In a major tactical and symbolic victory, it is now clear that Syrian government forces and its allies have liberated the Old City of Aleppo.
RT was the first to break the news on the ground.
21st Century Wire also covered the news and spoke to Vanessa Beeley, who is in Damascus and due to head to Aleppo. “Since I arrived in Damascus on Monday 5th December, there has been a simmering excitement from all members of society, a sense of impending victory in Aleppo,” she says. She has also met again with Mother Agnes Mariam de la Croix and discussed the Syrian government’s reconciliation projects and planned amnesties and rehabilitation plans for armed rebels. I recommend checking Vanessa’s site The Wall Will Fall over the next few days for updates.
While the entirety of rebel-held territory isn’t yet completely regained in Eastern Aleppo, it seems likely to be a matter of time. And the symbolic and cultural importance of recapturing the Old City – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has suffered massive damage and destruction in the course of the war – cannot be underestimated.
Much of Western media, however, isn’t painting the liberation of Old Aleppo in a positive light.
And, no doubt painfully aware of the advances the Syrian government forces were poised to make, the US, Britain, France, Italy and Canada had in recent days released a statement condemning both Russia and Syria for the “humanitarian disaster taking place before our very eyes” in Aleppo. There was less coverage of the civilians attempting to leave rebel-held parts of Aleppo, where – according even to Amnesty International, they’ve been held hostage under the most brutal form of Wahhabi-based Sharia Law – and being shot at by the rebels, or the report that rebels had executed 26 civilians, including nine teenagers, in Aleppo who had asked them to leave their neighborhood.
Damascus and its allies, however, ignored the by-now familiar condemnation and the calls via the UN for a ceasefire, correctly arguing that this was simply another stalling tactic to allow the rebel groups time to regroup.
While a complete victory in Aleppo seems likely for the Syrian government, there is still a danger of foreign agencies seeking to intervene to salvage the collapsing Syria project. There are still recent, if low-key, indications of this in Washington, as well as in statements made by President Erdogan in Turkey. The fate of rebel fighters, jihadists and foreign mercenaries also remains to be seen, with talk of some being taken back into Turkey. But the Syrian government and its allies seems to have done the strategically smart thing: which is to push on and take advantage of the uncertainty and disunity in American and Western politics and foreign policy right now and try to take back the country.
What really is uncertain is how this all ends. If Damascus is in a position in the very near future to be able to declare ‘victory’ in Syria or to declare the war over, will foreign governments and agencies finally back off, celebrate the end of the fighting and seek to come to terms with President Assad? Or will we simply see an outright refusal to accept the outcome? It is difficult to see the war’s foreign sponsors, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Israel, the United States and Turkey, simply conceding failure.
At the same time, however, there is practically nothing – in strategic or geopolitical terms – that can be said to justify anything else. While the covert proxy war in Syria was always morally unjustifiable, it has also long since become strategically unjustifiable too. The smart thing for the regime-change backers to do now – in their own interests and in the interests of regional and global stability – would be to back off, accept Syrian sovereignty and support peace and rebuilding in Syria.
In doing this, they could all even continue pretending they had nothing to do with how the war started or why it has gone on for so long.
Related: ‘Aleppo: Propaganda, Moderate Terror & the Retaking of Syria‘, ‘Psychopathic Politics: The Long March Towards War With Russia’, ‘SYRIA: US Attack on the Syrian Army & the Findings of the US Peace Council‘…
Read all Syria posts.
An aside about Assad’s offer of amnesty to former ISIS fighters who are Syrian nationals: My hunch is that this is a temporary move to end the fighting ASAP. We have no idea if the amnesty is really “long term”. Certainly, I don’t favor lying, but in cases like this, I think this is where the intelligence services step in. I have read elsewhere that while Syria has elite soldiers, their intelligence apparatus leaves much to be desired and that Russia has stepped in to bring their team up to snuff. I would say that enough history has been written for counter-evolution of tactics to happen. Just like there are “stay behind” forces that stick around after a seemingly obvious loss so they can come out of dormancy and spread their disease again (think the flu virus). However, if the “immune system” is aware of this tactic, the coming out of dormancy may never happen. I do have confidence that the Russians, and now the Syrians, will have learned from Quaddafi’s mistakes (well I would certainly hope so!). Anyway, I’m glad the Syrians took back Aleppo. It’s about time.
Interesting, I didn’t get feedback with email for your reply comment. I must be forgotten to check notify button, I guess. When your new post, I have checked last one and your reply is here! Sorry my Earthling friend, for this late response:)
“…the West and the Saudis/Israel might back off and leave Syria and the Americans might decide it isn’t worth a conflict with Russia.”
I hope too, but it doesn’t seem like that. For example for days ago, Obama, before leaving his presindental seat, with the circular sent to the US Foreign and Defense ministries, he lifted restrictions on military aid to foreign forces in Syria.
“In here, in Syria, I am here to ensure the supply of defense forces to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups or individuals who assist US operations in fighting terrorism in Syria. For this reason I lift restrictions.” he said.
On the other hand, the US Department of Defense’s budget of $ 619 billion in 2017 was adopted by the Senate and sent to the White House. An item added to the draft later opens the way for the “Man-portable air-defense systems” (MANPADS) to the insurgents in Syria, depending on certain conditions.
