The difference between the diplomatic and operational realities in East Aleppo could not be more striking. It is being used as cover for the breakdown in discussions between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Russian/U.S. relations are hitting an all-time low as we approach the end of both the Siege of Aleppo and election day in the U.S. Former Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev stated this week the world has “reached a dangerous point” which we may not be able to pull back from.
The size and scope of the besieged rebel forces and those held hostage by Syrian and Russian forces are still being dramatically over-estimated to feed through a compliant Western corporate media.
U.N. Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura put the number of fighters at 8000 and only 900 of which are Al-Nusra.
According to the latest report from the Moon of Alabama blog, dated October 15th, that other sources put the numbers far lower than that at around 200, or even as low as 100.
Moreover, the number of civilians in the area is still being estimated at north of a quarter of a million when in reality the number is closer to 40,000, according to Guardian reporter Martin Chulov.
All of this inflation only serves to reinforce a failing narrative that the Russians and Syrians are engaging in war crimes in Aleppo by the U.S. to prop up the failing fortunes of Democratic candidate for president Hillary Clinton.
It also puts the world farther down the path of an armed confrontation between the U.S. and Russia. Hillary being a known old-school cold-warrior is extremely hawkish in terms of foreign policy.
As well, the desperation of the U.S.’s rhetoric vis a vis Aleppo signifies just how important the city is to the war in Syria. With Turkey controlling the area North and West of the Euphrates River, preventing unification of the two Kurdish YPG cantons and the Syrian army in control of Aleppo, it makes it nearly impossible for the U.S. and NATO to set up any form of fire control in the Northern portion of the country.
There are reports of up to 9,000 western forces, military and mercenary, in Northern Syria attempting to set up at least seven bases in the hopes of partitioning the country into two. Russia’s Major General Igor Konashenkov, the Chief of the Directorate of Media service and Information of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation made a no-so-veiled threat to the U.S. forces there.
“As for [State Department Spokesman John] Kirby’s threats about possible Russian aircraft losses and the sending of Russian servicemen back to Russia in body bags, I would say that we know exactly where and how many “unofficial specialists” operate in Syria and in the Aleppo province and we know that they are involved in the operational planning and that they supervise the operations of the militants. Of course, one can continue to insist that they are unsuccessfully involved in trying to separate the al-Nusra terrorists from the “opposition” forces. But if somebody tries to implement these threats, it is by no means certain that these militants will have to time to get the hell out of there.” (H/T The Saker)
If the above numbers are correct, there is little chance of the terrorists making good on those threats. Meanwhile, the Russians continue to fortify Syria’s airspace blunting Hillary Clinton’s calls for a No-Fly-Zone which it is unlikely the U.S. would be able to implement even without further escalation.
Aleppo failing plus the Turks advances, in effect, further reduces the importance of the NATO airbase at Incerlik in Turkey and provides a stable buffer zone for future pro-Syrian government operations at Raqqa and Deir-Ezzor.
The only reason those holding out in Aleppo have not surrendered like their brethren in Idlib and Hama is the hope that the U.S. will come in with open support. A Hillary victory will likely make that a reality and, worse, invite open conflict with Russia.
The American people have made it abundantly clear that there is little appetite for expanding our presence in Syria. This is why diplomatic talks continue to be ineffective and any delaying tactics are seen as just that, tactics.
The Russians know that the U.S. is simply trying to buy time while ratcheting up the humanitarian rhetoric at home to win Clinton votes and limp her across the finish line.
By contrast, her opponent, Donald Trump, is stepping up his vocal opposition to war with Russia over Syria as well as other substantial pillars of the U.S. Empire, including NATO, the TTIP, and even the Saudis.
The U.S.’s plans in Syria are unraveling quickly. Soon the Syrian army will be able to concentrate on Raqqa and Deir Ezzor once Aleppo is finished. Then the next phase of the war can commence.
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