Syrian government forces have recently made major advances in Aleppo, fully encircling various anti-government groups including ISIS, al-Nusra Front and the Free Syrian Army in eastern Aleppo.
Full control of Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, is of extreme strategic importance for the outcome of the war as it is located very close to the border of Turkey to the north, on the main supply route of weapons and fighters from Turkey into Syria. For years, the eastern part of Aleppo has been held by Sunni extremist terror groups like ISIS, the al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra Front and NATO backed FSA.
On July 27, Syrian government forces captured Kastello road, cutting off the last supply route to eastern Aleppo. The following day, the government forces captured the Bani Za’id neighborhood and al-Liramoum industrial zone in northern Aleppo’s countryside on the supply route to Turkey. In Bani Za’id, the Syrian Army seized a large warehouse filled with U.S. and Turkish made weapons and ammunition including anti-tank missiles, launchers and hand grenades.
Other warehouses stocked with homemade howitzers, also referred to as “Hell cannons” and large numbers of gas canisters were also discovered. Both areas were used by the opposition groups to launch mortar and missile attacks into the residential areas of the city held by the government. In al-Zahraa neighborhood, an al-Nusra Front command center was destroyed.
Upon the news of the liberation of Bani Za’id, thousands of Aleppo residents took to the streets in celebration, waving Syrian flags and chanting support for the Syrian government.
The Syrian government issued a decree granting amnesty to all non-foreign fighters who surrender. Following the decree, some of the groups affiliated with the Free Syrian Army are reported to have surrendered their neighborhoods to the Syrian government.
While a majority of Aleppo residents—more than a million—are in the government held parts of Aleppo, a large number of Syrians—up-to over hundred thousand according to some estimates—are trapped in eastern Aleppo under the control of terror groups.
In coordination with the Russian military, the Syrian government established four humanitarian corridors to help the evacuation of civilians trapped in eastern Aleppo as well as to provide food and medical aid.
The governor of Aleppo province Mohammad Marwan Olabi stated that opposition militants were blocking families from leaving eastern Aleppo. There were reports of civilians attempting to leave Bustan al-Qasr district being fired at by the anti-government fighters.
On July 31, in an attempt to break the entrapment in eastern Aleppo, a number of terror groups including the Islamic State, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as al-NusraFront), Ahrar al-Sham and smaller al-Qaeda affiliated groups operating under the FSA (Free Syrian Army) umbrella launched a major joint offensive against government held areas in southern Aleppo. The Syrian government forces were able to push back the attack.
Western media silent on the massacres of civilians by U.S. and French airstrikes in northern Syria
At this critical juncture when the NATO-backed terror groups are about to be defeated in Aleppo, it is no surprise that the Western imperialist governments and their corporate media are deploying the usual “regime versus the people” rhetoric in an effort to justify more imperialist intervention to “protect” civilians.
Following the advances by the Syrian government in Aleppo, the U.S. embassy in Russia tweeted:
“Russia and the regime are using provision of food and aid as incentives to abandoning the city to regime control.”
The foreign ministry of France issued a statement that said:
“In this context, the idea of ‘humanitarian corridors’ consisting of asking Aleppo’s residents to leave the city does not offer a credible response to the situation.” Nothing but sheer hypocrisy and arrogance from the two imperialist governments that are directly responsible for the massacre of hundreds of civilians in the month of July alone, in northern Syria in Manjib, a northern province of Aleppo, as they bombed away, brazenly violating the sovereignty of Syria.
Here is an account of U.S. led terror by the so-called coalition against the Islamic State:
- On July 18, an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition in Manjib killed 21 civilians.
- On July 19, French warplanes bombed the town of Toukhan Al-Kubra near the Turkish-Syrian border, killing more than 120 civilians.
- On July 28, 45 civilians were killed and dozens were wounded in Ghandour outside Manjib in U.S. airstrikes.
- On July 29, a U.S. airstrike hit a maternity hospital in Idlib at a time when medical operations were underway. The number of civilians injured or killed in this cowardly airstrike on a hospital that serves over 1300 women and performs over 300 deliveries a month is still unknown.
In a letter to the U.N., following the earlier massacres, the Syrian government said:
“[Syria] condemns, in the strongest terms, the two bloody massacres perpetrated by the French and U.S. warplanes and those affiliated to the so-called international coalition, which send their missiles and bombs to the civilians instead of directing them to the terrorist gangs.”
Al-Nusra claims to break ties with al-Qaeda in an effort to pose as “moderate”
Following the recent negotiations between U.S. and Russia for a potential joint effort against terror groups in northern Syria, al-Nusra Front announced that it was breaking its ties with al-Qaeda and changing its name to Jabhat Fatehal-Sham (Front for the Conquest of Syria). This is simply an attempt by the U.S.to re-brand al-Nusra, one of its terror proxies on the ground fighting to overthrow the Syrian government as “moderate” opposition in the hopes of shielding it from the Russian airstrikes.Unlike the U.S. coalition against IS, Russia conducts airstrikes against all terror groups in Syria, in coordination and at the request of the Syrian government, conforming to international law.
While al-Nusra can change its name to whatever form that may be deemed more palatable for the Western public’s consumption, the simple fact that it is still a Sunni extremist terror group in the service of U.S. imperialism remains the same.
While the western corporate media and imperialist governments spin the story in an effort to turn reality upside down, it is a fact that a very large majority of the population across all sectors of Syrian society are firmly behind their government. It is also a fact that were it not for the U.S.-led imperialist support of terror groups—“moderate” or not, Jabhat al-Nusra or Jabhat Fateh al-Sham—the battle for the liberation of Aleppo and the whole war in Syria would have come to an end much earlier with much less loss of life and destruction. In whatever “humanitarian” pretext it is framed in, U.S.imperialism’s interventions never result in anything but utter devastation any place it lays its hands, whether it is in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria or elsewhere.
As progressives and revolutionaries in the U.S., it is imperative that we continue to reject the demonization of the Syrian government and defend the right to self-determination of the people of Syria, especially given the possibility of a proven war-criminal and war-monger such as Hillary Clinton becoming the next “commander-in-chief” of U.S. imperialism.
U.S./NATO/France hands off Syria!