Labels

SUPPORT JULIAN ASSANGE

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Why is the Liberation of Aleppo Key to the Resolution of the Syrian Crisis?

A picture taken on November 24, 2014, shows damaged buildings in the rebel-held Ansari disctrict of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.


© AFP 2016/ BARAA AL-HALABI
14:37 16.02.2016(updated 14:47 16.02.2016) Get short URL

The battle of Aleppo has involved a wide range of forces, from the Syrian Army to numerous rebel and jihadist groups; for the government, liberating Aleppo could mean the turning point in the Syrian civil war, while the militants consider Aleppo an important bargaining chip in negotiating Syria’s future.

Syrian government forces' tanks drive in the village of Tal Jabin, north of the embattled city of Aleppo, as they advanced to break a three-year rebel siege of two government-held Shiite villages, Nubol and Zahraa, and take control of parts of the supply route on February 3, 2016

© AFP 2016/ GEORGE OURFALIAN

Aleppo is one of the oldest cities in the world. It has been continuously inhabited since as early as the 6th millennium BC. Throughout its history, the city has played an important role in the region, serving as a major trade center. During the modern age, the city was part of the Ottoman Empire and was its third-largest populated city, after Constantinople and Cairo.

When Syria was established as an independent state, Aleppo was the country’s largest city and business center. As of 2011, its population was three million. Most of Syria's industrial facilities were concentrated in the city of Aleppo and its immediate suburbs, and employed 50 percent of country’s labor force.


A picture taken 17 March 2006 shows a general view of the historic Syrian city of Aleppo, 350 kms north of Damascus, with its landmark cytadel in the background.
© AFP 2016/ RAMZI HAUDAR

A picture taken 17 March 2006 shows a general view of the historic Syrian city of Aleppo, 350 kms north of Damascus, with its landmark cytadel in the background.
The nationwide protests which sparked in Syria in 2011 did not spare Aleppo. Protests and meetings in Aleppo started in August 2011, and were held under the flags of both opposition forces and supporters of President Bashar Assad.

However, the level of violence gradually increased. A series of terrorist attacks rocked the city, and the authorities launched an anti-terrorist campaign which was portrayed as "oppressive" by some Western media sources.

A Syrian woman holds a sign calling for the arming of rebels as civilians and Free Syrian Army members march during a protest against the regime in the northern city of Aleppo on October 5, 2012
© AFP 2016/ TAUSEEF MUSTAFA

A Syrian woman holds a sign calling for the arming of rebels as civilians and Free Syrian Army members march during a protest against the regime in the northern city of Aleppo on October 5, 2012

Combat activity started in Aleppo in July 2012, when militants launched an offensive on the city. After fierce street battles, in spring 2013 the Syrian Army and militants carved out their own respective regions of the city.

Residents push a cart near al-Shaar bridge in Aleppo's al-Shaar neighborhood, Syria, January 19, 2016. Picture taken January 19, 2016
© REUTERS/ ABDELRAHMIN ISMAIL

Government forces captured the western part of Aleppo, including its landmark citadel and almost half of its surroundings. In turn, the militants seized the eastern parts of Aleppo. The city is located only 45 kilometers from the Syrian-Turkish border, so militants were able to receive supplies directly from Turkey.

For more than a year, both sides mainly tried to maintain their positions, without engaging in large-scale clashes. At the same time, the industrial areas of Aleppo became a battlefield. By February 2015, the Syrian Army had managed to partly surround the city.

Since the beginning of the civil war, Aleppo has been home to a large number of foreigners, due to its proximity to Turkey. Daesh field commanders such as Abu Omar al-Shishani and Muslim Abu Walid Shishani are known for having taken part in the fighting in Aleppo.

Rebel fighters from the First Battalion under the Free Syrian Army take part in a military training on June 10, 2015, in the rebel-held countryside of the northern city of Aleppo
© AFP 2016/ BARAA AL-HALABI

Rebel fighters from the "First Battalion" under the Free Syrian Army take part in a military training on June 10, 2015, in the rebel-held countryside of the northern city of Aleppo.

In addition to Daesh (ISIL/ISIS), the al-Nusra Front has been actively engaged in battles in Aleppo and its suburbs. Like Daesh, this terrorist group has recruited Islamic fundamentalist militants from all over the world. Its goal is to establish a Sharia-ruled state in the areas it controls, spreading terror among the 300,000 people who remain in Aleppo.

