(ANTIMEDIA) — Pro-Assad forces have made significant gains in Eastern Aleppo in the last few days, leading some military observers to predict the city’s fall could take place before the end of 2016.
With the aid of Russian bombers, Hezbollah members from Lebanon, and thousands of Iraqi Shi’a militia fighters, Syrian forces have begun reclaiming major parts of the city. According to many sources, about a third of opposition-held Eastern Aleppo has already been reclaimed.
The recent advances have observers speculating that Assad intends to win Aleppo before Trump takes office due to the fact that Trump is expected to be more focused on fighting ISIS than trying to overthrow Assad. If this is the case, Trump and Obama will differ significantly on this issue.
In fact, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is already making significant diplomatic efforts to bargain with Russian President Vladimir Putin to try to reverse the progress Syrian and Russian authorities have made in reclaiming opposition-held areas. According to the Washington Post, Kerry is working on implementing a new deal with Russia that would focus on identifying moderate rebels — as opposed to al-Qaeda-linked rebels — squarely in Aleppo. This would involve all the regional players, including Iran.
Regardless, Trump is expected to approach the Syrian conflict differently than the current administration by ceasing to target Assad, and Kerry’s bargaining power is currently waning as Russia and Syria remain likely to press on.
Thousands of residents are reportedly fleeing the rebel-held areas of Aleppo for government-held areas. Missing from any mainstream narrative of the conflict is the fact the “rebels” the media are reporting on are heavily connected to al-Qaeda-linked organizations. The media exclusively refers to such rebel groups in Syria as rebels, whereas elsewhere, they would most likely be referred to as terror groups.
For example, the Financial Times made a point of quoting Yaser Alyoussef, a spokesman for the Nour al-Din al-Zinki rebel group, which beheaded a child earlier this year. The Times also neglected to mention the group has been accused of war crimes.
Further, Iraq’s involvement in the push to oust these rebel groups from Aleppo, siding with Russia, Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah, will only further damage Washington’s efforts to break up and undermine the rising Russian-Iranian-dominated bridge due to the alliances of the aforementioned countries in the region. This poses a major threat to their economic interests in the region.
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