Aleppo: The Leningrad of Syria

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by Kevork Almassian (Expert of the German Center for Eurasian Studies)

Exactly a week ago, the Saudi Arabia backed opposition group declared its withdrawal from «Geneva 3» talks moderated by the U.N. special envoy, Mr. Staffan de Mistura. The leader of this group, Mr. Riyad Hijab claimed that negotiations are useless as long as the government forces are shelling residential areas and resorting to starvation techniques.

Despite the lack of validity of these claims, the government of Damascus committed to the “cessation of hostilities” brokered by Russia, and the U.S. from behind scenes. However, this agreement excludes ISIS and Al-Nusra Front. Therefore, a military operation against these two groups and any other group that doesn’t abide by the agreement is legitimate.

However, in the final press conference, Mr. Hijab called all armed factions not to give up and fight the government until ousting President Assad. This statement was a clear violation of the Geneva peace process, but was not as dangerous as what followed later on.

Most anti-government brigades in Aleppo, financed and supported by Turkey’s Erdogan, began showering the residential areas of Aleppo with unguided mortars and gas jars called “hell cannon”, killing at least 200 civilians, and the death toll increases every single minute. Independent journalists and activists counted the number of rockets fired by the Turkish-Western backed armed groups by over 3000.

Kevork Almassian and Manuel Ochsenreiter (director of the German Center for Eurasian Studies) during a meeting with Aleppo´s govenor Mouhammad Wahid Akkad in 2014
Kevork Almassian and Manuel Ochsenreiter (director of the German Center for Eurasian Studies) during a meeting with Aleppo´s govenor Mouhammad Wahid Akkad in 2014

This terrorist campaign started on 24th of April, the day which the World commemorates the Armenian Genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire. Ironically, the evidence on the ground shows that Western governments are in the same bed with neo-Ottoman Erdogan, who provides all means possible to these armed groups in order to terrorize the civilians and undermine the government’s control on the second largest city of Syria. These terrorist groups who are called “moderate opposition forces” by the EU and U.S. wrote the name of one of the masterminds of the Armenian Genocide “Enver Pasha” on the rockets firing them on the Armenian neighborhoods in Aleppo.

Kevork Almassian and Manuel Ochsenreiter with Jean-Clément Jeanbart (Archbishop of the Melkite Greek Catholic Archeparchy of Aleppo) in Aleppo (2014)
Kevork Almassian and Manuel Ochsenreiter with Bishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart in Aleppo (2014)

This fierce military campaign on Aleppo puts the Russian – American brokered “cessation of hostilities” agreement at stake. On the one hand, Al-Nusra Front and allied groups are not retreating from bombing residential areas, and on the other, the people of Aleppo are calling the Syrian Army to intervene and hit the terrorists with an iron fist, something that the enemies of Syria are trying to reach, namely Turkey and Saudi Arabia, in order to foil Geneva 3 talks and prolong the war of attrition until the balance of power becomes in their favor.