Half of the population of Syria has been forced to leave the country. The war that was started at the behest of the Western powers to get Assad, has claimed a quarter of a million deaths so far. In this war, 300,000 soldiers of the Syrian army and the allied forces such as Lebanon’s powerful Shia militia Hezbollah, as well as Iranian, Iraqi and Afghan fighters are pitched against Syrian rebels, a conglomerate of terrorist organisations like Al-Nusra, Free Syria army, ISIL and many other Al-Qaeda affiliates.
Russia, the key supporter of Al-Assad’s government started an aerial campaign last September and has helped Damascus recapture areas in several provinces of the country. The other key ally of Bashar Al-Assad is Iran, who is providing financial and military support. Assad has vowed to retake the whole of the country and will not stand down. But Washington, since the very beginning, perpetually calls on Assad to step down. Contrarily, Russia insists that Assad will not be ousted and seeks diplomatic victories by competing with Washington to shape negotiations between the Syrian government and the rebels. Similarly, Iran seeks to protect Assad and thus assert its role in the Arab world.
Turkish President Erdogan backs opposition but is currently focused on preventing the Kurds from creating an autonomous region contiguous with the Turkish border. Kurdish forces hold around 18 per cent of the Syrian territory including three quarters of the Syrian-Turkish border. They have declared a federal region in areas under their control.
ISIL seeks to expand its self-proclaimed “Caliphate” in territory under its control in Syria and Iraq. Despite setbacks since 2015, ISIL controls around 35 per cent of Syria but most of it is uninhabited. It dominates the Dier Ezzo province on the Iraqi border and Raqqa province. They are also present in a number of other regions.
The Assad government is in control of 35 per cent of the country which includes strategic areas such as the capital, Damascus, central Homs and Hama, the coast, and large parts of Aleppo. More than 60 per cent population lives under his rule.
The struggle to liberate the eastern sector of Aleppo from occupation by Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front terrorists continues to make progress, despite the worst efforts of Syria’s enemies. Even the most casual observer of developments in the Middle East cannot fail to have been struck by the way the media have presented recent events in Aleppo. Aleppo is densely populated and was occupied by Jihadi thugs who held innocent civilians to ransom. The Syrian Government of Al-Assad was bent upon ousting the thugs and bringing the city back under government control. The western media and the governments have been treating the battle of Aleppo as a humanitarian disaster supposedly brought down upon the heads of the citizens by the arbitrary bloodlust of the ‘brutal dictator’ President Bashar al-Assad.
There is no denying the fact that the western powers, more specifically, the US, the UK and France have no interest in eradicating Islamic State or al-Nusra, but only in containing and controlling them. A video is currently being circulated on the social media based upon an interview of an independent Canadian journalist, Eva Bartlet, who is quite eloquent in her assertions that the US is financing terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq.
However, the Syrian Arab Army and its brothers in arms are deadly serious about dealing a death blow to the Jihadist terror gangs infesting Syria. Their reward for their heroic sacrifices in this genuine war on terror is implacable hatred of western interventionists. For the US, the UK and France, skirmishes with the jihadist terror gangs have only been a sideshow. Their serious intention has been and will remain the overthrow of Syria’s legitimate head of the state, President Bashar a;-Assad, and the subjugation of Syrian people.
A commentator on RT channel said:” In Aleppo, the Russians and the Syrians managed to open three passages for civilians to leave the eastern part of Aleppo in a truce…and they opened two passages for the rebels, especially the ones that are affiliated with al-Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra, to leave as well and to prevent an escalation of the situation in Aleppo.”
From the events unfolding currently, it has been revealed that the western powers, the US, the UK and France, are most alarmed by the possibility of the Syrian Arab Army completing the liberation of Aleppo and moving on to bag ISIL’s last remaining stronghold. Both Damascus and Moscow have previously suggested that the US should coordinate the Raqqa campaign with them. Mark Toner, the spokesman of State Department said unequivocally: “There is no coordination. There is no plan to coordinate with either the regime or Russia in going after Daesh.”
The world saw green surrender buses leaving out of Aleppo last month as Russia brokered the deal with Turkey. There is a criticism about the divergence of interests of the two backers of Al-Assad – Russia and Iran. It has been stated that the liberation and evacuation of Aleppo has resulted in the rise of Russian influence but the real winner is Iran. It is said that since the Islamic revolution of 1979, this was the most assertive moment for Iran.
While these lines are being written down, TV channels are breaking the news of chilling attack on Monday (19th December) evening. The Russian ambassador Andrei Karlov has been shot dead by a police officer who shouted “Don’t forget Aleppo” as he pulled the trigger. At first sight it appears to be a backlash against Russian military involvement in the Syrian civil war. The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, said: “The crime that was committed is without doubt a provocation aimed at disrupting the normalisation of Russian-Turkish relations and disrupting the peace process in Syria that is being actively advanced by Russia, Turkey and Iran. “
Putin said that Russian officials would be dispatched to Ankara to investigate the killing. “We have to know who directed the hand of the killer,” he said.