Asharq Al-Awsat – By Tariq Alhomayed: The world is coolly – or shall we say apathetically – watching the troops of the tyrant of Damascus preparing to carry out massacres in Aleppo, and only God Almighty knows what will happen! Al-Assad’s forces are preparing, with all its Russian weapons and Iranian supplies, to storm the city and eliminate the revolutionaries there: so will this be the critical battle in the Syrian revolution?
What is certain is that the battle for Aleppo will be significant, but it will not decide whether al-Assad is victorious over the revolution or not, rather it will serve as an indication of the speed of the collapse of al-Assad regime, something that General Robert Mood described as being a “matter of time”. Therefore victory for the Syrian revolutionaries, and their ongoing presence and control of Aleppo, would mean that al-Assad’s days are truly numbered, and his collapse will come at the hands of the Syrian revolutionaries themselves. Their victory would break the back of the tyrant’s forces and send a message to al-Assad’s inner circle, namely that it is game over, and they must settle their affairs. This is because it would be impossible for al-Assad to continue following defeat in Aleppo, which would represent the first “safe zone” in Syria, whilst its proximity to the Turkish border would facilitate the supply of weapons and training, whilst also offering protection to Syrian defectors. This means that it would truly be possible to destroy the al-Assad regime’s army, and as soon as possible. Therefore, it is clear – at the time of writing this article – that al-Assad will not heed the international warnings regarding the consequences of storming Aleppo, because he knows that this he is facing the end.
As for the tyrant’s forces storming Aleppo and breaking the revolution, this would necessitate horrific massacres being perpetrated in a city with a population of around 2.5 million, comprising a mixture of tribes and all of Syria’s social fabric, including the Kurds. This means that al-Assad would be the enemy of Aleppo, and it would be very difficult to subsequently control the chaos there. Al-Assad sponsored massacres in Aleppo – and unfortunately this is what is expected to happen – represents the shortest path for al-Assad to make an appearance at the International Criminal Court in The Hague on charges of war crimes, rather than looking for an exit in a ‘civilized manner, as quoted by the Russians. Massacres taking place in Aleppo will embarrass everybody, from those calling for a peaceful transition in Syria to those who oppose the arming of the opposition and foreign military intervention. This would also expose Russia’s hypocrisy, as well as the blatant Iranian hypocrisy, not to mention that of Hezbollah. Aleppo would be the comprehensive break between yesterday and today, especially for those who think that their talk about sectarianism is clever, as well as those who are falsely warning against Islamic extremism. Aleppo would be akin to a fatty meal of sectarianism, extremism and terrorism, particularly as these massacres would be taking place during the holy month of Ramadan. This is something that would not be soon forgotten in the coming days, or indeed throughout the history of the region, and Iran, Hezbollah and Russia would be inexorably linked in everybody’s minds with the Aleppo massacres.
Therefore, Aleppo will break the back of the tyrant al-Assad, whilst also removing the last fig leaf from the spineless in Iran, Hezbollah and Moscow. This will be akin to the coup de grace to the political regime present today in Syria.
In conclusion, Aleppo is a dilemma for the tyrant al-Assad, for victory there will taste like bitter defeat, whilst defeat would represent the beginning of the end of his criminal regime, and all its regional allies. This is the power of Aleppo, and the power of the Syrian people, towards this criminal al-Assad regime and its conspiratorial and sectarian allies, in front of a weak international community, in every sense of the word.