Intensifying air and howitzer bombardments following the disintegration of the fleeting cease-fire after the last Eid al-Adha have turned Aleppo into a ghost town. Hundreds of civilians either lose their lives or are injured every day as a result of these heavy attacks on the devastated city.
In the two weeks since Nov. 15, 739 civilians have lost their lives in Aleppo, with the number of injured reaching 2,500. U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said that if this brutality was not put to an end, "by Christmas, there will be no east Aleppo anymore."
Countless civilian targets, including hospitals and schools, have been bombed in the city during a conflict which has been marked by war crimes and crimes against humanity. The civilians who managed to escape from the airstrikes became the targets of "doshkas"— the nickname for DShK 1938 heavy infantry machine gun — in the city's alleyways. Local media activist Abu Ammar said east Aleppo was filled with an overwhelming smell of blood due to the number of dead bodies and wounded piled up on the streets.
France's Permanent Representative to the U.N., Francois Delattre, described the current situation in Aleppo as "one of the biggest massacres of (a) civilian population since World War II."
As for east Aleppo's survivors, they continue to live in terrible conditions. Nearly 300,000 civilians are trapped in an area of 30 square kilometers, becoming the targets of falling bombs. Stephane Dujarric, a spokesperson for the U.N. Secretary-General, reports that humanitarian aid sent to the area had been exhausted on Nov. 13, and that the region has virtually become "a city without food." The hospitals in the area have become increasingly dysfunctional.
As the U.N. Security Council assembled to discuss the tragedy unfolding in the city, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien warned that if access to the under-siege city could not be enabled and civilians could not be rescued, eastern Aleppo would become "one giant graveyard." The International Committee of the Red Cross announced that 20,000 people had recently left eastern Aleppo. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said detention centers have been established in Aleppo, and more than 300 civilians were missing.
Winter is Coming
With winter conditions becoming even more severe, what the people of east Aleppo need most is food and shelter. If the necessary supplies and aid are not provided soon, the people of east Aleppo are doomed.
It is necessary to take immediate action. The skirmishes and bombings must be ceased immediately and unconditionally. The civilian population in the disaster areas should be relocated to safe zones and humanitarian aid should be delivered. It should not be forgotten that these people are not terrorists, but poor, innocent people merely trying to survive.
It is an obvious fact that until today, neither the U.N. nor other international institutions and the Western coalition have been successful in solving the Syrian crisis. For this reason, the most important task in resolving the crisis and ensuring a lasting peace falls not only on warring local factions, but also, and perhaps even more so, on Russia, Turkey and Iran.
The recent announcement that Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan had come to an agreement regarding an end to fighting in Aleppo and the delivery of aid to civilians was good news.
That the Syrian opposition met with the Russian authorities in Ankara under the mediation of Turkey regarding putting an end to the tragedy in Aleppo was likewise a promising development.
Putin's spokesperson Dimitry Peskov's statement that Mr. Putin ordered the urgent construction of field hospitals in Aleppo was also quite significant in terms of reflecting Russia's responsible and humane approach to the issue.
While countries such as Russia, Iran and Turkey share centuries-old historical, social and cultural relations and ties with the region, it has been disturbing to see political actors from far-flung parts of the world wade into the conflict in pursuit of certain interests and goals.
The time has come for Aleppo, Syria, Iraq, the Middle East and the Islamic world to free themselves from the foul designs of imperialism. Participating in the bloodshed in Aleppo will only achieve one thing: turning local actors into an instrument for insidious imperialist plans that serve the architects of the "Greater Middle East Project."
Most of the places devastated during the attacks in Syria have subsequently come under the control of Kurdish PYD-PKK forces. The Kurds, lest it be forgotten, are staunch allies of certain meddling Western powers. This is concrete proof of who actually benefits from war and instability. The real threat in the region is not the poor civilians, but the insidious and opportunistic subcontractors of imperialism.
Contrary to the plan in effect, the biggest blow dealt to the dark schemes aimed at the region will be to stop the bloodshed, to establish peace and stability, to protect the downtrodden Syrians by delivering them from disaster to salvation, and to protect the unity and integrity of Syria. A solid alliance between Russia, Turkey and Iran is the only way to realize this mission.
It is crucial for Russia to render its existing alliance with Syria lasting and stronger than before. Russia is at a historical turning point with regard to protecting not only the regime supporters but all the Syrian people, opposition or neutral.
I sincerely believe that Mr. Putin and the Russian government will urgently take the most rational and humane decisions at this critical crossroads. Russia should make great use of this opportunity to be the pioneer of a historic mission in Syria and set an inspiring example.
Adnan Oktar's piece in The China Post & EKurd Daily & Daily Mail: