Pro-Assad forces have nearly recaptured the ancient city of Aleppo, which has been heavily bombarded and ransacked over the course of Syria’s brutal civil war. The onslaught of loyalist forces has displaced thousands, further contributing to the plight of the region’s inhabitants.
In discussions with The Guardian, residents described the bombing as a “doomsday” level assault. One individual named Hamdo described the victims of the assault, carried out by pro-Assad forces and Iranian militias:
People are under the rubble alive and no one can save them. Some people are injured in the streets and no one can go to help them. The cries and fear of women and children [are] heard from the streets.
According to the Syrian Observatory, the toll since mid-November in Aleppo has been immense: no fewer than 415 civilians have lost their lives in rebel-held neighborhoods, and at least 364 fighters opposed to the Assad regime have also been killed in the area. An additional 130 civilians are believed to have died in western Aleppo, held by government forces.
A deal currently under discussion between the US and Russia would permit rebels and civilians safe passage if they left Aleppo. This would be an immense victory for pro-Assad forces and their Iranian backers, who will have further cemented their narrative that the Assad regime will inevitably succeed in holding on to power.
Concurrently with the events in Aleppo, however, radical jihadist forces recaptured Palmyra. Video posted online shows ISIS figures with what appears to be captured pro-government fighters. Earlier this year, government forces trumpeted their success in the desert city. But the relative speed and ease with which ISIS has reclaimed Palmyra and detained scores of people are likely indicators that any long-term cessation of hostilities among all the different parties involved will remain elusive.
As the fighting in Aleppo and Palmyra give way to an assessment of the servere human rights violations that transpired in these two cities, Impact Tap will provide further coverage.