If you want to keep pace with the rapidly developing front around Aleppo, the live feed from Conflict News is the best place I have found. The US press is almost worthless, the British only slightly better. Perhaps we will deal with that disgrace later, but let's focus.
The Syrian government finally encircled Aleppo, meeting up with quasi-allied Kurdish YPG held areas of the city.
This is the endgame for this critical bit of real estate, and the Islamist forces know it. On Sunday, they started a dramatic counter attack trying to open a supply line to the surrounded rebel held parts of the city;
VIDEO: Jabhat Fath al-Sham publish footage of two massive suicide car bombs that kicked off the "battle for #Aleppo" pic.twitter.com/0xN3NR4F0h— Conflict News (@Conflicts) July 31, 2016
MAP: Location of latest rebel offensive to create a new supply line into #Aleppo pic.twitter.com/a5ACiSlpQd— Conflict News (@Conflicts) July 31, 2016
The Islamists rebels are making initial progress and "civilians" are burning tires in the city trying to help block Russian and Syrian air force attacks trying to blunt the relief column. As of this AM, they have yet to break through.
It is only a matter of time until the whole city falls to pro-Assad forces, so I think this effort is too little, too late. As the noose tightens on that city, I think we will see a very bloody end game - as you usually see at the end of most sieges.
How much longer will this civil war go on? Who knows, but it has spun off so many more conflicts and potential conflicts, that one should not expect peace anytime soon.
As such, it does once again beg the question; if you desire to end suffering in Syria - who do you support? We have painted ourselves in to a corner where we won't/can't support Assad. By habit we seem to want to oppose Russia. The General Allen's American supported anti-Assad forces are a joke. The only forces left to support are the Kurds - an effort we should redouble - but they are not really anti-Assad right now, and will not be the Army to take Damascus. They, rightfully, just want to take and hold what they consider theirs.
The best route continues to be what I outlined over a year ago; let Russia support Assad and kill Islamists to the west of Raqqa. Let the Kurds take and hold their historic lands and support their independence. Help the Iraqi push ISIS out of Iraq.
If we do that, ISIS will be concentrated in central Syria and can then be dealt with in detail by pro-Assad forces on the ground as the hammer with the Kurds in their lands as the anvil, with Russians and our alliance plinking from the air. The politicians can figure out the rest from there, but there can be only one area of focus right now; kill as many ISIS forces as possible.
If you hate what the Long War has done to Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Europe, and even in the USA - then you need to watch Syria. If you want to undermine ISIS' Strategic Center of Gravity, you have to attack their ideology and purpose. Take away their rump Caliphate? That is a start.
As for Aleppo - once a relatively modern, multicultural, and secularesque city - look at what happened.
History does not always move forward. There can be progress and regress. Nothing is guaranteed. Accept that far from being the exception, look at what happened in Aleppo as a return to the new normal. In an increasingly urban and destabilized world, there will be more Aleppos. More Grozny's.
Behold the fruits of Islamism.
Both the below videos are a bit dated, but they give a good background on the siege and what it means for one of the great cities of the Middle East. Too bad you have to rely on RT and Al Jazeera, but there you go;