A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

End Game in Aleppo?

The sudden and unprecedented advance of Syrian regime forces into northeastern Aleppo in recent days seems to mark the collapse of the anti-Asad rebel groups that have been holding out there, especially Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra). A victory by the regime and its allies is likely to come at great cost; eastern Aleppo has already suffered horribly from bombing and the systematic targeting of hospitals. And while Syrian forces have been de facto cooperating with the Kurdish YPG and Turkish backed elements, he very different end games envisioned by those three elements may lead to new conflicts.

Once the regime recovers the ruins of this once great city, it will control the major cities of Syria, the "useful Syria" it considers sufficient to assure its survival. It will have recovered Aleppo through the unchallenged and unrestrained application of Syrian and Soviet air power. The chimaera of a no-fly zone is long since moot, rendered so by direct Russian intervention. There will be plenty of guilt to go around for the destruction of a great city; the West is hardly free of guilt, but the Asad regime and its Russian and other allies have the largest amount of blood on their hands.


Anonymous said...

Seems the Russians met with leaders from the rebel groups in Alanya, Turkey and presumably some of the MB-dominated overseas opposition to talk about what comes next in terms of a peace agreement. All was gong well until Erdogan, back in Ankara, had one of his fits of anger, and went back to a previous understanding...that this was all about defeating Assad. The talks stopped until it was "all cleared up" and talks continued.

I assume the Turks are going to drive a hard bargain to let that country achieve some kind of peace, not to mention the Saudis. What they will do with Fath al Sham is going to be a challenge since changing names and claiming to be no longer part of the global jihad doesn't make you less AQ-ish, especially if you have been accused on plotting and carrying out attacks in the West.

Interestingly, Eric Trump was not far away from Alanya, hunting for wild boar [or wild goat] depending on which report you read. He was with his/his father's Turkish BFF from the Dogan family.

laguerre said...

Pity you don't find the jihadis deciding to hole up and defend themselves in the city of Aleppo, using the civilian population as protection, to be a matter of criticism.

Michael Collins Dunn said...


Of course I find it a matter of criticism, and have aid so frequently in the past five years.