Der Spiegel is in despair over what appears to be an impending victory for the Assad regime over its opponents in the civil war in Syria:
Aleppo has been a horrific place for some time now and few thought that it could get much worse. But things can always get worse — that’s the lesson currently being learned by those who have stayed behind in an effort to outlast this brutal conflict. People who have become used to dead bodies in the streets, hunger and living a life that can end at any moment.
“For the last two weeks, we’ve been living a nightmare that is worse than everything that has come before,” says Hamza, a young doctor in an Aleppo hospital. At the beginning, in 2011, he was treating light wounds, stemming from tear gas or beatings from police batons. When the regime began dropping barrel bombs in 2012, the injuries got worse. But now, with the beginning of the Russian airstrikes, the doctors are facing an emergency. Every two or three hours, warplanes attack the city, aiming at everything that hasn’t yet been destroyed, including apartment buildings, schools and clinics. Often, they use cluster bombs, which have been banned internationally.
Somehow the article manages to ignore the many firsthand reports of life going on peacefully and as usual in Aleppo outside the areas held by the opposition and the multiple reports of large numbers of foreign fighters in the opposition, many from the Gulf states but also from Chechnya and even Uyghurs from China. It’s pretty darned hard to characterize an invading army as a popular revolt.
Also ignored is that Russia is operating within international law while Western support and training for the opposition is going on without Security Council approval or, indeed, any kind of approval other than the policies of the countries involved. It’s getting harder and harder to tell the good guys from the bad guys.
Stephen Kinzer at the Boston Globe provides a little supporting testimony:
COVERAGE OF the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the American press. Reporting about carnage in the ancient city of Aleppo is the latest reason why.
For three years, violent militants have run Aleppo. Their rule began with a wave of repression. They posted notices warning residents: “Don’t send your children to school. If you do, we will get the backpack and you will get the coffin.” Then they destroyed factories, hoping that unemployed workers would have no recourse other than to become fighters. They trucked looted machinery to Turkey and sold it.
This month, people in Aleppo have finally seen glimmers of hope. The Syrian army and its allies have been pushing militants out of the city. Last week they reclaimed the main power plant. Regular electricity may soon be restored. The militants’ hold on the city could be ending.
We’ve been supporting Al Qaeda. Our allies in the field have been largely financed and supported by foreigners with relatively little domestic support. And Der Spiegel is calling what’s happening now a tragedy? The tragedy has been running rampant in Aleppo for three years.