World has failed to stop carnage in Aleppo


Syrian army continues to make gains in Aleppo. On Wednesday regime forces took control of the Aleppo’s Old City as rebels retreated. Assad forces have retaken more than three-quarters of opposition territory since the offensive launched in November. More than 80,000 people have fled their homes in eastern neighbourhoods. After three weeks of fighting that has witnessed unprecedented aggression, the belligerent Syrian forces appeared closer than ever to retaking all of Aleppo.
The scale of destructions and loss of human lives in Aleppo operation pale all other military offensives. Residential areas have been bombed. Schools have been destroyed. Hospitals have been flattened. There is no working hospital left in Aleppo. Doctors and paramedics have been killed. The wounded people cannot get treatment and the dead cannot get burial as there is no room left for dead in the graveyards. And the bodies are rotting in streets.
Aleppo’s fall is imminent. Civilians are caught in the crossfire. If they stay, they will perish. If they flee, they will either live in uncertainty or will be tortured by regime forces.
The offensive showed no signs of slowing. Army is carrying out heavy shelling of the Al-Zabdiya neighbourhood and other territory still under rebel control in the southeast of the city.
And this shows how diplomacy and dialogue have taken a backseat. Allies-appeasement seems to be paramount. Diplomatic efforts to end the fighting have stalled despite widespread international concern. World powers have struggled to find a way to halt the fighting. Moscow and Washington are just trading accusations of blame as the innocent Syrians are dying without food, water and medicine.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday he would work for peace talks to restart. “We have been trying to find a way to get to the negotiating table… but Assad has never shown any willingness,” Kerry said at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.
“Russia says Assad is ready to come to the table… and I am in favour of putting that to the test,” Kerry added.
Moscow is a key Assad ally and launched an air war in support of his forces last year, while Washington has supported rebel forces battling the regime. And reports have shown that elite Iranian forces are fighting alongside Assad forces too. In fact, Assad is not more than proxy for Russian and Iran.
Russia had announced talks with the United States in Geneva this week on organising a rebel withdrawal from Aleppo ahead of a ceasefire, but then Lavrov accused Washington of backtracking.
Kerry denied any change of plans and Washington itself accused Moscow of stalling after Russia and China blocked a UN Security Council resolution on Monday calling for a seven-day ceasefire.
The world should understand that this protracted war has inflicted Syrian with unprecedented scale of misery and suffering. There must be a ceasefire to give dialogue a chance to find a lasting solution. The United Nations Security Council’s resolution for the truce was a right step in this direction. But Russia once again vetoed the move. Moscow has exercised its veto six times. China has used this for five times.
The UN resolution would have given the ordinary people a breather. People are desperate to escape the madness of war. They want food. They want shelter and medicines. The resolution would have given them a respite from monumental suffering.
But peace seems to be a distant thing for Syrians. World powers seem just not ready to sit together and find a solution to catastrophic war. The leaders are just trading accusations. Nobody is ready to cut this Gordian knot. Meanwhile, Syria is gradually becoming a ‘hell.’

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