German sanction against Turkey over the Syria offensive is a restriction on arms exports. You do not know, though, if she even attacks. Now exports of weapons that can be used in Syria are no longer authorized. But that would actually have been common practice since the first Turkish Syria offensive in 2016/17 or at least since the second invasion in 2018. In any case, export permits fell from 84 to 13 million euros between 2016 and 2018.

Video: Russian and Syrian leadership fill power vacuum after US withdrawal

The Federal Government has not done so far

Complete armor export stop: This is not only demanded by the Greens and the Left, but also by the CDU politician and the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Norbert Röttgen. However, the Federal Government wants to continue to authorize the export of armaments that can not be used in the offensive. This can be, for example, shipments to the Navy, which is a good customer of the German defense industry and has received in the first four months of this year war weapons worth more than 180 million euros. Also already approved exports can go on as planned.

Cover or stop Hermes guarantees: These aids are intended to protect German exporters against losses due to the failure of payments from their foreign business partners. In 2018, Turkey was the country after Russia, for which the highest amount from the Treasury was allocated: 1.78 billion euros. Left and Greens are now calling for the removal of these aids, the FDP a cap.

Reduction of funding for Turkey: This demand comes from the left and the AfD. As an EU candidate for accession, Turkey is entitled to billions in aid, in the last two years alone, 633 million euros have been disbursed. The funds have already been reduced, but they can only be stopped if the accession negotiations are stopped. In no case the government wants to touch the 5.8 billion euro aid from the refugee pact between the EU and Turkey. On the contrary, the EU summit on Thursday and Friday will discuss whether additional funds should flow. Background: Erdogan has repeatedly threatened to let the 3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey across the border to Europe.

Sanctions against individuals: The US has imposed sanctions on three Turkish ministers. Potential assets of those affected in the US are frozen. Such sanctions can also imagine the foreign policy spokesman of the SPD parliamentary group, Nils Schmid. “The EU should vote with the US on personal sanctions,” he told Spiegel. The FDP also sympathizes with it.

Exclusion from NATO: This has brought left-fraction leader Dietmar Bartsch and the Green Parliament Vice President Claudia Roth in the conversation. But this is not planned in the treaty of alliance and would therefore be highly complicated. Apart from that, no member country has yet requested that.

“Number of violinists at Binnenhof is less intimidating than a thousand tractors”

“What strikes me, also with the yellow vests for example: politicians are so afraid of public opinion. Even when it comes to popular protests. The sentiment of the popular is politically expedient. It is very sensitive electorally against a large group against the hair to iron. “

Political vitality

Despite the fact that Roovers thinks the farmers have made it up today, she sees the demonstrations as something positive. “It is political vitality. That people take to the streets is a sign of the revival of politics. Politics is a conversation of all citizens with each other.”

Moreover, she says, it is important to understand the farmers. “It is not just a job, it is a lifetime. It is the same as a few years ago with the protests in the culture sector. They were told: 'you are looking for another job anyway'. Now nobody says that. Why not? People don't dare. A number of violinists at the Binnenhof are a lot less intimidating than thousands of tractors. “

Watch the conversation with Roovers in Nieuwsuur here:

Ordering from China: dirt cheap, but what if it is disappointing?

Perhaps recognizable: you order something from China, but you get a lot different, nothing, something that is too small or a cable that proves to be a fire hazard. Now that we are spending more and more on online shopping abroad, such consumer problems are getting more attention.

State Secretary Mona Keijzer of Economic Affairs had to answer parliamentary questions about it twice already, and the Consumer Association also sounded the alarm: AliExpress does not adhere to the rules for consumer purchasing in the Netherlands, they say. Reflection time is missing, as is the standard warranty. And do you want to go to court? You have to go to Hong Kong.

We all agree, those flaws with our online orders from China, but you actually have many more rights. We explain that in the video below:

These actions that are enough to throw less food

A few simple actions, and 59% less food waste: 250 households have submitted to an experience that seems to show that in homes, the key to hunting gaspi lies in the awareness. In four regions of France, these families with various profiles participated for two months in a “control operation” on habits at home conducted by the Agency for the environment and energy management (Ademe).

Food wastage estimated at 29 kilos of waste per person per year

They were first asked to weigh their waste, with constant behavior. Then, a month later, to choose three gestures (such as setting menus in advance, looking at the storage dates before buying, preparing the right quantities, adapting to expiry dates, etc.) to evaluate the difference . Result, published Wednesday, October 16, 2019 for the National Day anti-waste: reduced losses of 59%, the equivalent of 11,300 meals saved in total over one year for these 250 households.

