Irreconcilable Aleppo: when Assad will take the city under full control


Sudden armistice

A truce in Aleppo was broken the next day after the announcement about it. On Wednesday morning, the correspondent of Al Jazeera Zukher al-Shimali said in his Twitter account that “the troops of the Assad regime resumed shelling of Eastern Aleppo”. By mid-day resumed air strikes on urban areas, writes The Washington Post, citing eyewitnesses. Anti-government forces took advantage of the truce, regrouped and resumed hostilities, confirmed the Russian centre for the reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria.

The news of the cease-fire in Aleppo came on the evening of 13 December. The Agency Reuters with reference to sources in the Syrian opposition and the government army announced that the truce was agreed with representatives of Russia. Later The Guradian wrote that negotiations with Russia were conducted by the representatives of Turkey, which supports the armed opposition in Aleppo. On Tuesday evening at a meeting of the UN security Council on the conclusion of a truce was announced by Russia’s permanent representative Vitaly Churkin, however, did not lead.

Russia and Turkey were the guarantors of the agreement on cease-fire in Aleppo, according to The Guardian. Sources of the British newspaper in the Turkish leadership and command of the rebels announced that peace talks were directly involved representatives of the Turkish intelligence and the Russian army. How to tell the interlocutors Reuters, arrangements were dissatisfied with Iran supporting President Bashar al-Assad.

The evacuation disrupted

In accordance with the agreement, civilians and insurgents had the opportunity to leave the city. According to the Syrian army, it was going to make about 15 thousand people, including 4 thousand combatants. It was expected that from 5 am (time in Syria coincides with Moscow) will start the evacuation of the wounded, civil, and wished to surrender combatants. However, even by mid-day this process has not begun. According to Reuters, it may be delayed until Thursday.

Opposition news Agency Aleppo24 notes that Shiite militias supported by Tehran tried to block the escape route, and at dawn on 14 December fired at the ambulance. Then the rebels began shelling the area of evacuation, which has been designed for this bus. In the result of a mortar attack, four persons were lost, 50 more got wounds of different severity, according to Syrian resource “Central military review” in his Twitter account.

The rebels with their families had to go to the town of Atareb on the border of the provinces of Aleppo and Idlib, said Al Mayadeen, the Opposition groups still retain control over some Eastern neighborhoods of the city with a total area of 5 sq km, there are currently about 50 thousand civilians, the newspaper reports.

Military background

The truce was preceded by significant successes of the government in parts of Aleppo. Earlier this week, the army of Bashar al-Assad continued to attack enemy positions. By December 13 under the control of the opposition had only four quarters — less than 5% of the territory controlled by rebels in the last six months.

On Monday evening a source Reuters in the Syrian army said that the complete expulsion of the rebels from Aleppo, Damascus might declare “at any time”. On Tuesday, representatives of the government assured that before the end of the military operation in the city there are “a few hours”.

However, on Tuesday afternoon deteriorated weather, due to heavy rain and high cloud stopped flights and, consequently, the progress of the Syrian army.

The talks were postponed

The capture of Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, will be the most significant military victory of President al-Assad and his allies, primarily Russia, says the Arabist and senior lecturer at the Higher school of Economics Leonid Isaev. However, to keep it under control will be difficult. The situation of Palmyra, which this week once again came under the control of the opposition, demonstrates that the Syrian army has insufficient resources to control the territory that it occupies. The weakness of the Syrian army, the total number of which does not exceed 90 thousand people, is a threat to Russia’s prestige, which is harder to get out of the conflict, the more that the success of Damascus are fickle, experts say.

“To speak of a complete victory is still early because the city is big, someone will leave, someone will come back and do it again this Palmyra, which was at first a concert and then took her back, should not be”, — said the expert of the Moscow Carnegie Center Alexei Malashenko.

The capture of Aleppo by the Assad army should be the end of “the search for a military victory” and not the beginning of a new military campaign in Syria, said Tuesday the UN Secretary-General ban Ki-moon.

However, there are no signs of revival of the negotiation process. The latest consultations between Russia and the U.S., last week in Rome and Germany, Sergei Lavrov called the “fruitless talks”. “Every time we agree on something then, Americans otrulivaet in the direction of the already reached agreements,” — said the Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia. According to him, the lack of progress in the negotiations is because Washington wants to bring the “Dzhabhat EN-Nusra”, banned in Russia, from the blow, and therefore calls on Moscow to declare a pause in hostilities. Its fighters, as previously claimed by Russian officials, Washington could then use to fight against Assad. Thus, according to the Deputy Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Ryabkov, to the end of the year the possibility of Russian-American talks at the level of heads of foreign policy departments.

More effective dialogue on Syria, Russia may be with Turkey, which has contacts with militants, the armed opposition in Syria, says Sergey Lavrov. To discuss the situation in Aleppo President Vladimir Putin will on Wednesday evening with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Pointedly disparaging statements, Lavrov confirmed that Moscow does not want to negotiate on Syria with the current US administration, says Leonid Isayev. The inauguration of President Donald trump is scheduled for January 20, and by this time Russia should convince Assad that the to continue the military offensive in other parts of Syria should not be, and need to focus on keeping the conquered, he said.

To expect a positive outcome from the talks on Syria are unrealistic, they will not until the inauguration of the trump, and the further development of events depends on the approach of the new US administration. And it is possible that trump will choose the tactics of distancing from the Syrian perspective, says Alexei Malashenko.

Fruitless Security Council

13 Dec in the evening Moscow time, a meeting of the UN Security Council. It was convened at the request of Britain and France.

The grounds were reports of mass killings of civilians by the Syrian army. The office of the UN high Commissioner for human rights reported on Tuesday, citing witnesses, that in one only the previous day received reports of 82 killed without trial in Eastern Aleppo civilians — on the street and in their homes.

The meeting ended without taking any decision.

With the participation of Angelica Basisin

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