A new advertisement currently running on cable news channels urges President Donald Trump to take concrete action to stop Russia and Iran from helping Syrian president Bashar al-Assad slaughter scores of innocent civilians in the war-torn city of Idlib.
Activists aligned with the Americans for a Free Syria organization have purchased ad time on Fox News, Trump’s preferred news network, in a bid to convince the White House to take a stand against the ongoing violence in Syria that is being carried out by Iran and Russia on Assad’s behalf.
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While Trump took a stand last September to help stem the growing violence in Idlib, Assad’s allies have again begun to step up their military action against the city’s civilians. Russia has already begun to launch airstrikes on hospitals, schools, and other civilian strongholds, prompting activists to plead for Trump’s intervention.
The one-minute advertisement urges Trump to make good on his promises from last September to protect Syria’s civilians from slaughter by Assad's Russian and Iranian proxies.
"You can do it again," states the ad, which was paid for by AFS Education and the Syrian American Council. "Today Idlib is again under attack. Thousands could die. Millions could become refugees. Mr. President, don’t let it happen. Save Idlib. Stop Assad."
With the violence continuing to rage, activist organizations are turning to Trump to make a difference.
"Last September, President Trump took a stand to stop an offensive by Assad, Russia, and Iran against millions of civilians trapped in Idlib Province," Erica Hanichak, government relations director at Americans for a Free Syria, told the Free Beacon. "Unfortunately, the so-called ceasefire between Russia and Turkey isn't worth the paper it’s printed on."
"Since mid-April, the violence has skyrocketed," Hanichak said. "Assad and his forces are shelling men, women, and children. Russian warplanes are actively targeting hospitals, schools, and other civilian centers. We are on the verge of a humanitarian disaster and refugee crisis worse than any yet seen in the conflict as civilians prepare to again flee for safety in Turkey and Europe."
"Our message to President Trump is clear: You helped stop a massacre before, and you can do it again," Hanichak said. "Don't let Assad, Russia, and Iran kill thousands of civilians and displace millions more."
Dr. Zaki Lababidi, president of the Syrian American Council, warned that the upcoming violence could be even greater than previous instances in which Assad used his Russian and Iranian proxies to slaughter civilians.
"This offensive will be far worse than what we've seen previously," Lababidi said. "Over a million Idlib residents are already refugees who fled regime attacks elsewhere in Syria. If Idlib falls to the regime, they will have nowhere else to go but out of Syria or to their deaths."
"President Trump should take assertive action to press Russia back into observance of the Idlib ceasefire it signed with Turkey and to head off a recent trend of rising [Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps] involvement in the assault," Lababidi said.
Activists seeking to stop Assad have the backing of a large number of lawmakers in Congress, many of whom recently signed a bipartisan letter pressuring the Trump administration to do more to stem the violence.
"We are alarmed by the bombardment of innocent Syrian civilians in Idlib and Hama executed by Bashar al-Assad, his barbaric regime, and his cronies in Iran and Russia," a group of 33 lawmakers wrote in the May letter.
"For eight years now, the Assad regime and its allies have slaughtered Syrians under the guise of fighting terrorism," the letter states. "We urge you to work to preserve the cease-fire established last year for the northwestern part of Syria."