In France, food waste at home is estimated at 29 kilos of waste per person per year, including seven kilos of food still packaged. Home consumption, however, accounts for less than 20% of total food losses, estimated at 10 million tonnes per year (more than half of which are generated by producers and processors, and then by distributors and collective and commercial ADEME).

Without a monitoring mechanism, it is difficult to know the evolution of the situation. In 2013, the government set a target of reducing by 50% the waste on the entire food chain by 2025, before the passing of an anti-waste law in 2016. At home in any case, the experimentation “shows that it is possible to reduce waste a lot by simple gestures,” notes the Ademe.

Food waste (AFP - Maryam EL HAMOUCHI)

Food waste © AFP – Maryam EL HAMOUCHI

Recipes to decorate his remains

For individuals, the hardest is “awareness”, who “not at all self-evident”Emily Spiesser, responsible for responsible consumption. “In France wasting is frowned upon, no one feels wasted, yet when you look closer, sometimes it can be in small quantities, but put end to end it can be important”. There are also these less visible losses: leftover soup, cereal milk, sauces …

Dorothée Cognez, employee of Rural Families, one of the three associations partners of the experiment, participated “out of curiosity”, convinced of “do not mess up”. “Big surprise! We were at 31 pounds per person, above the national average!” In the trash can or the sink the bottle of half-drunk milk left, “mostly liquids, and fish or meat still packed but out of date”.

This family from Seine-de-Marne focused their efforts on “The way to buy: we make shopping lists, and we count how many meals to expect in the week Before I bought too many things, we fell to 18 kilos of waste (per head), less 43%! “ Three months after the end of the operation, all homes continue to apply the chosen gestures, Ademe ensures. Among the best anchored: keep food safe (by knowing your stocks in the fridge and in the cupboards). The one judged easiest by the participants: do not throw away his remains. Suggestions can be found on the Zéro Gâchis Académie website. For example recipes to decorate his remains. Or simple calculations to prepare the right portions.

The Ademe also puts online Wednesday, October 16 a self-diagnosis tutorial. The challenge is not the least: unnecessary extraction of natural resources, avoidable greenhouse gas emissions (3% of the total in France), additional waste … Globally, 25% to 30% of the food produced is “Wasted or lost,” said the UN climate expert, Giec, who put the issue at the heart of his report on land use this summer.

Ohio: Democratic presidential candidates in fourth TV debate

Democratic presidential candidates in the US are in the state of Ohio for their fourth television debate.

For the first time, twelve contenders will be standing on the stage together. Among them are the two leading pollsters: former US Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren. Biden had led the Democratic field of applicants for months by far, but in the past few weeks Warren caught up enormously and even occasionally outclassed Biden. The two are now in a head-to-head race, in which she and sometimes he is ahead.

It is anticipated that this TV debate in Westerville, Ohio, will give either of them a special boost: whether after that, either Biden can again secure a clear role as a favorite or Warren could take the lead in the longer term.

The television debates offer Democrats the opportunity to present themselves to a national audience. To participate, they must show in surveys and the amount of donations certain minimum values. Seniors Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris, as well as Indiana's aspiring mayor, Pete Buttigieg, have also qualified for this round.

The actual party-internal primaries, in which the Democrats set their candidate for the presidential election in November 2020, begin in February. The incumbent, US President Donald Trump, wants to compete again in the election for the Republicans.

'If IS children do not deradicalize, we will pay the price ourselves'

Despite the increasingly chaotic situation in Syria, the coalition parties remain divided over the recovery of Dutch children from IS fighters. There is a debate tonight in The Hague about the situation in Syria. Other countries also do not or hardly ever recover IS children.

A solution for IS children trapped in Syria is desperately needed, says American-Romanian journalist Rukmini Callimachi. She interviewed IS fighters and supporters for The New York Times for years. She made the award-winning podcast Caliphate, in which she reported on the Islamic State.

“If those children stay in northern Syria, in a few years' time, when they are teenagers, they can pick up the weapons for their group. It is actually an army awaiting. We could see this coming for years, but we still seem to be completely unprepared for this problem. “

“Women and children based on IS”

Last weekend, hundreds of IS women and their children escaped from a Syrian detention camp at Ain Issa, not far from the Turkish border. The Kurdish YPG fighters who guard the camp have long pointed to the risk that the IS men would escape.

Ain Issa has been bombed since Wednesday by Turkish troops advancing in northern Syria. The Kurdish fighters fear that they can no longer protect the detention camps with IS'ers. “Fortunately there are no reports of jailbreak escapes with male IS men,” says Callimachi.

