“Russian and Syrian forces intensified their campaign on rebel-held areas around Aleppo that are still home to around 350,000 people and aid workers have said the city – Syria’s largest before the war – could soon fall.”
Can you spot what’s wrong with that quote, from a Reuters piece out today? Here’s the problem: “could soon fall” implies that Aleppo is on the verge of succumbing to enemy forces. It’s not. It’s already in enemy hands and has been for quite some time. What Reuters should have said is this: “…could soon be liberated.”
While we’ll be the first to admit that Bashar al-Assad isn’t exactly the most benevolent leader in the history of statecraft, you can bet most Syrians wish this war had never started and if you were to ask those stranded in Aleppo what their quality of life is like now, versus what it was like in 2009, we’re fairly certain you’ll discover that residents aren’t particularly enamored with life under the mishmash of rebels that now control the city.
In any event, Russia and Iran have encircled Aleppo and once it “falls” (to quote Reuters) that’s pretty much it for the opposition. Or at least for the “moderate” opposition. And the Saudis and Turks know it.
So does John Kerry, who is desperate to restart stalled peace negotiations in Geneva. The problem for the US and its regional allies is simple: if Russia and Iran wipe out the opposition on the battlefield, there’s no need for peace talks. The Assad government will have been restored and that will be that. ISIS will still be operating in the east, but that’s a problem Moscow and Tehran will solve in short order once the country’s major urban centers are secured.
As we noted on Saturday, Riyadh and Ankara are extremely concerned that the five-year-old effort to oust Assad is about to collapse and indeed, the ground troop trial balloons have already been floated both in Saudi Arabia and in Turkey. For their part, the Russians and the Iranians have indicated their willingness to discuss a ceasefire but according to John Kerry himself, the opposition is now unwilling to come to the table.
“Don’t blame me – go and blame your opposition,’” an exasperated Kerry told aid workers on the sidelines of the Syria donor conference in London this week.
Read more at Zero Hedge