The inability of the UN to provide aid during the current ceasefire in Aleppo, and of the people of eastern Aleppo to leave via the ‘humanitarian corridors’ provided for them, demonstrates the truth of what The Duran – notably our contributor Afra’a Dagher, who is Syrian and who writes from Syria – has been repeatedly saying: there are no “moderate rebels” in Syria.
The story of the Aleppo ceasefire and of the ‘humanitarian corridors’ can be told quickly enough.
The UN supported the ceasefire and sought to use the ‘humanitarian corridors’ to send aid convoys into eastern Aleppo. The Jihadis in eastern Aleppo fired at the convoys, and the movement of the convoys has stopped. The result is that no aid has got through.
As reported previously, the Russians and the Syrians reached an agreement for 900 Jihadi fighters to leave eastern Aleppo by way of the ‘humanitarian corridors’. However when these fighters attempted to do so, they were fired on by the more militant Jihadis belonging to Jabhat Al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch, which is in control of eastern Aleppo. The result is that this withdrawal of Jihadi fighters has also failed to take place.
A group of civilians also tried to leave eastern Aleppo through the ‘humanitarian corridors’. They too were prevented from doing so by the Jihadis in eastern Aleppo. Reports say that they then held an impromptu demonstration, which the Jihadis violently suppressed. That means the evacuation of civilians from the war zone of eastern Aleppo has also failed. As Afra’a Dagher has previously written, the Jihadis need the civilians to stay in eastern Aleppo so they can use them as human shields.
In a particularly gruesome incident, Jabhat Al-Nusra (ie. Al-Qaeda) publicly executed 14 individuals – 8 Jihadi fighters and 6 civilians – who attempted to leave eastern Aleppo by way of the ‘humanitarian corridors’, presumably as a warning to the rest.
To be clear every part of the above account depends on Russian, Iranian and Syrian news reports. However the UN appears to be corroborating it. The Western media is not refuting it, because it is not even reporting it. In view of this I presume it to be true.
The Russians have said they and the Syrians will extend the ceasefire till 8:00 pm local time tomorrow Saturday 22nd October 2016 in order to give it one more chance. However the Russians say another Jihadi force is being assembled outside Aleppo to launch yet another offensive against the city. That suggests the ceasefire will not be extended beyond Saturday.
The ceasefire has not materially improved the position of the Jihadis in Aleppo. The Syrians and the Russians remain in complete control of the Castello road and of the other access points to the city. There is no reason to think that any renewed Jihadi offensive will be any more successful than was the one which failed in August. The Jihadis in Aleppo continue to be trapped, unable to obtain reinforcements, or replenish their supplies.
What the ceasefire has however done is demonstrate not just the utter intransigence of the Jihadis in eastern Aleppo, but that Jabhat Al-Nusra – ie. Al-Qaeda – does indeed run the show there. Staffan de Mistura, the UN official who was recently claiming otherwise, has been proved wrong.
None of this of course is going to change the way the situation in Aleppo is being described in the Western media. There it will continue to be a story of defenceless civilians in a gallant besieged rebel city being brutally bombed by murderous Russians.
However in the UN Security Council and in the larger world where the narratives the Western media are busy spinning are coming increasingly to be seen for the elaborate fictions they all too often are, it is another matter.
There, once the fighting in Aleppo restarts (which it will), the Russians will have scored a point, reinforcing their position that they are contending in Syria with an intransigent and utterly ruthless enemy, and pointing to what happened during the ceasefire as further proof of this, and as a demonstration of the truth of what they say.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.