But that hundreds of women and children have escaped is, according to her, dangerous enough. “We must remember that this is not just a classic terrorist organization, but an entity trying to build a state. You cannot have a state without families, without women and children. IS thrives on women. And now there may be 800 women and children free. “

Cubs of the caliphate

Moreover, there is the danger that children will be trained to become warriors themselves. “IS has made it very clear that they see children as their future,” says Callimachi. “They have published several videos in which they call the children 'the cubs of the caliphate'. IS is a group that uses innocence, uses child soldiers and radicalises them, teaches them to kill and perform terrible deeds.”

“These children are unfortunately innocents trapped in this mess. The problem, of course, is what countries should do with these children. Is there family that can take care of them and if so, are those family members completely separate from IS? But if you put the children in Late Syria, there is the danger that they will grow up in a radicalized environment and that they will radicalize themselves. “

“We saw this problem coming for a long time”

Callimachi has no doubt that IS will be able to recover and grow again now that the situation in Northern Syria is chaotic. “The winners this week are IS, the Assad regime and possibly Turkey. The losers are the US, the anti-IS coalition, the Kurds and civilians in this area and the European countries that may be attacked by these IS men. “

If Europe wanted to prevent this situation with regard to IS prisoners, countries would have had to intervene much earlier, the journalist says. “We have seen this problem develop for five years. IS first proclaimed the caliphate in 2014. We are completely unprepared for the situation we are in. European countries have no deradicalisation programs for this category of people. In many cases we have not even a legal framework to get them back. “

Watch the interview with Callimachi in Nieuwsuur:

Lubrizol: the cows back in the meadows

The manure pits are still bleached by the milk thrown for more than two weeks but the cows finally shake on the grass: forced to confine their animals after the Lubrizol disaster in Rouen, the milk producers finally breathe after the lifted Monday of these precautionary measures.

“Here we can see that the cows appreciate the grass that has repelled for 18 days that they were confined in the building.A cattle is made for the pasture.'re back on the fundamentals,” says Aline Catoire in front of his 57 animals that she just dropped in one of her fields in Conteville, 45 km from the Lubrizol factory.

On September 26th, the spectacular fire at this high threshold Seveso site produced a black smoke plume 22 km long. The state has in the wake ordered the confinement of livestock and prohibits the marketing of all or part of the production of nearly 3,000 producers, including Mrs. Catoire. After a favorable opinion from ANSES (the national health and food safety agency), the measure was lifted Monday evening, for the only dairy producers, majority however.

The collection resumed Monday at 18:00 and the cows returned to the fields on Tuesday morning.

“It's also a sanitary thing because during this period when it is rather soft and humid, building confinement for dairy cows is not ideal, it develops bacteria,” adds the milk producer. 35 years old who is also vice-president of the chamber of agriculture of the department.

A few hundred yards away, the manure pit is still largely tinged with the white of the milk thrown out the past two weeks, mixed with animal excrement. “With milk it stinks a lot more,” notes Aline Catoire.

“It's only happened once that we dumped milk in the manure pit five years ago: the dairy truck was not going through because of snowdrifts, but this situation, the scale that she had it is unpublished in France, so many days on so much surface “, emphasizes this mother of family.

The breeders of Seine-Maritime have thrown 500,000 liters per day because of the disaster, Aline Catoire 30,000 total or 11,000 euros. This loss will be compensated by the interprofession.

– “far from being finished” –

But for Mrs. Catoire “the relief” of the end of the restrictions is only “half-hearted”.

“It's far from over.” There are many indirect costs that are more difficult to quantify, such as the cost of the straw used to feed the animals during confinement, “she says.

And “we do not know yet when and if we will be able to use our fodder to feed our animals, or what we must do with the milk thrown in the manure pits”, adds the farmer whose animals were 95% fed of corn in September.

“We are subject to the nitrate directive which gives a well-defined application schedule.It is hoped that the administration will be as flexible as possible” so that this mixture of milk and manure can be spread, continues Mrs. Catoire.

The farmer also has doubts about Lubrizol's willingness to reimburse the interprofessional.

“The state says + polluter pays + but Lubrizol will not say + look at the analyzes, there is no pollution +,” she wonders.

Above all, “there are still plenty of producers waiting who do not understand why the analyzes take so much time,” says the breeder.

ANSES then the State must decide before the end of the week on eggs, honey and market garden products that are still prohibited for sale in many municipalities of Seine-Maritime, Oise, Somme , North and Aisne.

Brexit: Boris Johnson should have submitted new proposals – EU ministers advise

In the Brexit dispute, the 27 remaining EU states will discuss on Tuesday whether an orderly exit of Great Britain on 31 October can still succeed. EU negotiator Michel Barnier reports to the European Affairs Ministers in Luxembourg on the latest round of negotiations. An agreement with Great Britain is due at the EU summit later this week. Otherwise, it is likely that the deadline will be extended again.

According to British media reports, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has submitted new proposals to the EU. This is about the Irish border issue, reported the Irish channel RTÉ and the British BBC on Tuesday. Further information on the content of the proposals is not yet available.

