The diplomatic battle around Syria, who in recent times the nature of total charges of the West against Russia, have a simple relationship with these battles. The United States and its allies expect a rout Syrian rebels near Aleppo – and it really would have fundamental consequences not only for the entire region.
Has become common place to assume that the battle for Aleppo is due solely to its size and geographical position. Before the war, Aleppo with its more than two million people was the largest largest city of the country, its economic capital, not to mention the cultural significance of one of the oldest cities in human civilization. Before the beginning of the civil war Aleppo, as indeed all of Syria, experienced something like a new “Golden age”. He even was named “Capital of Islamic world”, despite the multiculturalism and multi-confessionalism.
“The battle for Aleppo has become a crucial battle not only the civil war in Syria, but global confrontation in the middle East involving major world players”
Now it is a heap of ruins, where in terrible conditions lives (if possible at all to use such a word) is not more than 300-350 thousand people. The economy of Aleppo does not exist, the infrastructure is destroyed. And it is strange to hear the argument that the seizure of the Eastern third of Aleppo, they say, need to Assad in order to strengthen the economy and get new soldiers into the army. On the contrary, the return of full control over Aleppo require huge financial investments in the restoration of the city, as happened with the neighborhoods of Damascus that have been returned under the control of the Syrian government after a couple years the power of the jihadists. It is difficult to imagine, and a massive return to Aleppo of all refugees who left him. Many of them are already in Europe or in Turkey, and the population, which for several years has lived under the jihadists, you must, first, carefully filtered, and, secondly, it is psychologically not able to continue the war.
Initially, the jihadist opposition group and “dispersed” the war around Aleppo in the spring of 2012. Then there was a series of terrorist attacks using suicide bombers, and in the summer of that year began the first street fighting in the suburbs, and then in the historical centre and ethnic neighborhoods. For the opposition, which was already possessed heavy weapons and tanks, control of Aleppo and Idlib meant the creation in the North, a continuous “belt” upon which it was possible to advance on Damascus. In addition, the retention of a such a significant settlement was allowed to create any kind of “government” on whose behalf and to continue the fight against Assad’s government, getting foreign support. A bunch of disgruntled pretenders to the restaurant in Qatar, “government”, acting in the largest city of the country, – two big differences. Band from Idlib to Aleppo is also allowed to rely on a steady supply through the Turkish border.
And everything was going to. Slim plan on suddenly broke a strong resistance in several parts of the government army and local militias, such as in the vicinity of the airport and air force base Kuveyris. The supply of the city and the army were repeatedly interrupted, and eventually fighting for separate parts of the strategic road leading to Aleppo, have become a significant part of the battle for the city, even if they occurred within a few hundred miles away.
Feature of the war in Syria has always been its “small number” – all parties to the conflict have limited human and technical resources, and because the fronts can be made in small units. The result is a constant need to throw in some key sections of the front and forces from other regions, and on the other hand, the detachment of several dozen people, capturing any commanding heights above the road, could block a million city. Until very recently, the jihadists have been more successful than government troops, collect “striking fists” and run through the desert on the “technical” vehicles, blocking the road. Gradually to Aleppo was uploaded large by local standards force. The fierce street battles required constant reinforcements, and the city began to transform parts of the desert, out of Raqqa and Palmyra, even out of Hama and HOMS.
In the end, Aleppo is now the largest and most efficient group of jihadists and “moderate” are completely surrounded and devoid of obvious ways of supply. Her combat capability is confirmed by regular attempts to break through the encirclement. Including famous battles in the South-Western part of the city, where to eliminate the break it took a serious effort of government troops and Russian HQs. Larger, experienced and organized parts of Syria opposition of any kind not already have.
The destruction of this group would mean, if not victory in the civil war, then certainly – a radical change in favor of Damascus. And clearly the temptation of the Syrian General staff to solve the problem at one stroke. The war has lasted too long, and the destruction of the main forces of the militants – an obvious chance. Thus at Damascus for some time had a choice. You can choose a long way. For example, to advance from Palmyra to Deir-ez-Zor, and then to besiege Raqqa, which completely would block jihadist forces, but would delay military action for an indefinite time.
The military potential of jihadists and “moderate” after the elimination of the group in Aleppo will never recover. And the government army, in turn, will unleash a giant by local standards, the forces that can be used at any other point. From a practical point of view, this result is inevitable – no chance in the end to survive and to escape from East Aleppo, the terrorists do not have. Awareness of the inevitability of it all and its long lasting consequences caught up with our Western partners and Turkey suddenly and sharply, which led to the outbreak of political and military activity to rescue the encircled.
The occupation of Aleppo will lead to the collapse of the entire system of the “Northern belt” and open the way to government forces in the Idlib and next to the Turkish border. In fact, now that Idlib has become the headquarters and the center of the jihadists and “moderate”, and the road to this city is opened only after the occupation of Aleppo. Protracted battles last year in the mountainous area of the provinces of Latakia and Idlib showed that moving directly from South to North in the direction of Idlib executable it is technically very difficult and fraught with large losses. Aleppo, in addition to everything else, and the logistics center of the Northern part of Syria, and in this war, as in the days of the Napoleonic campaigns, roads play a key role.
The elimination of jihadist enclave in Eastern Aleppo will lead to the resumption of communication with the Syrian Kurdistan that will have political consequences. The Kurds are not always pragmatic in choice of allies, but in this situation they will have no choice but to shift to the Union with Damascus. And this, in turn, will mean a blow to the United States.
But besides the obvious military-strategic consequences of the battle for Aleppo has a psychological component. Damascus has repeatedly fluctuated, choosing the goal for “main attack” and several times even missed. 2015 has brought a few disappointments in the form of unsuccessful attempts to break the fronts of Hama and HOMS, the loss rate after the liberation of Palmyra and sluggish fighting in the mountains. Only in the last six months, the majority of secondary fields and fronts were eliminated, which allowed to talk about bias in favour of the government troops. But this radical change has not happened yet. You want something that you can hold in your hands, to show the waverers, and the world around. After Palmyra in this “physical evidence” may be the liberation of Aleppo.
Neither of which the displacement of the Assad after this can not be and speeches, and the entire political strategy of the West in Syria will go to pieces. Collective hysteria that occurred in the last two days with our Western partners, is associated with it. While the references to the “humanitarian situation”, the endless stories on CNN, in which necessarily appears some child, preferably a little girl with pigtails, comes exclusively from there.
Most Syrian generals and allies were irritated by the constant stops of the onset of Aleppo on political and humanitarian grounds. Earlier system of “corridors” has eliminated a jihadist enclave in the Eastern suburbs of Damascus, but most of the militants was moved to the brothers on reason under Idlib. The Syrian military was outraged by this development.
In turn, the West then began to accuse the Syrian government of “unacceptable tactics”, which was surrounded by the village with a further proposal of the militants to voluntarily leave it. From a Western point of view, while surrounded by terrorists reflected on proposals made to them, much suffering civilian population. And if it began a frontal assault on the village, the civilian population would suffer less?
As a result of all these factors, the battle for Aleppo has become a crucial battle not only the civil war in Syria, but global confrontation in the middle East involving the world’s largest players. From a military point of view the outcome is obvious, but political and strategic games can shift the focus. The losing parties seek to delay the obvious outcome, and the government troops and the allies have just withdrawn themselves, including the hypocrisy of a “support group” of their opponents. Classic synergy effect from the combination of many factors at Aleppo is hundreds of times stronger than each of these factors separately.
* Organization in respect of which the court accepted entered into legal force decision on liquidation or ban the activities on the grounds stipulated by the Federal law “On countering extremist activity”