The genocide at Aleppo is a stain on the world’s conscience. And it will likely go unpunished

A man pushes a woman on a cart as they flee deeper with others into the remaining rebel-held areas of Aleppo, Syria. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail
A man pushes a woman on a cart as they flee deeper with others into the remaining rebel-held areas of Aleppo, Syria. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail
The slow, painful fall of Aleppo will not, unfortunately, mean the end of war in Syria. It won’t even mean the end of the slaughter of helpless civilians. Still, as Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told the Security Council on Tuesday, Aleppo will stand with the 1994 genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda, the 1995 siege of Srebrenica and the 1988 gas attacks against Iraqi Kurds in Halabja as events in world history that “define modern evil, that stain our conscience decades later.” And it will in all likelihood go unpunished.

Since the Arab Spring protests in Syria descended into civil war more than five years ago, the number of atrocities there has been stunning, from the use of chemical weapons by the regime of President Bashar Assad, to the targeting of civilians by nearly all combatant armies (though overwhelmingly by the Syrian government forces), to the unforeseen rise of the Islamic State with its barbaric executions of innocent people. Since the war began, an estimated 400,000 people have been killed, some 4.8 million have fled the countryand 6.6 million more have been internally displaced.

The siege of Aleppo has come to symbolize the Syrian civil war’s numbing brutality. The city had served as a main base for rebel forces since just after the war began, and it became Assad’s prime target after Russia entered the war on his behalf. Pro-Assad forces, including Iranian-backed militias, surrounded Aleppo in July, shut off supply and escape routes for the rebels (who were lumped together under a broad “terrorist” label), and, with the help of Russian jets, have turned rebel-held sections of the city to rubble. A Turkey-brokered ceasefire fell apart this week almost before it started. And as the pro-government forces advance, international monitoring groups say, civilians have been murdered indiscriminately.


The siege of Aleppo has come to symbolize the Syrian civil war’s numbing brutality

Assad clearly shoulders the primary blame for this, but Russia bears a load as well. Russian President Vladimir Putin intervened on behalf of the despotic Assad, a longtime military ally, for strategic reasons: Russia’s only eastern Mediterranean land presence is a base in Syria. Furthermore, intervening so decisively in Syria signals that Russia is a global power to be reckoned with — a message that resonates politically at home, and is in line with Putin’s global ambitions. Throughout, Russia has insisted that it is interested only in curtailing the spread of terrorism and bringing peace to Syria. But instead of forcing Assad to find a negotiated political settlement to the conflict, Putin has dangled ceasefires that went nowhere while helping Assad regain territory through the use of horrific violence. Russia has saved the regime from what seemed only year ago to be a looming defeat.

The usual place to seek resolution to such conflicts is the U.N. Security Council. But each of the five permanent members has a veto, which means that Russia has been able to block the council from even condemning the atrocities in Syria, much less imposing sanctions or other measures. It similarly will be able to block any efforts to refer war crimes committed during the conflict to the International Criminal Court for prosecution.

So where does that leave those who still hope for peace? It’s unclear. With the fall of Aleppo, the rebel groups’ bargaining position weakens even further. Whether that can lead to more fruitful peace negotiations is unknowable; as the rebels weaken, Assad has less reason to seek a political solution. But he should, if not for the sake of his own citizens, then for the sake of having a shred of a country left. International leaders should increase the pressure on both Assad and Putin to bring the war to a close as quickly as possible, with as few additional deaths as possible, so that attention can turn more fully to eradicating Islamic State.

No one knows what approach President Trump will take, but we hope that his planned re-start of diplomatic relations with Putin will not mean acquiescence. Unless Assad and Putin plan on killing every single person opposed to the Syrian regime, the only solution to this debacle remains a political one. And the longer the world lets it go on, the darker will be its legacy.

Source: LA TIMES Editorial Board

  • HebAlba

    Enough fake news La Times.. shut it it’s past ridicule
    First it was the last Hospital, the last Doctor, the last Ophthalmologist, the last Clinic
    Now it’s the last letter, the last interview, the last message, Bana cries for help tonight
    i will die.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVavSHSAN48

    • 5thDrawer

      As the UN guy from New Zealand said: “We can’t get anyone in there that we know, with some experience and verity, that we can get real and honest reports from.
      For example, not even from the Red Cross/Crescent.
      HOW can sit here debating anything, and how can we make ANY decisions?”

  • HebAlba
  • 5thDrawer

    After 6 years, all the words continue to come from all the wars of words in a past, and will be quoted and or ‘enlarged’ upon by greying kindly grandfathers regaling the children at their knees, around the campfires they scrabble for wood to feed, when there is daylight visible.
    The Heroes – looked upon as ‘wise’ to have lived that ‘moment’ and survived it, will meet in Clanish Cermonies on occasion, to verify that ‘others’ still exist in pockets of some lands, and plan how to react if those, when met, have different physical anomalies.
    Pious ones will define “modern evil” to be added to the later tales … and then dialogues about how to present those to the ones not taught now about books – least they be educated too well, and thus saddened.
    The tellers of tales drone on until the children’s eyes close in dreams of new foods they may find sheltered under a tree … “estimated 400 thousand” becomes 1,000,000 … “some 4.8 million” … “6.6 million more” … and the kindly grandfathers decide to not mention that was only half of what was before, or that some still die every day, or that the children are the “internally displaced”.

