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.