The people of Eastern Aleppo are currently facing a fierce Russian-Syrian air campaign on their city. “In a maximum of two months, two-and-half months, the city of eastern Aleppo may be totally destroyed,” Staffan de Mistura told reporters in Geneva. The chief UN negotiator then went on to suggest he himself would escort rebel fighters from Jabha Fath Sham out of Aleppo. “Can you please look at my eyes,” de Mistura said appealing to the group’s leaders, “If you decide to leave with dignity … I am personally ready to physically accompany you,” the UN envoy pledged.
It is outrageous how de Mistura is willing to hand over 350,000 people to the embrace of the very forces who have killed a half million of the their countrymen. These are the same forces that are using bunker busters, cluster bombs, and incendiary munitions on civilian homes wiping out entire families. How is it conceivable that such a proposal could be issued by such a “skilled” diplomat? Are there really families in Aleppo that would trust their fate to regime forces after seeing their children burned by Napalm like weaponry?
Additionally, is it remotely reasonable that Assad should be rewarded for his murder of countless civilians by having the UN escort his fiercest opponents out of the theatre of war? What sort of precedent would that set not only for the Syrian conflict but conflicts in general? That would mean, by default, that it is internationally accepted to use weapons of mass destruction against civilians while being filmed on a day in and day out basis, and once enough unarmed men, women, and children have died then the largest international and most respected body will come in and escort the opposition out and hand the city over to those using weapons of mass destruction against civilians.
Jabha Fath Sham currently has a force of fighters inside of besieged Aleppo and the residents of Aleppo realise that they, Ahrar Sham, and FSA groups are all that stands between them and those that killed so many of their sons, daughters, and family members. This is a reality that those who are calling for the demise of JFS, formerly Nusra, have to understand. Neither civilians nor the most moderate of rebel negotiators accepted that JFS should be targeted as Kerry and Lavrov stipulated in their “ceasefire” agreement a few weeks ago. Not a single one.
It is extremely difficult to sell to the Syrian people that one of their fiercest protectors, JFS, should now be targeted by forces that have largely left them to the merciless slaughter of the Syrian government and it’s allies. This shows that there is a serious disconnect between the policies the west is trying to force on the rebel players and Syrians in general and the desires of the Syrian people.
At the end of the day, most of the estimated 20,000 JFS fighters are Syrian. Most of the JFS fighters inside Aleppo were born and bred on the very streets they now fight the regime on. So it is unclear why the international community insists on trying to separate them from the other fighters as if they are a foreign element. Or perhaps it is because de Mistura and the west are focusing more on advancing western foreign policies than they are on helping the Syrian people.
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