Aleppo’s Fate

By Dr. Jan Best de Vries:



One hour a day access to electricity and water and insufficient food – that’s the daily fate of two million inhabitants of Aleppo in wintertime. Meanwhile the bombardments by the Assad regime’s fighter jets continue, his weak army being incapable after three years of controlling the city, notwithstanding the help it has from Hezbollah and Iranian auxiliaries on the ground. Here the troops of al-Nusra and the Islamic State occupy large districts in the eastern half of Aleppo, following the exodus of the freedom fighters of the Free Syrian Army last month. Only the western half of the town is occupied by the Syrian Arab Army. This stalemate is precisely like that in Kobane during the last three months, though in Aleppo it is on a much larger scale. The reason the anti-IS coalition initiated by the Americans refrains from bombing the IS-positions in Aleppo is clear: the risk that the fighter jets of Assad and those of the coalition might collide in the air above Aleppo is not unimaginable. Apart from this, that there is no reason why the coalition should help the Assad regime within the small western area of Syria where it still reigns against its opponents.

Thus the IS thugs can only be chased in territories from which Assad’s army has retreated. The United Nations should make a decision to rescue Aleppo’s inhabitants from starvation: henceforward there should be a no-fly zone above Aleppo, the biggest town of Syria and, in the western canton Afrin of Rojava, humanitarian drops of food and blankets should take place which can be brought over land to Aleppo to be divided, under UN supervision, among its non-combatant inhabitants. The area in between Afrin and Aleppo, now occupied by al-Nusra and IS, should – with the help of the international coalition in the air, led by the Americans – be cleared by Kurdish Peshmergas and other freedom fighters from all over the world. If nothing happens, the world is responsible for the unnecessary and undeserved deaths of two million women, children and men in Aleppo. A happy Christmas and Chanukah!

Dr. Jan Best de Vries is an archaeologist and historian, decipherer of the so-called Byblos Script from Aleppo and Alalakh (‘How to Decipher the Byblos Script’, Aspekt Publishers 2014, ISBN978-946-153-420-0)  

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