First, as I am sure most of you are aware, the evacuation of Aleppo is complete, and the Assad Regime has full control of the city:
The evacuation of civilians and fighters from the last rebel-held part of Aleppo concluded on Thursday after long delays because of frigid weather, putting all of Syria’s industrial capital back in the hands of President Bashar al-Assad’s forces for the first time since 2012.
The last buses carrying residents from eastern Aleppo left the city late Thursday night, according to the Syrian state news agency.
Tens of thousands of people have been removed from eastern Aleppo since Dec. 15. Before the last buses left on Thursday, the Red Cross said that 34,000 people had left the city, including 4,000 fighters who had left in their own vehicles the previous night.
A separate convoy was waiting to carry residents out of two pro-government villages in neighboring Idlib Province that have been surrounded by rebels for years. It was unclear late Thursday whether the convoy had completed its trip.
The seizure of all of Aleppo by Mr. Assad and his allies signals a turning point in the nearly six-year conflict.
Rather unsurprisingly, despite representation in western media, upon entering East Aleppo, evidence of mass torture and mass executions were found:
Russian military forces have discovered mass graves in eastern parts of the Syrian city of Aleppo, with many of the bodies reportedly showing signs of torture.
Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, a spokesperson for the Russian defense ministry, announced the horrifying discovery on Monday. “Many of the corpses were found with missing body parts, and most had gunshot wounds to the head,” he said, according to RT, a Russian state-owned news network.
Until recently, the eastern portion of Aleppo, once Syria’s largest city and industrial and financial center, was under the control of so-called “moderate” rebels, many of whom have received both intelligence and material support from the United States and its allies in the Middle East.
Last week, Russian and Syrian military forces oversaw the evacuation of civilians from eastern Aleppo. Prior to that, the rebel-held portion of the city had been controlled by two main factions, Jabhat al-Nusra, a terrorist group with ties to al-Qaida also known as the Nusra Front, and Ahrar al-Sham, another extremist group that receives U.S. support despite being designated a terrorist organization.
Russian forces also found massive stockpiles of weaponry abandoned by fleeing rebel groups. “In one small area, three tanks, two cannons, two multiple rocket launchers and numerous homemade mortars were found,” reported RT.
In related news, a Syrian refugee was charged with war crimes in Sweden for his role in executing captured Syrian government soldiers:
A former Syrian opposition fighter has been charged with breaching international law over the execution in 2012 of seven soldiers loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, the Swedish prosecutor’s office said on Thursday.
The 46-year-old man, who was arrested in March, appears in a video showing the killings, the prosecutor’s office said.
The man, who was not named, denies any crime.
“The soldiers were captured and defenseless when this happened,” prosecutor Kristina Lindhoff Carleson said in a statement.
While this was going on, Russia, Iran and Turkey met for cease fire negotiations. Notably, the US, NATO, and the UN were not included, which is rather unsurprising, considering that those three entities have remained committed to replacing Assad.
What’s more, it appears that these negotiations have born fruit, with cease fire coming into effect across Syria, though it it’s success is still not certain:
A cease-fire announced by the Syrian government went into effect across the country early Friday as part of a broader deal that includes a return to peace talks to end more than five years of war.
Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reestablished control over the northern city of Aleppo earlier this month, forcing rebels to flee what was once their largest stronghold and handing the government a victory that appeared to bring the war’s endgame into view.
The Assad government, backed by Russia and Iran, is now in its strongest position since the start of the war, while rebel groups are mostly boxed into the northwestern province of Idlib and hold no strategically significant urban areas.
The Syrian military declared in a statement issued Thursday that the “comprehensive” cessation of hostilities follows “victories and advances” by the armed forces.
Russia and Turkey, which brokered the deal, said they could guarantee compliance from the government and its armed opposition, respectively, after weeks of negotiations.
The Syrian army said the cease-fire excluded “terrorist organizations,” notably the Islamic State but also the country’s al-Qaeda affiliate, an influential component of what remains of Syria’s armed opposition. The caveat suggested that the fighting could continue in Idlib, now the rebels’ final bastion.
ISIS and al Qaeda (al Nusra/al-Sham) aren’t just an “influential component” of Syrian opposition. They are the bulk of viable rebel military forces.
As I have stated before, there is no moderate opposition. They are all salafist Sunni extremists, sponsored by Turkey, the House of Saud, and the Persian Gulf Potentiates.
Turkish President Erdogan is claiming that he has evidence to prove that the US is supporting terrorist organizations, including al Nusra, Daesh, and the YPG:
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said “it’s very clear” that the US-led coalition is supporting terrorist groups in Syria, Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS/ISIL) among them.
“They give support to terrorist groups including Daesh (Arabic for IS),” Erdogan said.
Saying that the US have accused Turkey of supporting IS, speaking at a press conference on Tuesday the Turkish leader blamed the US-led coalition for assisting terrorists themselves.
Apart from IS, he also mentioned Kurdish People’s Protection Units in northern Syria (YPG) and Democratic Union Party (PYD) as groups supported by the coalition.
“We have confirmed evidence, with pictures, photos and videos,” he added.
Best evidence is that he is right on two of those three counts, our military haxs supported Kurdish fighters, and the CIA has been supporting (at least indirectly through its completely incompent grooming of “moderates”) al Nusra.
Our policy, which largely consists of incompetent CIA operations running at cross purposes to military and diplomatic efforts that are in large part intended to slavishly follow the dictates of the House of Saud.