Tuesday, July 31, 2012

 Packing Up, Leaving...

"I am extremely concerned by the impact of shelling and use of tanks and other heavy weapons on people in Aleppo.  Many people have sought temporary shelter in schools and other public buildings in safer areas.  They urgently need food, mattresses and blankets, hygiene supplies and drinking water.  It is not known how many people remain trapped in places where fighting continues today"  Valerie Amos, UN humanitarian affairs

The alarm has been sounded from within the UN countless times.  It is like flogging a dead mule; many in the international diplomatic community and humanitarian rights groups wring their hands in despair, along with Kofi Annan and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, while others sit placidly by, unwilling to become part of the response that might stop the carnage.

How to do that, in any event, other than to incite the regime to further violence, dragging into the general scheme of chaos and destruction Hezbollah and Iran, and likely some casual units from Iraq.  And that is precisely when the entire Middle East can erupt into a sectarian fireball of pent-up hatred that has been biding its time before flaming into the hellfire of revenge and mass murder.

The rebel forces deny that they have been infiltrated by terrorists.  But in fact, they have been.  They can find common cause with all militias whose purpose is akin to theirs, even those whose Islamist credentials are clearly meant to use the Syrian uprising as a springboard toward creating their own version of what Syria should represent.  So, arming and or/aiding the rebel cause, also arms and aids another cause.

"I was at work when I received the call that a shell had hit my house.  As soon as I returned, I found my wife and son dead on the floor.  Part of my son's skull was blown off, and Aya was wounded", said one resident of Aleppo.  The wound his daughter sustained will be with her for the rest of her life, blinding her right eye with shrapnel from the shell that killed her brother.

And they are assembling what they can, all those terrified residents of a city that no longer resembles its peacetime facade of sects living together in harmony under the strict rule of a tyrant.  They are loading themselves and their belongings onto whatever conveyances they can, looking for temporary asylum in towns and villages removed from the city.

"We always knew the regime's grave would be Aleppo. Damascus is the capital, but here we have a fourth of the country's population and the entire force of its economy.  Bashar's forces will be buried here", claimed a young fighter, with the confidence that only the young can muster in the face of impossible odds to their own survival.

"The situation in Aleppo is dreadful.  Had it been merely bearable I wouldn't have left my home", said a woman on arrival at the Bukulmez illegal border crossing, where she was waved through by Turkish soldiers.  Aleppo is surrounded by troops and tanks mobilized to take the city from the rebels, leaving other areas of the country vulnerable to rebel occupation. 

President Bashar al-Assad has a huge need to restore his military presence in Aleppo, and maintain both that city and his capital Damascus and the highway between to his control.  Without that at the very least, he cannot claim to be in control of Syria.  Even if, at the same time, the rebels establish themselves securely elsewhere in the country.

Khaled al-Ayoubi, the charge d'affaires official in Britain has joined his colleagues in refusing to any longer represent their country.  Three Aleppo medical university students who were attempting to aid the wounded were arrested by the military.  They were arrested, questioned, and murdered.  Their mutilated and charred bodies were later found in a burned-out vehicle.
Three Syrian rebels stand guard at a makeshift field hospital, as casualties mount from intense shelling on the first day of a Syrian government military offensive against rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), in the rebel held district of Salaheddin in Aleppo, Syria, on July 28.  Scott Peterson/The Christian Science Monitor/Getty Images

This was an obvious attempt at deterrence.  To ensure that no other medical personnel would risk their own lives by treating the wounds of rebel fighters.  It's true that people were shocked and horrified when they saw the bodies of Basel Aslan and Musab Barad, fourth-year medical students, and Hazem Batikh, an English literature student and medic. 

But the result was that other health workers, still mourning their friends, are now motivated to offer their services to the rebel militias in field hospitals located in areas still firmly under Free Syrian Army control.

Labels: , , , ,

Follow @rheytah Tweet