And, Obama said always “our priority is not to send soldier to Syria.” Ok, the US government’s works already is done by its contractor soldiers or oppenents in Syria. But if we check just last two years news, Obama government sent soldiers to Iraq in almost quarterly. Last September their numbers in Irak about 5500 if I am not mistaken. But we are looking at the news, for example two days ago Russia announced that “ISIS sent 5000 member of itself to Syria from Mosul.” So what is that! Do Iraq and US soldiers gain the victory indirectly with sending the ISIS to Syria like sweeping? Is it a joke? I don’t think so.
Everybody makes own account in Syria.And most of them are conflict with each other. And I guess, this Aleppo victory will show how much hard to protect the peace in real means, again.
What is the Aleppo situation being reported like in Turkey? In Turkish media, are they also saying the Syrian Army carried out ‘massacres’?
There are three types of media. First, those who support the government’s arguments unconditionally. Second, those who give the news as “in the form of an allegation” (the so-called independent, but acting with the thought that any trouble wouldn’t be on them), and the third is dissident media. The first group already gives these news like the following headings:
“Assad’s massacre continues in Aleppo.”
Second group gives the news like following:
“There are the allegrations about Assad’s massacre in Aleppo”
This second group is also a group that also includes CNN-Turk.
And the dissident media. Cumhuriyet, Sozcu and SolHaber newspapers are the first three leading of the dissident media.
And for me, SolHaber is the best of them.
They also started to broadcast in English two months ago. There are not too much articles and news like in Turkish SolHaber right now, but they are trying to improve their publishing in English too.
Here it’s link, my Earthling friend:
There is a saying, an idiom, in Turkish. “If Aleppo is at there, the ell is here.” (the ell was the unit of lenght measure which was used in Ottoman period). This saying has been using since the time of the Ottoman, it is still used for those who tell the things that they did not do in real, those who exaggerate what they made”. I guess the story of this idiom was: One man who speaks with much exaggeration says one day that he goes to Aleppo three times a week. Those who do not believe in this man anymore stretch out the ell to him and say, “Let we learn whether Aleppo is really at a distance three times a week or not.”
Of course there were transports with camels at those times, no airplanes.:)
The story of this idiom is like that approximately, my Earthling friend. And it seems to me that Aleppo’s destiny has been framed with this idiom maybe five hundred years, six hundred years ago. Some ones always exaggerate the real thing, actually they are talking about things that might be almost impossible; an example for this is Aleppo again after centruies.
Everyone says something, but what’s really at there?
As first, there are a lot of dissidents; the religious ones of these opponents, the moderates, the tough ones, the ones who want the caliphate, the Sunnis, the Shiites and etc. Even it may be it seems like a joke, but there are even secular opponents against Assad, haha!
There are also differences in terms of ethnicity among them, Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Yazidis and others.
Apart from these, there are US, Russia and other countries that actually fight against each other by saying that we will clean up Syria from ISIS. I think, even today’s the United Nations meeting is held within the borders of Syria, there may be close to whole number of the attendance list of UN, except one or two African countries and South American countries. 🙂
And from the other western countries, even from yesterday, there is a news it seems like a joke again: “In the statement made by the White House Press Service, it is stated that the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Canada are ready for new sanctions to the Syrian administration and On the people and institutions which are related to the Syrian administration.”
There is Assad government.
There is ISIS, well-known.
And Hezbollah, even Lebanese Hezbollah held a huge military parade on the territory of Syria 3 or 4 days ago.
Well, what is not actually going to happen in Aleppo and Syria. Which situation is being exaggerated? We can say to whom “If Aleppo is at there, the ell is here.”? I think we can say to them all. In fact, we can say to them all who think that war is the solution for peace and create an environment of constant conflict.
Now it is said that Aleppo was rescued. Was it really saved? What kind of management will be in Aleppo? For example there are about 140 local councils and about 2 million Sunni population in southern province of Aleppo including area of Idlip city. It is one and half hour distance by road from Idlip to Aleppo. So while the situation around of it is still unclear, Aleppo is a city that is not yet known it will be managed how and by whom. There is no solution with the war.
Four days ago I’ve read an interview with Konstantin Sivkov in a Russian newspaper. Sirkov was saying that:”Moderate opposition even more will realize that they need to move on to the political sphere. For the United States that expects to maintain its influence in the region, will begin to understand that to solve the problem by military means will not work, or else the war will continue.”
It would not be explained more accurately. As long as these intends continue, the war will continue, and each passing day humankind will be one step closer to the world war.
Thanks for these very interesting perspectives/observations, our ET friend.
I hope you’re wrong about World War. I was hoping that if Assad recaptures all rebel territory with Russian help, the West and the Saudis/Israel might back off and leave Syria and the Americans might decide it isn’t worth a conflict with Russia. I could be wrong though – as I said in the post, it depends how Western leaders handle the defeat of the rebel groups.
What I find sad is that Syria isn’t really in Syrian hands, no matter what happens: obviously if Saudi-backed or Israeli/American-backed rebel groups had won, then it wouldn’t be a *Syrian* victory. But it is, as you point out, also a plain fact that Assad is only able to win back territory because of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.