The SPD European politician Jens Geier was open to a deal with Britain at the last minute. He admitted, however, “It's only feasible, which raises no questions, everything must be clarified before we say yes.” Only technical details could be discussed after a political agreement, said the head of the SPD MEPs of the German Press Agency.

Elizabeth II: Queen reads government statement: This is how Boris Johnson introduces himself to the Brexit

Irish Foreign Minister: A deal is possible

It is negotiating a change to the 2018 agreed withdrawal agreement. This regulates the most important issues of separation and provides for a transitional period until the end of 2020 after Brexit, in which practically nothing would change. Chaos right after the exit should be avoided with the contract. Not only the British lower house, but also the European Parliament would have to approve the agreement before the end of October.

Issue is the included guarantee clause for an open border between the EU country Ireland and the British Northern Ireland, the so-called Backstop. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to delete them and has proposed a substitute solution. According to what is known about it, with a special customs partnership, controls at the inner border are to become superfluous. The EU sees opportunities for compromise, but details have been struggling for days.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Monday: “A deal is possible, it's possible this month or even this week.” But he added, “But we have not made it yet.”

At a session of the British House of Commons, the voice of Speaker John Bercow fails.

Manfred Weber is against exemptions

Manfred Weber (CSU), Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, spoke out against derogations between the EU and the UK. “The European Parliament will never agree to an exit agreement that tramples on the EU's legal and value community,” wrote Weber in a guest contribution to the “Welt” (Tuesday). It is now up to Britain to return to a responsible policy towards Europe. “The EU can never agree to a hard internal borders.”

Johnson thumped again on a punctual Brexit in a government statement read Monday by the Queen. “My government's priority has always been to secure a withdrawal from the European Union on October 31,” was the first sentence the Queen made.

If there is no agreement at the last-minute talks in Brussels this week, Johnson will have to file a motion to extend the withdrawal period on Saturday. The question of whether he wants to bow to this, but he has so far answered with contradictory signals. A showdown between the government and parliamentarians is expected in a scheduled special session of parliament on Saturday.

“Putin now has key role in northern Syria”

It has been the turning point in Syria since the start of the Turkish invasion last week: the advance of the Syrian army to the northeast of the country. President Bashar al-Assad and the Kurdish YPG fighters agreed yesterday that the Syrian army will enter Manbij and Kobani within 48 hours.

There is now a threat of a military confrontation between the Syrian and Turkish armies. “The army of Assad will come to places where it has not been in the last five years, where they have been driven out,” says Arabist Leo Kwarten.

Kurds in Syrian uniforms

Turkey has invaded northern Syria to expel the Kurdish militias in Syria in a zone along the Turkish border. Turkey sees the YPG fighters as terrorists. To prevent them from being overrun by the Turks, the YPG has now de facto surrendered to Assad's army.

“What you will see is that the Kurdish militias are absorbed into the Syrian army,” says Quarters. “They will receive Syrian army uniforms and join the Assad army.”

Quarters is not surprised by the collaboration. “The Kurds in Syria and the Syrian regime have never really been enemies. They also have a common enemy: the Arab rebels, who roll in in the wake of the Turks. They both don't want those rebels in their area.”

“This is the end of self-government dream”

Kwarten expects that the Assad deal with the YPG also means that the Kurds have to give up their dream of autonomy and self-government in Syria. “During my travels to Damascus, when I spoke with people in neighborhoods that were Assad-minded, I heard that people are mordic against Kurdish autonomy. They were afraid that other minorities would want that too. The fence would be dam , and maybe civil war again. “

“Until now, the Kurds were not bothered by the security forces or the Assad army. That is now changing. Their autonomy will be dismantled sneakily.”

Important role for Russia

Quarters do not think that the Turks will withdraw from the area along the border after Assad's move. “Ultimately, the Russians will have an important role in determining what will happen to the buffer zone. Putin has an influence on Erdogan and a lot of influence on Assad. He is trying to define their spheres of influence.”

The Arabist expects Russia to fill the vacuum with the Syrian army, but also to give something to the Turks. “The Russians eventually think that Syria should be one hundred percent of Syria, but they know that it is practically impossible in this situation. Moreover, Assad cannot break hands with iron. He is already happy that he can take a step, he could this conflict did not last for a long time. “

And Assad may receive change for giving up the border zone, says Kwarten. “The Turks set up a buffer zone, but in return it is not inconceivable that they will withdraw their support for the rebels in the province of Idlib. And Assad is very happy with that. My estimate is that Idlib will fall back into the hands of Assad. “

War reporter Rudi Vranckx was in the battle zone in northern Syria until this morning. He saw great chaos and fear: