Time is short to save Aleppo
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