Aleppo & Homs, A Tale of 2 Cities

Aleppo and Homs, he largest and third largest cities in Syria have been severely impacted over the last 6 years by the ongoing war. The destruction is horrific.   Finally, however, there is peace in which to think about rebuilding.   The opportunity exists to look around and evaluate the damage, and to begin to  think about rebuilding.    Below I have posted 2 very different short videos where the people who live in these cities explain what happened to them, and what activity is currently going on there.   Has restoration begun?  What will it entail?  When, if ever, do people plan on returning to these devastated areas?

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Aleppo in the Eye of the Storm

Reconciliation and the War in Aleppo

You probably thought, when you read my last post about imminent reconciliation in Aleppo, that I was bonkers. Indeed the war rages on in Aleppo. Not only is the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) moving to retake the Eastern side of the city, but the fighters in East Aleppo, with Al Nusra and ISIS flags at the forefront, are persistently bombing areas of West Aleppo that their weapons can reach. Numerous civilians have been killed and wounded in these attacks on strictly civilian areas including many children (RT News, October 14 – 17). There is no doubt that there are also civilian casualties in Eastern Aleppo where the fighting is actually occurring as reported in the Western media.

The latest from the Syrian war reporters is that the SAA now holds a number of critical hills around East Aleppo, and they are feeling confident of an imminent victory. The reconciliation message is popular in Syria and so the government is promoting it, just as the US style reconciliation imposed by international agreements among competing states is popular in the west, and the absence of that possibility is the source of endless one sided propaganda in our news. In fact, it is a very aggressive schedule to expect the reconciliation plan to work so quickly. However, the cards are on the table. Amnesty for fighters who lay down their arms, a bus trip to Idlib for those who do not wish to continue a hopeless battle but do wish to fight for independence, and a rout for the foreign mercenaries and extremists leading too relief for civilians and ongoing support from the government.

When we met with Ali Haidar, he told us that whenever the reconciliation is imminent the intensity of resistance rises. He also said that building the reconciliation is a slow process. This is surely a problem in Aleppo where they are under a great deal of pressure from the international forces that are vying for power in Syria. The Syrians and their Russian allies have once again called a unilateral halt to fighting so that civilians and the wounded can be evacuated to West Aleppo. I hope this time they will be allowed to leave, but it is certainly not guaranteed. Al Nusra leadership has rejected the offer to leave Aleppo under international protection. The issue of sorting FSA moderates from Al Qaeda is once again on the table, though that too has been repeatedly rejected.

Meanwhile, the US is currently engaged in a battle to retake Mosul, Iraq from ISIS. Along with the Iraqi Army, Shia militias from the south and local Sunni militias, the Kurdish Peshmerga and Turkish forces, there are 1500 Americans in this battle as ‘advisors’. Shades of Vietnam. The coalition is not stable. Unlike the Syrian coalition, which is composed of allied forces, this is an ad hoc coalition of opportunity. The Sunni and Shia militias don’t trust one another. The Peshmerga expect to be repaid in villages given over to Kurdish governance, and Turkey has coveted Mosul since they lost it in the negotiations that ended the Ottoman Empire.

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Reconciliation for Aleppo?

A little bird just whispered in my ear that the Syrian Government is in the final stages of securing a Reconciliation plan for East Aleppo.

There are a few details to be resolved, but it appears that fighters who wish to continue fighting will be bused out of town, and civilians allowed to leave in safety so that the field will be clear for a final battle with foreigners and those determined to stand to the end.

Apparently there is also a deal on the table in the UN Security Council to rescue the foreign fighters of Al Nusra/Al Qaeda/Fatah Al Sham -.

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Basic Syria Information

Below are some links that lead to some articles with basic Syria facts.   Some of these writers, even after undermining much of the US propaganda on Syria, repeat harsh and biased western judgements as if it is just too dangerous to step entirely outside the Political ‘consensus’.  But, I trust my readers to separate factual presentations from the kind of reflexive judgements that keep one within the bounds of ‘mainstream analysis’ and are the foundation of the US drive for the destruction of the Syrian Republic.  Others stand proudly outside the Washington consensus.

 

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UNAC Statement on Syria, 9/26/16

The US has moved from supporting proxies to direct intervention in Syria. It is the second time in as many months that they have killed nearly 100 Syrians in an air raid. They have betrayed a long negotiated treaty and when confronted, US Ambassador Samantha Power dissembled and attacked the messenger. It is clear that the United States remains committed to overthrowing the internationally recognized government of Syria. Pentagon planners have shown no respect whatsoever for international law or for the United States diplomatic commitments in Syria. They hope to prevent any resolution before a new president is inaugurated.

US participation in the ceasefire was a sham and now the US continues to dissemble, buying time to reinforce their proxies and put more US soldiers on the ground. The Pentagon is sowing the seeds of open warfare against the legitimate government of Syria (and the threat of war with Russia) while exacerbating the horrific humanitarian crisis of the Syrian people.