    In other lands, the tellers of tales drone on …
    “with as few additional deaths as possible, so that attention can turn more fully to eradicating Islamic State.” … after certain necessities and other things are decided about “more fruitful peace negotiations”, and what THAT means. Next year the children may receive fruits in a sock – but as has been decided, “the only solution” for them “remains a political one.”
    Kindly story tellers have not yet “defined” that for the children either.
    And “war crimes committed during the conflict” will be a topic, if there’s any around the campfires, of future generations.

  • HebAlba

    Stop crying for your pipelines and Al Nusra LA Times
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S83VT2xCvsU

  • HebAlba

    Fake and faker RFL..BREAKING: At Least 14 US Coalition Military Officers Captured by Syrian Special Forces in East Aleppo Bunker’

    http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/12/16/reports-at-least-10-nato-military-officers-captured-by-syrian-special-forces-this-morning-in-east-aleppo-bunker/

    • 5thDrawer

      Yes indeed … Season of ‘Weird’ is going to eclipse Christmas again in some places. Trying to ignore it all for a couple of days is probably best for ‘reflections’ – and re-loading for the ‘next rounds’ stays in many minds instead. Not all of it the ‘secrets’ will come out in the White-Washing and ‘toning down’ of events, by those who wish perhaps they hadn’t, by this time. The ‘webs’ of intrigues, and obvious exclusions of some realities, are so thick by now that many wonder what ever happened to any ‘morality’ anywhere.
      Even trying to practice it becomes a ‘fault’ by simple association with a few one never really knew.
      We may continue to believe it’s only a few … for a while … and express some ‘Hope’.

  • Francis Chin

    The origin cause for the situation in Aleppo is Obama. Against the recommendation and advice of the US military and his own staff, he refused to lift a finger to help the Syrian rebels. He refused even to send them arms. All he did was to make moral-sounding speeches.

    • HebAlba

      O the poor ‘rebels’ are not Syrians Chin Chin, they use their own child as suicide bombs
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8d93ab38e6d68a7f49259a3c4a5e7154183a398deea27be4cdb924f6ed977f63.jpg

    • Omega

      Over a billion dollar worth of weaponry was sent to anti-Assad groups in Syria. Besides, have you forgotten the Benghazi snafu?

      • MekensehParty

        a billion dollar is what Iran is spending every month in Syria
        and another billion per month by Russia
        not counting what you and your family contribute monthly to the cause
        That’s a total of more than 100 billions in 5 years
        http://www.learnmathematics.com

        • Omega

          I deduce you support ISIS.

          I’d like to point you to a website about man-ing up but like sports, it cannot be learned in books/writings.

        • Omega

          I had to read your silly comment again. Two billion/month? Come again?

          I won’t dwell on your lack of logic or critical thinking but I can deduce you support ISIS.

          I’d like to point you to a website about man-ing up but like sports, it cannot be learned in books/writings. Even less so logic and critical thinking.

        • Omega

          I had to read your silly comment again. After ‘checking’ the number, I come to realize the Iranian military expenditure in Syria is all over the place. Some say it’s a couple to few billion per year while others claim up to $100B so far. The Obama Administration disagrees with the high numbers to say it’s very low. Russia’s expenditure is more coherent at an average of $3M/day – that’s about $1.3B since they entered the war 450 days ago – not $1B/month as you claim. All in all, low numbers next to the US’ waste of several trillion on their bogus war on terror – which, ‘somehow’ resulted in a phenomenal increase in terrorism.

          I’d like to point you a website where you can learn to be less bigoted but like sports, it cannot be learned in writings or books.

          Merry Christmas? Not sure if you celebrate since you seem so found of ISIS.

          • Rudy1947

            Iran has banks.

          • Omega

            About 8 days left in 2016. You’re right on time to make the Comment of the Year.

          • Rudy1947

            Just did……did you like it?

          • Omega

            Not sure if you just did yet. You and the German with several usernames (OhYeah/Matrix/O’Matrix/annodazumal) are finalists for the Award.

          • Rudy1947

            You haven’t, that’s for sure. BTW, I have German heritage……hmmmm.

          • Omega

            Not sure if you realize but the fact that I haven’t is a compliment.

            What exactly am I suppose to make of your German heritage statement?

          • Rudy1947

            Silence is nothing, for some that’s a compliment.

          • 5thDrawer

            Weird, eh?
            We usually liked or enjoyed them – but called them ‘block-heads’ for the ‘single-minded’ obsessions to work on a ‘good build’ with perfections. :-))) Pedantic, perhaps.

