Reports from Aleppo confirm the Syrian army has resumed full combat operations after 8,500 civilians were evacuated yesterday from the city.
Meanwhile the Russian General Staff says that 1,000 Jihadi fighters have surrendered to the Syrian army and that the Syrian army now controls 93% of the former Al-Qaeda controlled pocket
“The government forces and militia units continue the operation to liberate Aleppo’s eastern districts from terrorists,” he said. “After a successful offensive, 52 neighbourhoods in east Aleppo have been recaptured from militants. In the past four days alone, the area held by gunmen has decreased by one-third. The Syrian army now controls 93% of the city’s territory.”
The Russian General Staff also says that civilians who have just been evacuated from eastern Aleppo are providing details of atrocities carried out by the Jihadis there, and that detailed records of these claims are being made by Russian officers at Russia’s Reconciliation Centre in Khmeimim air base
“Civilians who managed to escape from the terrorists, have been reporting on the new crimes carried out in eastern Aleppo by the so-called ‘moderate opposition’ militants. They have confirmed tortures, public executions and wanton killings.”
Care has to be taken before accepting such claims, especially in a conflict like the one in Syria which is being fought as much through propaganda as on the battlefield. However the past conduct of Jihadi fighters in Syria – especially when directed by groups like Al-Qaeda – unfortunately means that these reports are all too credible.
Perhaps not surprisingly, there are now reports – which Fars says are for once being supported by the UN – that the Jihadis are still trying to stop civilians from leaving eastern Aleppo.
Meanwhile discussions continue in Hamburg and elsewhere about the remaining Jihadi fighters leaving eastern Aleppo for Turkey. Yesterday reports circulated that they had all agreed to do so, and it seems that this was even confirmed by a Jihadi website that acts as an official mouthpiece for Al-Qaeda in Syria. However no sooner was this decision made than the Jihadis backtracked on it.
Here is what Russian Foreign Lavrov today has to say about all this dithering
“I think everyone understands that the militants in east Aleppo are agonising. We don’t want to support those who would gladly finish off those militants at any cost without any talks. We are ready to solve these problems in a way that would spare us additional casualties and destruction.”
In other words though the Syrians and the Russians are prepared to agree to let the Jihadis withdraw to Turkey in order to save themselves (not the Jihadis) “additional casualties and destruction”, they will agree to nothing less, and if the Jihadis don’t agree they will all be killed or rounded up where they stand.