This Christmas, the world simply closed its eyes on Aleppo


With reports of civilians being shot on the spot by pro-Assad forces provided by Iran, Russia, the Lebanese Hezbollah and a variety of others, the United Nations is describing the situation as a “complete meltdown of humanity.” Nice words, but is there any action? No.

As the rebels are probably only days from being forced out of Aleppo or massacred completely alongside God knows how many civilians, the international community can only be completely ashamed of itself.

{mosads}For years we heard “Never again,” and yet we are witnessing the horrendous bombing and carnage of civilians, including innocent women and children, with the world turning its back.


Iran, Russia, Assad and their proxy groups most certainly counted on the lame-duck season after the U.S. presidential elections from Nov. 9 to Jan. 20. They are on the verge of taking over Aleppo to have a bargaining chip with the incoming Donald Trump administration in Washington.

And the world? Rest assured people in the West are more concerned about what to purchase for their friends and loved ones for Christmas than to even think about — let alone take action — regarding the atrocities taking place in Aleppo and across Syria.

And with all governments and parliaments headed for seasonal recess during the Christmas vacations, Assad, its Iranian regime masters and Russian President Vladimir Putin considered it the best timing to launch their apparent genocides.

The savagery has reached the point where the UN’s human rights office voiced deep concerns.

“The reports we had are of people being shot in the street trying to flee and shot in their homes,” Rupert Colville, a UN spokesman, said. “There could be many more.”

There are streaming reports of extrajudicial murders at the hands of pro-Bashar Assad forces, parallel to large scale detentions and apprehensions. There are words of men fleeing eastern Aleppo being forced to join the Syrian army ranks, or die.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported corpses abandoned in streets throughout the formerly rebel-held eastern area of Aleppo, with shelling terrifying residents to even bury the dead. “Real massacres” are seen in the city, the war monitor reported.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has made pleas for the protection of civilians in east Aleppo “before it is too late.”

All depends on an agreement between forces closing in on remaining rebel pockets and enclaves.

Up to 100,000 civilians are reportedly trapped in last portions of east Aleppo. This is weeks after a horrendous offensive launched by the Assad military and Iran-backed militias, enjoying lethal Russian air cover dropping banned unconventional weaponry on civilian areas.

Farewell messages have been pouring from east Aleppo from Monday night into Tuesday morning, with many anticipating death by bombing, torture or murder in the case of surrendering themselves.

What goes beyond belief is how the entire world has watched this entire drama spell out day by day, knowing such a massacre and atrocity was in the making, and simply doing nothing. Many are sick and tired of only hearing words of condemnation from international figures.

All parties involved must “protect civilians and abide by international humanitarian and human rights law. This is particularly the responsibility of the Syrian government and its allies,” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

How many times have we heard that before with no action to back it up? For example, Iran has been condemned nearly 70 times by various U.N. bodies for its flagrant human rights violations. Yet this has never been followed by any serious practical measure, leaving the regime in Tehran with a green light to continue its executions and tortures in prison.

It is now the same with Syria. Assad has seen the international community, due to the wrong policies of outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama, lacks the will to take any serious action against him. This is while Iran and Russia are easily providing much needed money and a conglomerate of military support to Assad.

While innocent people are dying in Syria and the country has become a “giant graveyard,” America is more concerned about the possibility of Russia being involved in hacking the November elections.

While this is an important issue, it should not cloak the main subject at hand. The killings in Syria must come to an end. The U.S. and Congress have a duty to raise their voice and enforce an end to this disaster.

Iran claims its presence in Syria is aimed at protecting holy Shiite shrines. Russia said its air campaign is to rid Syria of Daesh (ISIS/ISIL). Aleppo has proven how they have pursued nothing but the carnage of innocent civilians for their own hegemonic interests.

Aleppo can officially be considered lost. However, no more deaths should be allowed.

“Please just tell our stories to the world,” texted one resident of east Aleppo.

Heshmat Alavi is an Iranian political and human rights activist. He tweets at @HeshmatAlavi

The views expressed by Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill. 

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