Monday, January 18News For London

Humanitarian tragedies amid Al-Assad forces control most of Aleppo

Al-Assad regime forces announced its control over more than 90% of Aleppo.


Al-Assad regime considered the battle of Aleppo is about to end after controlling more than 90 percent of the City’s eastern parts controlled by the opposition. “we are just moments away from victory.” A senior military source told AFP.

Supporters of Al-Assad regime in the western part of Aleppo gathered on Monday evening celebrating the victory. They chanted in support of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his army.

Syrian state television showed hundreds of civilians, most of them are women and children, escorted by Al-Assad regime forces. It showed them walking under rain while carrying their bags and children in a way surrounded by destroyed buildings.

civilians fleeing from Aleppo (Video by: Syria TV)

This rapid and continuing progress of Al-Assad regime raised many concerns regarding civilians.

The UN expressed its concern about reports talking about “atrocities” committed by Al-Assad forces and his Russian allies against civilians, including women and children who fled to the zones controlled by the Syrian regime.

On a shocking announcement, The UN said it had received reports that 82 civilians had been shot on sight by Al-Assad forces on Monday, many killed in their homes.

The spokesperson of the United Nations Secretary-General said: ” While stressing that the United Nations is not able to independently verify these reports, the Secretary-General is conveying his grave concern to the relevant parties. He has instructed his Special Envoy for Syria to follow up urgently with the parties concerned.”

Moreover, the spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said he had received “deeply disturbing reports” that bodies were lying in the streets in the city, and that residents were unable to retrieve them in intense bombardment and out of “fear of being shot on sight.”

Syrian activists shared widely on social media a tweet for the Syrian Civil defence saying that” all streets and buildings in east Aleppo are destroyed and full of bodies. It is hell.”

“Taking full control of Aleppo is considered to be the most crucial matter for Bashar al-Assad Regardless the cost.“ The Editor in Chief of Global Arab Network in London Ghassan Ibrahim told Westminster world “Aleppo determines Al-Assad’s future in the Syrian conflict. Also, its loss is a major setback and perhaps a fatal blow for the opposition factions.”

London reacted quickly with these updates. The House of Commons held an emergency debate on international action to protect civilians in Aleppo and Syria. This came after The House of Commons agreed to an application for an emergency debate, made by the conservative MP Andrew Mitchell on Monday.

The foreign sectary Boris Johnson attended the emergency debate himself to show concerns of the British government about the tragedy Aleppo. “Something must be done.” Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell said today during the debate “We are very anxious and we encourage the government to pursue all avenues and options to help civilians in Aleppo. We have specific suggestions to consider with our allies and some observations about how this crisis could develop in 2017.”

British reactions came along with other international ones. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned in a statement Tuesday that thousands of civilians lives are “in danger” after the battle reached new peaks and the area is plunged into chaos. The ICRC stressed that thousands with no part in the violence have literally nowhere safe to run.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimated the number of civilians who fled last month from the areas controlled by opposition in east Aleppo by 130,000. Most of them fled towards the areas controlled by Al-Assad regime forces in west Aleppo.

Since the beginning of military operations in Aleppo in mid-November 2016. Al-Assad forces killed 463 civilians among them 62 children in the eastern parts of Aleppo, while the opposition factions killed 130 civilians among them 40 in the western parts of Aleppo according to the Syrian observatory for human rights.

Severe damage for Aleppo’s Islamic heritage by war (Photo permitted by: Wikimedia)

Meanwhile, Al-Assad progress in Aleppo coincides with its decline in central Syria where ISIS succeeded to re-control the ancient city of Palmyra in Homs province, eight months after its expulsion from it.

Aleppo was the most populous city in Syria before the war and the country’s economic center. It was famous with its textile industry, and historical Islamic monuments that are part of the World Heritage.

Aleppo was famous before war with its Islamic heritage (photo permitted by: Michael Goodine-Flickr)

This timeline summarizes the major events in Aleppo since the beginning of the Syrian Conflict six years ago:

  1. 2011: The outbreak of violence in Syria after a crackdown by the on protesters demanding reform

In March 2011, Mass demonstrations came in Damascus, demanding political reform and release of political prisoners. These demonstrations quickly spread over other cities. Aleppo have seen small protests.

  1. 2012: Opposition factions control parts of Aleppo

In early 2012 the opposition controlled areas in Aleppo from its north-west side.

  1. 2013: cutting the highway between Aleppo and Damascus

Opposition factions cut the highway from Aleppo to the south. This forced Al-Assad forces to use an alternative longer route to reach Aleppo.

  1. 2014: opposition fighters and Al-Assad forces reinforce their positions in Aleppo

Al-Assad forces began to heavily use fighter jets and helicopters to bombard the opposition.

  1. 2015: opposition progress and the Russian intervention

Opposition fighters made vast progress on ground in Aleppo. In October 2015, Russia launched its first air strike which weakened the opposition.

  1. 2016: Aleppo under siege and shelling on areas controlled by opposition

The advance of the Al-Assad forces accompanied by Russian air strikes led to cut the direct route from Turkey to east Aleppo controlled by the opposition. On 27 July, 2016 government forces cordoned off the entire east Aleppo for the first time. On 8 September, 2016 the Russian air force and Shiite fighters helped Al-Assad forces to restore strategical points in Aleppo. On 22 September, 2016 Al-Assad regime announced a new campaign to regain Aleppo where the heaviest air strikes were carried out. On 12 December, 2016  Al-Assad forces controlled over than 90% of Aleppo.