The Syrian government has established control over eastern Aleppo, Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, told the UN Security Council on Tuesday.
“Over the last hour we’ve received information that the military activities in east Aleppo have stopped,” Churkin said, according to a simultaneous translation provided by the UN.
Russia and Russian-allied forces have won a truly significant victory in Syria’s civil war, crushing rebels in one of their principal strongholds and further cementing Syrian government control over the nation’s primary populations centers. Absent a stunning and unexpected battlefield reversal, it appears that Bashar al-Assad isn’t going anywhere. The Russia/Iran/Syria axis is strengthened, and the opposition will be even further limited to the various jihadist parties, including of course ISIS. Thus, we’re moving increasingly towards the reality where the only Syrian alternative to Assad (aside from the Kurdish-held north) is jihad.
Moreover, it’s a humanitarian tragedy of the first order. Syrian forces are reportedly gunning down civilians, and the Aleppo bombing campaign has been an indiscriminate nightmare. Fox News has a sad but helpful chart detailing the extent of civilian casualties — and the parties responsible:
Russia has imposed its will on Syria. For those misguided few who somehow believe Russia is a new guardian of Christian civilization, they should pay close attention to its allies — a genocidal Alawi Muslim dictator and Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of Islamic terrorism. For those who believe that Obama’s foreign policy has been successful or wise, his administration has managed to diminish American regional influence while watching mass killings happen in the heart of the Middle East. This isn’t success. It’s a costly, deadly failure. It falls to Donald Trump to manage the aftermath.