We begin the day with what is looking more and more like the final fall of Aleppo.
The regime of Bashar al-Assad, Russia, Iran, and their affiliated militia are the ones responsible for what the UN called "a complete meltdown of humanity."
The battle for Aleppo is over.
Are you truly incapable of shame? Is there literally nothing that can shame you?
Aleppo has fallen. The city, formerly the most populous place in Syria, was the site of a major battle between Bashar al-Assad government and rebel forces. The rebels controlled the eastern half of the city, and Assad, the west.
The story of Syria's civil war is a story of flip-flops. Early on, it looked like the Assad regime was finished. Intervention by Iran and support by Russia helped prop them up. Then, the rebels backed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and several other sides turned the tides. And this happened a number of different times inside the conflict.
September 2015 was a turning point in the Syrian civil war. That's when Russia intervened directly for the first time. Russian air strikes began pounding rebels under the cover of hitting ISIS. Russian air strikes played a decisive role in allowing Assad to encircle Aleppo. The bombardment made it very difficult for rebels to operate freely, allowing Assad to move towards Aleppo and eventually encircle the city.
2015 年 9 月是敘利亞內戰的一個轉捩點。那是俄羅斯首次直接干涉。俄羅斯空襲開始假借打擊 ISIS 的名義猛攻反抗軍。俄羅斯的空襲是阿薩德得以圍困阿勒坡的關鍵角色。轟炸令反抗軍難以自由運作，使阿薩德能夠前往阿勒坡，最後並包圍這座城市。
A siege is a military tactic, where forces on one side surround the other side, including any civilians trapped in there, and deny supplies from entering the city. There was a grim logic to imposing a siege on Aleppo. If you deny rebels food and medicine, eventually they lose the physical and mental capability to fight. Assad's vicious siege worked as intended. The rebels collapsed, allowing Assad forces, with Iranian and Russian backing, to stream into eastern Aleppo. Almost immediately, reports of massacres started filtering out of civilians being killed on the streets, of women committing suicide to avoid being raped by Assad's forces.
It's hard to know how many were killed in this initial purge. We do know shortly after the siege was broken, an evacuation agreement was struck, allowing, again, an unknown number of civilians to escape into other territory—mostly to the city of Idlib, still in rebel hands. The United States had the military power to break the siege of Aleppo and prevent the city from falling, but doing so would've been extremely dangerous.
Role of the United States
For one thing, the United States would've needed to have coordinated with rebels on the ground, some of whom were extremists. For another, it would've meant that American planes would've been flying in hostile airspace, with Russian planes. If the United States were to engage Russian planes, that would mean a direct exchange of fire between two nuclear-armed powers—a risk that very few in Washington were willing to take. Third, even if the U.S. had temporarily broken the siege of Aleppo and prevented it from falling, it would've required a tremendous and open-ended commitment to prevent Assad from simply reimposing the siege after Americans left.
Whether or not you think an American intervention would've been worth the risks, there's no way to save Aleppo now. The city has fallen. And Assad's troops have gone in and committed untold atrocities, with who knows how many more left to go. The rebels have been dealt a devastating blow, one it's not clear they can recover from. This victory for Assad has been achieved with the support of two major international powers, Russia and Iran, and it has involved atrocities that are supposed to be prevented under international law. They fought horrifically—and they won. That's the lesson of Aleppo.
- 「支持、撐起」- Prop Up
Intervention by Iran and support by Russia helped prop them up.
- 「扭轉情勢」- Turn The Tide
Then, the rebels backed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and several other sides turned the tides.
- 「打擊、使受挫」- Deal A Blow
The rebels have been dealt a devastating blow, one it's not clear they can recover from.