Wednesday, 14 December 2016

What do we really know about what is happening in Aleppo?

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The siege of Aleppo is finally about over and the rebels have been defeated.

What I want to know is: why do the non-jihadi rebels continue the war?


The people who wanted democracy and freedom have surely realised by now that this is not on offer. I imagine there are much more visceral reasons for fighting like tribalism and religion.


It is clear we are being given an inaccurate account of events in Aleppo. There were no independent journalists in rebel-held areas.


What do we know about Aleppo? That there has been a terrible carnage, as in wars there always is. In England Tory politicians, Labour politicians, the right-of-centre Telegraph and the left-of centre Guardian want us to believe that the defeat of the rebels is a tragedy.
I find it repellent that most people who have strong views on Syria are not interested in Syria as such. 

Some love Israel, fear Iran and so oppose Assad. Some hate Israel and so support Assad. My Ukrainian Catholic priest friend understandably loathes Putin and so opposes Assad, even though the local Catholics back him.


Some of the British left side automatically with Russia and against America and Israel. More of the left assume the West should intervene to stop Russia, as do Hillary Clinton, George Osborne, William Hague and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. They have learnt nothing from overthrowing Saddam and Gaddafi.

Many Syrians in Western Aleppo are delighted that the rebels are defeated. Two Englishmen I know, who know the country well, tell me most Syrians, at least until two years ago, sympathised with the rebels. Lots of Syrian refugees, though, certainly back the regime. My Syrian Christian friends think the only alternative to a regime victory is endless chaos. Nuns in Aleppo are ecstatic that the rebel menace is gone.


The people of rebel held Eastern Aleppo were offered free passage by the government last month but chose to stay in the besieged half of the city. I wondered if they were in fact being held hostage by the rebels but an Aleppan friend (now in Bucharest) told me that they were free to go but stay because their homes and livelihoods are in Eastern Aleppo. I asked: how does life go on there? She said: nobody knows, but if they left they wouldn't be able to make a living.


For years the part of Aleppo loyal to the government was besieged by the rebels, though the siege was incomplete as the government side held the airport. The press in Western world did not invite us to sympathise with the people loyal to the government when they were besieged.


Here is something by someone called Jan Oberg from Facebook:
Have been to Eastern Aleppo for 5 hours, occasional shootings and Russians in the air.The destruction is worse than I had ever believed - having seen Sarajevo, Mostar and Vukovar.
And the big destruction is not from the air but street fighting - all facades destroyed but few whole buildings flattened.
And not one of many I talked with had seen White Helmets whereas the city today is filled with the red Syrian Arab Red Crescent whom I talked with at length.
People are happy beyond words to have been freed from Al Nushra's and other "moderate" forces' tyranny since 2012.No one on earth deserves what these people have been exposed to. No one!

Other voices say other things, of course. I encourage you to read news reports sceptically and decide for yourself.

10 comments:

  1. Yes! It has seemed to me that there were no good guys amongst the warring parties. I have emailed your post to Boris. Love Cuz

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  2. Paul I find myself in complete agreement with you. There is and probably never was any real choice in Syria between Assad and ISIS or some other fundamentalist Islamic regime. To the extent there is a moderate opposition to Assad I am sure it is regarded by the Islamists as (to quote Lenin) useful idiots. The policy of most western statesmen over these years has rested on pious hopes and words which I really hope they were not stupid enough to believe in. Regards Mark

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  3. White Helmets are aligned with Al-Nusra, this much is known.

    https://www.facebook.com/vanessa.beeley/posts/10154393309333868

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  4. The moderate Syrian opposition is also known as the imaginary friends of the Obama administration.

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  5. All i know is that the involvement of Russia is making this war to come to an end, finally... It's terrible what happens out there, but some from the west were comfortable sending weapons, aiding and encouraging so called "moderates" to start a war and now they complain about the outcome... So much hypocrisy is staggering...

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  6. Paul, I am firmly with you as regards the opinions expressed in your blog. It has been clear to me for a long time that the only reasonable outcome to the Syrian civil war would be a clear victory for the Assad regime. The only other outcome that seems possible is a continuing catastrophe of unrelenting hostilities based on religious and tribal differences. Assad is the lesser evil.

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    1. I do think that but an Englishman I met who lived in Damascus for 10 years until 2 years ago tells me most Syrians when he lived there sympathised with the 'moderate rebels'. My Syrian Christian friends who do not like the regime agree with you and me but they have at least one Christian friend who is among the rebels.

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    2. Nicely written post, but the last two long quotes are too long and you would have been better off summarising or coming to some conclusion at the end
      PN

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    3. Thank you. I wrote it very hurriedly and have taken your advice. I took out the parson's words - he was only repeating what his minders had told him.

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  7. All I know is that the involvement of Russia is making this war to come to an end, finally... It's terrible what happens out there, but some from the west were comfortable sending weapons, aiding and encouraging so called "moderates" to start a war and now they complain about the outcome... So much hypocrisy is staggering...
    Cătălin-Gabriel Stănescu

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