Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Destroying Aleppo

"You could hear airstrikes all over the city."
"We've had so many false rumours and promises about this final assault -- I can only live day-by-day and put my faith in God."
Amir Ragab, 54, eastern Aleppo
Will Trump win spell end of rebels’ defence of east Aleppo?
This image released by the Thiqa News Agency shows an injured child after airstrikes in Aleppo on November 16, 2016. Thiqa News via AP

"Trump already said before winning that he would cooperate with Putin and he also said that Aleppo has already fallen, which is not true. He will just fight ISIL, doing nothing against the regime or its constant crimes against us."
"They [the embattled rebels] do nothing. Every week they just tell people to stay calm and be brave and strong until they open a road ... and that’s what we thought would happen until the last offensive left us shocked with the big loss we had. It made us kind of hopeless knowing when this will be over."
Khaled Ashram, 42, east Aleppo, Sukkari district

"It was total chaos and many Free Syrian Army fighters were just standing there looking at the thieves [civilians looking food stores]. They don’t have the respect and admiration [of the local Sunni population] like it was before."
"Every side and every country has already chosen what its role is in the Syrian war, and now this is the result of it. They will no longer help us and will allow Assad to recapture what is left of the city."
"[Mr. Trump] will do nothing as well. His reaction will be a bit closer to [Russian president Vladimir] Putin, applauding his crimes and his victories in bombing and killing ‘terrorists’ and civilians."
Mostafa Ibrahim, 41-year-old barber, east Aleppo

The remaining 275,000 Sunni Syrian residents of east Aleppo have had their peace shattered once again, after a fifteen-day hiatus in attacks where they watched warplanes streak overhead dropping their loads on the countryside in the west, described by Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu briefing Vladimir Putin, as "massive strikes" hitting positions taken in the geography by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and the al-Qaeda-linked group in Idlib and Homs provinces, north of Damascus.

Now, the focus of Syrian regime warplanes and their Russian helpers has veered back to Aleppo to continue its relentless battering. Stationed off the Syrian coast, a Russian carrier group is prepared to brutalize the city even more in concert with government forces, happy to constrict the siege on rebel-held Aleppo in a death grip. Vladimir Putin and the American president-elect chatted amiably by telephone over their future cooperation in defeating Islamic State terrorists, but no mention made of Syrian regime terrorism, let alone Moscow's, in Syria.

One of the last bastions of the rebel factions in opposition to Syria's monstrous president al-Assad, the soon-to-be retaken Aleppo will mark the death-knell of rebel strongholds right across the country. Vladimir Putin has been advised by his defence minister that Su-33 jets had been launched from the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier to grand effect. The frigate Admiral Grigorivch was busy launching cruise missile strikes, while land-based missiles have also been launched in a massive series of attacks.

Against a city and its residents already blackened, shattered and bruised to death and beyond. The sledgehammer approach by Moscow in meeting the challenge to annihilate the "terrorists", obviously in its final stages. Civilians and rebel fighters describe missiles and barrel bombs striking five neighbourhoods controlled by the anti-Assad fighters. Over one hundred attacks, some with cluster munitions, have been reported by the White Helmets civilian rescue group.

The all-out offensive to destroy Aleppo -- though that word isn't used -- but rather 'retake' the ancient city appears in its final, deadly stages.

Russia and Assad launch new Syria offensive
Russian frigate Admiral Grigorovich firing Kalibr cruise missiles against tagets in Syria, off the Syrian coast, 15 November 2016. EPA/RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY

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