The time to stop them is NOW!

Hands off Syria!

US Out of the Middle East!

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Aleppo Update

As i mentioned our visit was cut short by 24 hours maybe because they were worried that the Castello road to the north might close again, not sure.  Day before yesterday 2 suicide bomber vehicles were intercepted by air to ground missiles inside the northern perimeter of the western area of Aleppo.

Terrorist hell cannon activity has increased in response to the Russian and Syrian strikes particularly in the Ramousie area which is where the terrorists claim to have taken ground.  (Unfortunately, they did) The reports from inside Aleppo tell us the opposite, that the SAA lured terrorists out into the open before deploying air strikes which wiped out over 2000 terrorists.

Terrorists used chemical weapons in an attack on the old city on the 2nd August.  4 died including one REAL Syrian Civil Defense worker [not the fake White Helmets] and 25 women were affected by the toxic gas…described to be similar to Chlorine or Mustard.

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Russian Interests in the Syrian War

There are 2 schools of thought about what is happening in Syria.   One is that somehow this vicious war on the Syrian State and the Syrian people is being fought to save the Syrian people from some demonic force, to free them from oppression, and the organizationally fragmented extremist jihadi fighters who are driving it and their sponsors in Qatar and Saudi Arabia will somehow make an idyllic populist democracy there – if they suffer from poor taste that isn’t our problem.

The other is that the United States in her allies are attempting to destroy the last secular republic in the Middle East because popular governance is inconvenient,  and they will persevere at any cost to do so.    We need to look at the realities because the Syrian Arab Republic, however imperfect, is just that, the last secular republic in the Middle East with functioning (albeit weakened) public utilities and resources, and a government and military populated by people of all sects, regions and ethnicities across the country including a reasonable proportion of women.   Furthermore, Russia and Iran are on the sidelines giving more or less support and weighing the risks of a bold confrontation with the United States.  No sane person wants to trigger another world war.   How far should they let this go?

While the Mainstream media is bleeding over endlessly looped  one sided stories of the misery of war and analysis that ignores the behavior of what are essentially occupying forces in many towns and cities of Syria, this is what is really going on in this war – right now.   As Americans, is this what we want our country to be doing?

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#AleppoBurning #Syria Propaganda in the West

#Aleppo is on fire, alright.   But, it doesn’t look quite the way the Western Mainstream Media reports it.      On April 28th, the New York times reported, Divided Aleppo Plunges Back Into War as Syrian Hospital Is Hit.   The article gives context to events in the first paragraph as follows: “as they reeled from government airstrikes that demolished a hospital in the insurgent-held side and from retaliatory mortar assaults by rebels on the government-held side.”    It goes on to quantify the casualties on the ‘rebel’ side and to give details of the destruction there.   Twitter is aflutter with #AleppoBurning and #AleppoHospital tweets castigating the government forces for violating the cease fire and attacking a hospital, ‘killing the last pediatrician in Aleppo’.

I don’t know about the strike on the hospital.   I don’t know if the hospital was a hospital before the war, and if not, it it was identified as a hospital for forces.  The claim is that it was, in which case there is not justification for bombing the site.   However, the context of this report is all wrong.   The bombing of the hospital was not the beginning of this battle, nor a peremptory violation of the cease fire.  And though it is a tragedy that people were killed, that a doctor was killed,  the doctor. was not the last pediatrician in Aleppo nor can we be certain that the majority of casualties occurred among the U.S. supported fighters and their families  holding a small portion of the city in Eastern Aleppo.

According to a journalist in Aleppo writing under the name Edward Dark, there are 2 million people in the government held portion of Aleppo, and 200 thousand in the so called ‘rebel held’ area, which he claims is populated by Al Nusra and their associates. Constant shelling over the last week of civilian areas in West Aleppo, the 75% of the city held by the government, have resulted in hundreds of civilian casualties.

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Aleppo Update on the Syrian Ceasefire

News from a friend in Aleppo:

Following the ceasefire, my associate wrote from his home in Aleppo  to update his friends in the west on the circumstances there.

Hopes for Syrian Cease Fire Dim as Turkey Shells Kurds
Hopes for Syrian Cease Fire Dim as Turkey Shells Kurds

-: Aleppo city is much more calmer since the beginning of the agreement, except for some violations that took place the first hours of the agreement, and yesterday at 21:50, when 2 mortars shelled on the government held area, followed by ambulance sirens around 22:00. In general, so far, Aleppo city is much calmer than before. No shells, no jets in the sky, no clashes. 80% better than before.

– Situation in Aleppo province didn’t change much, according to news. The terrorists attacked the liberated villages of Nobbol & az-Zahraa with rockets, but there were no casualties. In other areas of the province, fighting is still on going: SAA  (The Syrian Arab Army) vs. Nusra & Da’esh; Kurds vs. Turks from the borders; Kurds vs. Terrorists; terrorists vs. other terrorists… Violations of the ceasefire are from the terrorist groups and Turkey.

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