          • Omega

            The Germans? When it comes to perfection, they are light years ahead. One of the, if not the, most industrious people on Earth. A great read on the subject: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-18868704

          • Omega

            Germans or German trolls? I guess both can have an obsession to work on a ‘good build’. 🙂 Just look at one and the same OhYeah/Matrix/O’Matrix/annodazumal. (laughing)

            For the rest of them, they’re one of the most industrious people. A good read on the subject: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-18868704

          • HebAlba

            Oh why, oh why every time i come here you’re occupied dealing with el hawa..

          • HebAlba

            So what… kha kha.. Kraut, don’t forget your Polish heritage.

          • HebAlba

            Ah… (OhYeah/O’Matrix) Asommants

          • 5thDrawer

            Ah well …. everyone seems to ‘estimate’ for one reason or another – buildings usually begin as a ‘bargain’ in construction costs, for example. :-))
            And estimating the cost of the night of merriement at the Bar changes with the flow of fine wines, and the later-evening ladies. ;-)))
            We CAN enjoy Christmas – and leave the numbers for a more sobering set of ‘charts’.
            Cheers to Mek too. 😉
            (February has ‘Blahs’ because the bills come in … ;-0! .. Not just the extra snows.)

    • MekensehParty

      This is what the rebels refused before Obama took all these decisions that you’re rightfully mentioning
      – They refused to give the rightful place of truly moderate elements in the opposition
      – They refused to cut ties to terrorists organizations like Qaeda, Isis and Nusra
      – They refused to promise that should assad fall they’d protect the rights of minorities
      – They refused to commit to a secular new constitution
      – They refused tp commit to a democracy that would replace assad
      – They of course refused to make peace with Israel
      They kept refusing every single demand that would make the Americans WANT to help them
      So why would he arm and support a bunch like that?
      On the other hand look at the powerful help and assistance given to the Kurds who accepted America’s demands. 300-400 Kurdish fighters stood unbent in Kobani against the full power of Isis, and a Turkish blockade.
      In wars and politics, one have to give and take. The rebels wanted all, but refused to give not even the minimum.

      • 5thDrawer

        On this I can agree to a large extent … no room was given to some ‘admissions’ of what was really needed – going to some new ‘states of mind’, rather than ‘land-states’ with Tribal jealousies.
        ‘Agreeing’ to some ‘give&take’ by all, was for a short time-period, seeing Europeans being happier and managing their individual lives well, until a ‘few’ decided they simply wanted ‘more’, and ‘faster’, and with extra ‘bits’ added to their portions.
        When asking ‘More, please Sir.’, the ‘please’ was left out, as much as the ‘standard measure’ was threatened with being reduced for the rest. The ‘Head-Master’ sensed the silence waiting in the rest of the crowd, and pounced. The brave soul trembled … And the two ‘cities’ grew more apart.
        The ‘Beadle’ saw a chance – and ‘invited’ a world of orphaned poverty in, to sup on ‘the extra’, which had to be actually purchased somewhere – and drew his own extras from both.
        The ‘older concepts’ of what was ‘religious’ in the thoughts, has died in the greed.

        • MekensehParty

          جود

      • Omega

        ‘Rebels’, ISIS, al-Nusra, al-Qaeda, al-this, al-that are all one and the same. I hope you didn’t expect coordination between them. Most of them are poor, uneducated Sunni Muslims (from outside Syria) who came to fight in Syria in exchange for money and losing their virginity in raping women. Chanting the Moon God (Al Lah) gives them a delusional sense of righteousness – and makes it more theatrical for the West.

        The US did/does arm and support a bunch like that. Don’t forget the transfer of arms from Libya to Syria by the CIA for which Clinton lied about to Congress.

        Kurds have been used and abused by the West, like cheap mekensehs, since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in exchange of a land somewhere. The land never came but they keep fighting others’ wars like the donkeys they are.

        Lastly, in wars, one does not give, it only takes. Give and take comes with diplomacy.

      • Hannibal

        You did not mention that wiping out civilizations is the work of zionism and that Obama put the final nail in its coffin at the U.N. yesterday.

        • MekensehParty

          and yet, I bet you voted Trump…

          • Hannibal

            You bet wrong… I voted Bernie. 😛

          • MekensehParty

            Which means you voted for Trump…

    • HebAlba
    • man-o-war

      Trump and putty will do a lot more to help Aleppo and Syrian civilians. Just give it a little more time. January 20th will be here before you know it. #TrumpSarcasm

  • HebAlba

    La Times..not a word for your subhuman protégés Al Nusra and Co?l
    This will be a stain on the worlds conscience. The west sent rodents to Syria.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yW1rMAigVQQ

    • 5thDrawer

      Need a LOT more of those angry people saying it, and just as loud.
      We are doing the same about our ‘religious’ types who are satans of thought.

      • Hannibal

        Well said… Merry Christmas my Tripoli compatriot 😉

        • 5thDrawer

          Thank you Hannibal.
          These days I try to keep it a quiet and reflective time … even if one should listen to the small kids going nutso for half a day, and smile at their parents who had to wake at 6AM. :-)))
          Hope your weekend went well too.