The world has failed the test of Syria’s revolution

What Arabic-language writers say about the Aleppo crisis. Translated by Racha Makarem

A man walks past destroyed buildings in Aleppo's Bab Al Hadid neighbourhood that was targeted recently by regime air strikes. Karam Al Masri / AFP
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There is little new to be said about the tragedy that is the Syrian situation. Time and again the Assad regime outdoes itself in terms of barbarism.

For five years, the regime of Bashar Al Assad has been murdering its own people. It has recruited armed militias of the darkest kind to help it exact its punishment on Syrian citizens in successive attacks that have been concentrated in recent weeks around Aleppo.

Commenting on the situation, following an air strike on a hospital in Aleppo that left dozens of casualties, the Saudi columnist Hussein Shabakshi wrote in the pan-Arab daily Asharq Al Awsat: "Nothing was spared. Schools, hospitals, mosques and homes. Streets were strewn with bodies of children, women and elderly people. The bloodbaths everywhere only confirm that this is indeed the most horrific crime against humanity in recent history. Crimes continue under international cover."

Vladimir Putin’s Russia is supporting the Assad regime with all its political and diplomatic might, as it destroys Aleppo to send a message to the world that Syria’s largest city will not be allowed to deviate from the regime’s political path. The author referred to intelligence reports revealing that the matter of Mr Al Assad’s position was “resolved” during a meeting between Mr Putin and the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mr Putin allegedly proposed alternatives to Mr Al Assad to lead Syria, but Mr Netanyahu rejected all the proposed names. Mr Netanyahu said he trusted no one but Mr Al Assad to protect the peace and the borders with Israel – a position that Mr Putin saw as a green light to escalate the number of Russian attacks alongside the regime forces. All this had taken place under an unmistakable western diplomatic silence, Shabakshi wrote.

“The UN and all human rights organisations have failed the Syrian revolution’s test. The international community has failed to put an end to Mr Al Assad’s arrogance,” the writer said. “When a regime is allowed to perpetrate genocide, undeterred, against an entire city by means of air strikes, bombs and explosive barrels, then everyone is an accomplice. Only a miracle would put a stop to Aleppo’s holocaust today,” he added.

“Aleppo isn’t burning. It is getting burnt,” said the online publication Albawaba. “The aim is to displace the people and empty the city in order to change the demography of the country along sectarian lines to entrench Bashar Al Assad’s regime,” it said.

The strikes are concentrated on densely populated areas that are geographically removed from ISIL-held areas in Aleppo. This refutes all allegations that the strikes are targeting the terrorist group, Albawaba said.

Meanwhile, ISIL continues to expand its presence in northern Aleppo. This means that the Syrian Free Army and civilians outside regime-held areas are facing two wars at the same time: against Russia and against ISIL.

“The regime seems to be facilitating ISIL’s expansion in an effort to distort the Syrian revolution in the global public opinion,” it said.

The Assad regime is solely responsible for the rise of ISIL and Jabhat Al Nusra in the Syrian landscape, the website said.

In the first year of the revolution, the regime facilitated the empowerment of these organisations in a bid to weaken the revolution, to make it look as if it is waging a war on terrorism.

* Translated by Racha Makarem

rmakarem@thenational.ae