Time is short to save Aleppo

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIAL & COMMENTS -

IT’S hard to fathom the mis­ery and in­hu­mane con­di­tions now be­ing en­dured once again by those who re­main within the ru­ined city of Aleppo. Where once was a thriv­ing city of two mil­lion, some 400,000 now re­main, ek­ing out a sur­vival one day at a time as they en­dure bom­bard­ments and air strikes from Syr­ian forces aligned with the govern­ment of Pres­i­dent Bashar Al As­sad.

While a cease­fire is sup­posed to be in place, the reality is that the Syr­ian forces are slowly sur­round­ing the city, cut­ting off its vi­tal sup­ply lines into the hin­ter­land and Turk­ish bor­der. Food is scarce, med­i­cal sup­plies dwin­dling and those who dare re­main say that doc­tors and the most ba­sic med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties are be­ing tar­geted as res­i­den­tial neigh­bour­hoods en­dure bom­bard­ments. As Aleppo re­mains the last large bas­tion of anti-Al As­sad re­sis­tance. Take it, and Al As­sad knows his forces have ef­fec­tively won the civil war in the west. In the East, he still faces ISIS (Daesh), but oth­ers too are will­ing to do the fight­ing or lead the in­tel­li­gence war there. Diplo­matic ef­forts to end the mis­ery and re­store the cease­fire have shifted from Geneva, where US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry met with Saudi Ara­bia’s For­eign Min­is­ter Adel Al Jubeir and UN en­voy Staffan de Mis­tura, to Moscow. The reality is that Rus­sia’s in­flu­ence is largely the only ef­fec­tive way to pres­sure Al As­sad to stop the bloody as­sault. Kerry has de­scribed the sit­u­a­tion in Aleppo as be­ing “out of con­trol” — a damn­ing anal­y­sis. It’s a sum­ma­tion that also re­flects that as it stands now; in­ter­na­tional ef­forts to help end the fight­ing in western Syria are largely in ru­ins. — Gulf News

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