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Syrian Opposition warns of a “humanitarian tragedy” as Russia and Assad gains ground on Aleppo

BEIRUT | iloubnan.info - February 11, 2016, 10h34

Member of the Syrian opposition coalition Khalid Saleh said the ongoing onslaught by Assad’s forces, backed by Russian air force and Iranian militias, on the city of Aleppo is designed to encircle the city and cut it off from its northern countryside. As regime forces continue to push north towards the Turkish border, rebels’ supply routes will be cut off. This scenario, Saleh, warned, would lead to a situation similar to what happened in Ghouta and Madaya, where the two towns have been subjected to suffocating siege by pro-regime forces.

“The military escalation by the Assad regime, backed by Russian air power and Iranian-led foreign militias, began nearly three months ago. It happened in tandem with renewed international efforts towards reaching a political settlement to the conflict. Regime forces opened new battlefronts against rebel fighters, most notably in Latakia, Aleppo and Dara’a provinces, applying a scorched earth policy,” Saleh said.

Saleh added that “through the ongoing onslaught on Aleppo, Russia seeks to tip the balance of power on the ground in favor of the Assad regime, with the aim of imposing a political solution favorable to Russia.”

“The Russian-backed regime’s offensive on Aleppo highlights the fact that the United States is on the retreat in the region, and that it is giving a direct mandate to the Russians to act in Syria by showing a disinterest in the situation in Syria, with its role reduced to diplomatic mediating between the conflicting parties. The current situation represents a test to the seriousness of the Friends of the Syrian people in supporting the Syrian Revolution, as Assad continues to aggravate the humanitarian situation and export the problem to countries in the region and beyond,” Saleh went on.

Saleh concluded his remarks by stressing that “the recent developments in Aleppo clearly demonstrate the convergence of Assad’s and terrorists’ interests. They show how the PYD militias are following agendas hostile to the forces of the revolution, which is further proof they are just proxies of the Assad regime.”

Tags
#Aleppo, #Syria
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