Syria: As fierce Fighting reignites, Aleppo on brink of ‘Humanitarian Disaster’

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Syria’s largest city, Aleppo has seen a worrying outbreak of violence in the past week that could fatally undermine the cessation of hostilities that had held between most Free Syrian Army units and the Syrian Arab Army.

The ceasefire did not extend to al-Qaeda or Daesh (ISIS, ISIL), however, and it appears to be al-Qaeda that led the renewed fighting south of the city and mortar strikes from the rebel-held east on the Government-held west.

Also, the Syrian Arab Army and Shiite militias advanced into rebel-held territory north of the city and continued an effort to surround and cut off the rebel-held Western neighborhoods.

The pro-regime BeirutPress reports that there have been repeated mortar and sniping attacks on the government-controlled West of the city from guerrillas in the east. These attacks have left 18 dead and 50 wounded since Tuesday.

At the same time, what appear to have been Syrian government air strikes with barrel bombs repeatedly hit a hospital supported by Doctors without Borders, killing at least 50 persons, including the city’s last pediatric surgeon. The Syrian government denied the strikes, but only the Syrian air force had been using aerial barrel bombs. Russia and the US also denied dropping bombs onto a hospital.

Some 60 fighters of al-Qaeda and its ally, the Freemen of Syria, were killed by the Kurdish People’s protection Units north of the city on Wednesday. Ordinarily the two might have been ranged against Daesh or the regime in a de facto battlefield alliance, but in this instance they both wanted the same territory.

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5 Responses

  1. Bashir Assad is a dictator and war criminal. However, the balance of forces seem to be such that he cannot be defeated. The carnage has become so bad that I think an end to the civil war is required, even if that means leaving Assad in power. I believe this is the position the US and the West should take.

    • So, you say then war criminals should be left in power? Hmm, as a Sunni, this seems short change – killed off Saddam, but left war criminals Khamenei and Bashar al-Assad basically intact and stronger if anything.

      • They did not left Khamenei, the 40+ years of military, gas, bombs, missiles economic, psychological and the Saudi king’s kitchen sink continues. Even though supporting religious fanatics is a dabble edge sword as evident in NY, Etc..the trade off must have been worth it as they are arming al Qaeda now. So believing al qaeda, Daeash or the west is going to deliver democracy is wishful thinking and championing the violent rapists or their narrow sectarian view shameful.

      • I live in the real world. It’s not what should be done, but what can be done. What is the point of continuing the war against Assad if you can’t win? To draw a parallel, always dangerous, when Nixon took office in 1969 he said he had a plan to end the Vietnam War. It turned out his plan was escalation and it did not succeed in bringing the North Vietnamese to their knees like Nixon and Kissinger hoped. So, four years later they worked out a peace deal that we now know he could have gotten four years earlier. Tens of thousand of people died in the interim, and for what? The only way Assad is going is if a coalition of nations invade the country and sides with his enemies. Not going to happen. Especially since many of his enemies are as odious as he is.

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