All the access within the areas that were being controlled by terrorists in East Aleppo were closed after the resistance forces dominated the Bani Zaid region.
West as usual expressed “humanitarian” concern and at the same time remarked Russia and Syria’s efforts to rescue civilians as “deceitful” while al-Nusra Front in hope of exiting the list of terrorist groups and to be identified “moderate” by the West, said they will officially cut ties with al-Qaeda. However these actions and statements seemed so fake and spurious that not only nobody believed them, they were even met with scorn from certain observers.
On Thursday, Syrian army units along with their allies, took control of the Bani Zaid area in East Aleppo region to completely surround the areas that are controlled by the terrorist forces. Aleppo was considered Syria’s largest city and commercial capital of the country before the the crisis and is of vital importance for the both sides, this is also why this battle has been dubbed “mother of battles”.
Analysts described the domination of Bani Zaid by government forces as a heavy blow to the Syrian opposition. The chairman of the “Center for Middle East Studies” and professor at the University of Oklahoma, Joshua Landis pointed out in his website that “encirclement of Aleppo is an important chapter in Syria’s ongoing struggle” adding that Syrian rebels were weakened severely in the past year.
Some analysts consider the siege of Aleppo even more important, they believe this situation can create the belief among the rebels that they have lost the war. Aron Lund expert on the topics related to Syria from the Carnegie institution wrote the following on Joshua Landis’ website: “If Assad shows that he is winning Aleppo, and he’s now also advancing on the rebels in Damascus, it could trigger a more dramatic shift by finally convincing opposition groups that they have lost the war.” This analyst who is famous for supporting the Syrian rebels also noted: “Many thousands of them would probably fight on regardless, for ideological reasons or simply because they see no hope for survival under Assad. But some might decide to abandon the fight and flee Syria or try to negotiate a separate peace with the government.”
On the same day that the resistance forces took over the Bani Zaid area, Syrian state television announced that some of the armed forces in eastern districts of Aleppo surrendered to the Syrian army.
The West’s Ceaseless Game
Every time that Syrian government forces and their allies are making great progress against terrorists in different parts of the country, especially in Aleppo, the West so called “humanitarian” felling aroused- as they describe- and reacts to the achievements. White House spokesman, Eric Schultz, stressed at a news conference on Friday that “Washington is deeply concerned about the situation in Aleppo, where Russian forces and the Syrian government, have cut off access to areas under the control of the Syrian opposition.” While West voices it concerns, Russia and Syria have announced that not only are there routes left open for civilians to escape the eastern district of Aleppo but an extensive humanitarian operation has begun.
However, while rejecting Russia and Syria’s actions for protecting civilians, the West has accused the two countries of deception. The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, in response to a question from one of the reporters at the start of the meeting with his UAE counterpart stated: “We are deeply concerned about the means of this “humanitarian operation” and twice within the last 24 hours I have spoken with Russia on the issue.” On the other hand, John Kirby, spokesman for the US State Department said Washington is concerned about the opening of the crossings in Aleppo. Meanwhile, the French Foreign Ministry announced: “Moscow’s plan for human pathways that give the citizens of Aleppo a way to escape from the city, will not be a valid call and response.”
Observers describe the reaction of the West to Russia and Syria’s efforts to protect the lives of civilians as “hypocritical” and say by opposing Moscow and Damascus’ actions the West aims to maximize civilian casualties in order to put pressure on the Syrian government. On the other hand, local sources in the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo told the media: “Armed forces do not allow the escape of 18 to 50 years olds from these neighborhoods. This falls under the threat of terrorist groups against civilians, as for departure to government-controlled areas in Syria if they enter the Bustan Al-Qasr crossing, they will be punished and arrested.”
At the same time, Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s deputy defense minister stated that the Aleppo operation is purely humanitarian, and expressed surprise to the position of some politicians who believe that there are secret purposes behind Russia’s actions. He also added: “We are ready to do our utmost to help citizens who seek peace and even help those in the armed forces who are willing to lay down their weapons.” On the other hand in the same day that resistance forces were able to have major advancements in eastern districts of Aleppo, al-Nusra Front announced their separation from al-Qaeda. This group’s leader, Abu Mohammad al-Julani in a video message which was broadcast on Al Jazeera, announced their separation from the al-Qaeda network, and added that the name of their group will change to “Jabhat Fateh al-Sham”, before this message was published, Al-Qaeda’s second leader in hope of satisfying some of the Nusra Front commanders, stated the following in a voice message: “If the separation of the al-Nusra Front will help to strengthen the unity of the these forces that are involved in war in Syria against the common enemy, al-Nusra Front should be removed from the network.”
Last Tuesday by examining the causes of potential decisions for the separation of the al-Nusra Front, the “Javan” news outlet reported that al-Nusra’s actions are all fake and spurious and aim to deceive society and come out of the list of terrorist organizations, to be able to receive public support from the West and some regional governments. JAN’s decision of getting separated from al-Qaeda was met with interesting reaction from the observers, Max Abraham, a terrorism expert and professor at Northwestern University in the US, with a satirical tone tweeted: “Assad will be formally changing his name to Bono to gain international supporters.” He also later noted: “You can take al-Nusra out of al-Qaeda but you can’t take the al-Qaeda out of al-Nusra.” Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated: “no matter what they call themselves, the Al-Nusra Front will remain an illegal terrorist group whom the only reason for formation was creating a so-called Islamic caliphate with brutal methods.” Syrian Foreign Ministry also wrote in a letter to the UN Security Council: Changing the name of al-Nusra terrorist group is a desperate way to wipe out the traces of their crimes. It is also noted in the letter that: “The continuing support of France, the US, Britain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar for these terrorist groups which have been called “moderate” by these countries, and Changing the name of these groups shows clear support for terrorism, not only in Syria but in every country in the world.” The falsity of al-Nusra’s separation from al-Qaeda was so obvious that even the US adopted a cautious stance. On Friday, White House announced that the separation of the al-Nusra Front from al-Qaeda, will not change US’ assessment of the nature of this group and according to the US the group is still a threat to America and its allies