As of December 12, the Syrian government forces have gained control of eastern Aleppo three weeks after having launched a major offensive to liberate it from the hold of western-backed terror groups. Since 2012, eastern Aleppo and surrounding areas had been held by a slew of Sunni extremists groups including the al-Qaeda linked Al-Nusra Front, ISIS, Ahrar al-Sham, Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki, Islamic Front, Al-Tawhid brigades and others.
These are ultra-reactionary terror groups that subscribe to the ideology of Salafism, which at its core advocates for a religious dictatorship based on social and legal norms from the 7th century. However, they have been branded ‘moderate rebels’ by the corporate media and have been armed and backed by the U.S. government and its junior partners, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. A large number of foreign fighters, belonging to 93 different nationalities, including Saudis, Turks, Tunisians, Egyptians and central Asian states are among the ranks of these terror groups.
Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki, one of the groups that continued to receive military support until 2015, is linked to the beheading of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy in eastern Aleppo in July.
In the three week long combat operations to liberate eastern Aleppo, the Syrian government forces were joined on the ground by the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Syrian Palestinian resistance group Liwa Al-Quds.
Following the liberation of most of eastern Aleppo, about 1400 militants are reported to have surrendered. In accordance with a presidential amnesty issued in October that offered surrendering rebels of Syrian nationality and their families evacuation to safe areas, close to 1300 have been granted amnesty.
Since the operation started, through humanitarian corridors established by the Russian Center for Reconciliation in coordination the Syrian government, more than 80,000 civilians have been evacuated to the humanitarian centers in the safe areas of the city. There they are provided with shelter, hot food and medical assistance by the Syrian and Russian governments. Following eastern Aleppo’s liberation, many were on the streets celebrating the end of over four years of war and brutal theocratic rule, waving Syrian flags, dancing and singing. Some of the displaced residents of Sakhour and Al-Shaar neighborhoods were reported to return to their houses following the removal of bombs and explosives planted by the Salafists.
While the campaign by the Syrian government and its allies was underway to liberate eastern Aleppo, an intense Western corporate media campaign was launched to demonize the Syrian government as the party responsible for the humanitarian crisis. Reports of the ‘last hospital in eastern Aleppo bombed’ were published, ironically more than once, week after week, making one wonder how many ‘last hospitals’ there were in the corporate media’s alternate reality. “White Helmets,” a western-funded NGO aligned with the opposition and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SHRO), essentially a one-man show based in UK, were the sources for most of these fabricated stories.
As these fake news stories were rolled out, U.N.officials covered the diplomatic front of the “humanitarian” propaganda, releasing statement after statement expressing “fear and concern” for the fate of civilians in the embattled areas, accusing the Syrian government of blocking U.N. aid to the city. Now that eastern Aleppo is back under the control of the government, the UN, the U.S.-led imperialist governments and their NGOs that were supposedly so concerned about the humanitarian situation earlier have yet to deliver an ounce of humanitarian aid to the thousands of civilians who have been evacuated.
The scale of the western-backed terror to which eastern Aleppo residents have been subjected is also surfacing as the evacuated people can now speak out about daily torture, public executions, rape and random killings at the hands the opposition fighters. Having branded these groups as ‘moderates,’ the corporate media is as complicit in these horrific crimes against the people of Syria as the U.S. led imperialism and its client regimes that have armed and funded them.
On December 9, in a rare display of honesty, Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, essentially confessed that it was the Salafist groups holding the civilians of eastern Aleppo hostage and terrorizing them, in contrast to the usual UN rhetoric of the city “under siege by the Syrian government,” as he said:”During the last two weeks, Fatah al-Sham Front (Al-Nusra Front) and the AbuAmara Battalion are alleged to have abducted and killed an unknown number of civilians who requested the armed groups to leave their neighborhoods, to spare the lives of civilians”
Liberation of Aleppo: Proof that imperialism can be defeated
Aleppo, once Syria’s largest city, is very close to the border with Turkey to the north, strategically located on the main supply route of weapons and fighters from the country. Full control of Aleppo by the Syrian government is a major step towards the preservation of Syria as an independent, secular state.
The liberation of Aleppo is the result of the steadfast resistance of a nation in defense of its sovereignty. The victory of the Syrian government is a slap in the face of the imperialist arrogance, a grim reminder to the imperialists that the right to determine Syria’s future belongs to the people of Syria themselves and not to the U.S. regime or its regional clients such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar or Turkey.