David Gardner writes: It looks as though Russia, having concluded that its Syrian and Iranian allies on the ground are unable to recapture rebel Aleppo, plans to raze it to the ground.
Moscow, whose nearly half century-long relationship with the Assad clan’s dictatorship has mainly been army-to-army, has had a year to conclude that the Syrian Arab Army has all but collapsed, and given way to a network of militias and private armies. A devastating assessment of the Assad army by a Russian military expert that appeared recently on a Kremlin-friendly outlet said “the Syrian armed forces have not conducted a single successful military offensive during the past year”, and echoed opposition claims they were basically running an extortion racket through a chain of sieges and network of thousands of checkpoints.
Unable to defeat an array of Sunni rebels, Russia has decided to destroy their civilian milieu on behalf of its Syrian ward, and drive them from the urban wasteland of what will constitute the perimeter of a rump Assad state in the coastal west of the country. All this amid the sort of double talk that enables Vitaly Churkin, the Russian envoy to the UN, to praise the Assad regime for its “admirable restraint”. Or, as Tacitus had it, “they make a desert and call it peace”. Will the world stand idly by in the face of this new Grozny, an extermination that will live in the annals of infamy? [Continue reading…]
The Washington Post reports: The two largest hospitals in the Syrian city of Aleppo were bombed Wednesday, knocking them out of service and worsening an already dire medical crisis in the besieged city, medical workers said.
Two patients were killed and three hospital staffers injured in the pre-dawn attacks, including a nurse and an ambulance driver, according to the Syrian American Medical Society, which runs hospitals in opposition-controlled areas of Syria.
Since a cease-fire collapsed last week, the rebel-held eastern portion of Aleppo has been subjected to what residents describe as the most intense bombardments yet of the five-year-old war, with waves of Syrian and Russian airstrikes sending sometimes hundreds of injured people streaming to the city’s few remaining hospitals in a day. [Continue reading…]