leppo was once Syria’s second largest city, with 2 million inhabitants. Aleppo, or “Halab” in Arabic, is one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities, being mentioned in Egyptian texts from the 20th century BC. However, after nearly five years of civil war, it is estimated around 300,000 inhabitants remain in the rebel-held area of the city
Syria’s brutal civil war, has raged for over five long years and has pitted Russia, Iran and Hezbollah -backers of Syria’s president Assad- against an anti-Assad armed opposition (which includes the Islamic State) backed by the US its NATO allies, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel.
The UN special envoy for Syria estimated that 400,000 people have been killed during the past five years of civil war, though it is not an official UN statistic.
According to reports the city of Homs, the third largest in Syria and once home to a population of over 800,000, has been completely destroyed.
Desperate parents carrying infants, the aged trundled in wheel chairs, fear-filled faces of children fleeing what appears to the final battle for Aleppo –Syria’s second largest city- sear the mind. Rebel-held Aleppo seems condemned to a fate similar to that of Homs.
It is sad the UN with its highly paid staff of ‘experts’ in peace-making, has been reduced to being a spectator on the sidelines, vis-a-vi the Syrian civil war. The founding fathers of the UN itself are all directly involved in the ongoing violence in addition to supporting the antagonists to the conflict with weapons of death and destruction. To make matters worse the UN, which was set up to preserve peace among nations seems to view armed intervention by nations as an extension of the political struggle by other means.
The imposition of a no-fly zone during the Libyan crisis by the UN helped implement western nations plans for regime change in that country, but left Libya a dysfunctional state that has neither stabilized nor unified since Gadaffi was overthrown in 2011.
On November 30, the UN Security council held an emergency meeting on the humanitarian situation in Aleppo, with a UN worker describing it as a “descent into hell”.
Experts from diverse human rights organizations inform us that the death and destruction being unleashed in Syria, will only lead to a radicalization of local populations subject to the indiscriminate violence perpetrated on them.
But history teaches us otherwise… the firebombing of Tokyo, the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the carpet bombing of Dresden and other German cities by the US and Britain during World War II did not lead to a radicalisation of either the Japanese or the Germans.
The present violence being unleashed on Syrian people will not lead to a radicalisation of its population. It will only lead to more deaths, suffering and destruction in Syria.
What the conflict in Syria does expose is the cynical, calculated, disregard of human costs in the ongoing conflict in favour of an outcome sought by the different powers.
Western powers fear the fall of Aleppo strategically situated in proximity to the Turkish border will cut the lifeline for the flow of food arms to the insurrectionists in rebel-held Aleppo. If Aleppo falls the rebels will be isolated to small pockets with no lifeline to western arms and food supplies and hopes for setting up a pliant pro-west parallel authority in rebel-held areas will be crushed.
The international forces backing one or other party to the Syrian civil war is least interested in the well-being of the Syrian people or their suffering.
Israel and the West want the large oil deposits situated in Syria’s Golan Heights, now occupied by Israel. Russia’s access to the Mediterranean depends on its naval bases in Syria.
It cannot afford regime change.
Overcoming Syria’s tragedy requires facing up to its roots-basically an internal problem- which has to be worked out by the Syrians themselves.
Unless and until the external forces leave Syria and stop intervening in its affairs Syria will be doomed to more bloodletting and there can be no hope for peace.