Other extremist groups active in Aleppo and its suburbs include the Islamic Front, Jabhat Ansar al-Din, and the Caucasus Emirate in the Levant. They cooperate with the so-called Free Syrian Army.

Residents push a cart near al-Shaar bridge in Aleppo's al-Shaar neighborhood, Syria, January 19, 2016
© REUTERS/ ABDELRAHMIN ISMAIL

Over the last few weeks, the Western media has emphasized that Aleppo is facing a humanitarian catastrophe. But there are many Syrian cities affected by the war which can be described in the same way. A humanitarian disaster has already happened in Homs, Deir ez-Zor, Aleppo and other cities.

While the Western media repeatedly airs footage of buildings lying in ruins, few acknowledge that the Battle of Aleppo has already lasted four grueling years. During combat, the electrical grid, water supply and sewage system were damaged. Power supplies were partly restored in the city in 2013, and the local power plant is now operated by a managing council formed by locals. However, the situation with the water supply still remains disastrous.

At the same time, food supplies to Aleppo have been more or less regular, but expensive due to a great number of risks.

All of the above proves that the humanitarian situation in Aleppo can be described as permanently catastrophic.

Recently, the Western media has reported that Russian airstrikes and Iranian forces have forced people to flee Aleppo. However, areas which remain under Syrian government control have already seen a massive number of internal asylum seekers arrive, fleeing the militants’ numerous atrocities. According to the UN, as of December 2015, 6.5 million refugees were internally displaced.

Syrian refugees are pictured in a camp as Syrians fleeing the northern embattled city of Aleppo wait on February 6, 2016 in Bab al-Salama, near the city of Azaz, northern Syria, near the Turkish border crossing.
© AFP 2016/ BULENT KILIC

Syrian refugees are pictured in a camp as Syrians fleeing the northern embattled city of Aleppo wait on February 6, 2016 in Bab al-Salama, near the city of Azaz, northern Syria, near the Turkish border crossing.

Currently, the developments around Aleppo are being heralded as a "turning point" in the Syrian civil war.

The first reports that Aleppo was going to be liberated appeared in autumn 2013. However, it was not that simple. Syrian forces have been gradually liberating Aleppo's suburbs. It seems that the strategy is to surround and blockade the city. Despite their efforts, much of Aleppo remains controlled by militants, and government forces have yet to completely encircle the eastern part of the city.

Turkish army's armored vehicles (File)
© AFP 2016/ BURHAN OZBILICI

Currently, two Syrian Army groups are advancing toward Aleppo from the north, from the cities of Nubl and al-Zahra. Their advances have been backed by Russian airstrikes. As a result, the city has been cut off from the northern part of Aleppo province. The Syrian Army also disrupted militants' supply lines from Turkey. Nevertheless, Islamists still control part of the Syrian-Turkish border in north-western Aleppo.

Furthermore, even is the Syrian Army manages to surround Aleppo, it may take months for them to regain control over the city. The army cannot assault Aleppo as it would cause numerous casualties among its residents.

The West and Turkey consider Aleppo a strong card for Syrian rebel groups to play during negotiations. Even though it is partly in ruins, control of such a large city could significantly boost their status in the Syrian peace talks.



Post a Comment

assange



At midday on Friday 5 February, 2016 Julian Assange, John Jones QC, Melinda Taylor, Jennifer Robinson and Baltasar Garzon will be speaking at a press conference at the Frontline Club on the decision made by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on the Assange case.

xmas





the way we live

MAN


THE ENTIRE 14:02' INTERVIEW IS AVAILABLE AT

RC



info@exopoliticsportugal.com

BJ 2 FEV


http://benjaminfulfordtranslations.blogspot.pt/


UPDATES ON THURSDAY MORNINGS

AT 08:00h UTC


By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

bj


Report 26:01:2015

BRAZILIAN

CHINESE

CROATIAN

CZECK

ENGLISH

FRENCH

GREEK

GERMAN

ITALIAN

JAPANESE

PORTUGUESE

SPANISH

UPDATES ON THURSDAY MORNINGS

AT 08:00 H GMT


BENJAMIN FULFORD -- jan 19





UPDATES ON THURSDAY MORNINGS

AT 08:00 H GMT

PressTV News Videos