Monday, January 11, 2016

More on Aleppo

Reporting by Rami Jarrah ‏ ( 2 Jan) :  according to one Aleppo citizen, ISIS (ISIL) is advancing against the FSA in the North because the Russian planes are helping them.  More on PBS Newshour:
JEFFREY BROWN: So, the Russians are saying that they are targeting ISIS and other — and strategic sites, but that’s not what you’re seeing.

RJ: No, Jeffrey, that’s definitely not what I’m seeing, and it’s definitely not what the civilians here in Aleppo are seeing.

I think this man in the video is a small example of what is actually happening. He is frantically trying to explain, it’s just civilians here. There’s no signs of ISIS here. Why are they attacking us? [..] This is what this man is saying. And it’s basically the language that you’re going to hear around Aleppo, because the people here are very much convinced that the Russian and Syrian airstrikes are meant and aimed to target civilians and to drive them either out of Aleppo or to kill them.

And this is something that they have come to believe because of the constant attacks. We’re witnessing between 10 to 15 airstrikes in central Aleppo alone on a daily basis. And these airstrikes, what we have been doing is trying to follow these airstrikes. I have gotten my hands on — access to information of when the strikes hit. So, I’m following the civil defense. I haven’t, until now, seen one attack that has landed on a military unit or a depot. And this is something that we’re trying to document and make clear. Now, the problem is that last year U.N. Security Council resolution actually allowed Russia to actually attack areas that have ISIS or al-Nusra in them.

But that’s on the basis that we’re taking Russia’s take on where those groups are located. But those groups are not located in these areas. And that’s the excuse that is being used to attack these areas. So, this is a major problem. It’s who decides where these groups are. We have been trying to prove that these groups are not located here. If they were, I wouldn’t be able to operate. I wouldn’t be able to do the reports I was doing.

JB: So, what are the biggest fears that you’re hearing from people now? Is it a government victory backed by Russia? Is it ISIS, especially, perhaps, as it’s driven more from Iraq, coming in even stronger in and around Aleppo? [..]

RJ:  The people here are not in any way worried that Assad or Assad’s army or Russia or Hezbollah forces are going to invade Aleppo. I haven’t heard this expressed once. The people here are worried that ISIS is going to, in fact, take over Aleppo, because of the fact that the — not only the Russian airstrikes, but in addition to the coalition airstrikes, they are actually forcing ISIS further away from Iraq and deeper into Syria. And what that means is past Raqqa, past Deir el-Zour, and into Aleppo. So there are no signs of ISIS in Aleppo. So, the fear here is that ISIS takes these areas and that there isn’t really much preventing that by Russia or the Syrian regime, who are actually more so accepting the idea of Aleppo being taken by ISIS, as a sort of an excuse that can be used at a later stage to allow the rest of the international community also to intervene against the opposition. [My emphasis]


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