Saturday, 3 December 2016

'Backing rebels made Syria's suffering worse. West should accept regime change has failed, and the war must now end'

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-bashar-al-assad-putin-russia-syrian-forces-aleppo-win-victory-west-should-be-ashamed-a7450336.html

Maybe this is just my imagination. But I have the impression that, even as some of the most significant developments since the start of the conflict are gathering pace in Syria, the West in general – but the UK most particularly – is choosing to look the other way.
There are, of course, other headlines jostling for our public and media space, from migration figures through abuse of young footballers to the continuing dramas of Brexit and the transition to a Donald Trump presidency. For the past week, though, what looks very much like the endgame has begun in Aleppo, if not across Syria, and this has been either disregarded or treated with the self-same hand-wringing condemnations as before.
Russia and President Bashar al-Assad are cast as joint villains-in-chief, while heartrending appeals reach us via the miracle of Skype from families without homes, doctors without hospitals, children without food. Ever more despairing pleas from exile groups land in my inbox, calling on the UK or Europe to do something, anything, to rescue their cause.
Here is my question. Given that Syrian government forces, backed by Russian airpower, are currently advancing into rebel-held eastern Aleppo (and it is not clear who these rebels actually are), which is the more humane response? Is it for the US, the EU, the UK – or whoever – to call for a new ceasefire, to promise more weapons, even to dispatch (more) special forces to help those we still like to call “moderate” opposition forces on the ground? Or is it – brutal and heartless though this undoubtedly is – to leave well alone and let the inevitable happen sooner rather than later?

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