Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, August 2016
Aleppo Humanitarian Crisis Threatens Hundreds of Thousands of Civilian Lives, Resembles the Genocidal, Ethnic Cleansing in Syria
August 3, 2016
The US-led coalition which fights the Islamic State in northeastern Syria consists of US-led NATO forces, Russian forces, Syrian Alewife government forces, Iranian-backed Shi'i militias, and Kurdish peshmerga forces. The coalition's continuous attacks have resulted in the killing of thousands of Iraqi Sunni Muslim Arabs and the eviction of thousands as a result of the destruction of their cities and villages.
Millions of Iraqi Sunni Muslim Arabs have already left their cities and villages as the fighting intensifies towards an all-attack by the US-led coalition on Raqqa and Mosul. The end outcome is going to be evicting (ethnic cleansing of) Sunni Muslim Arabs from the upper Euphrates region of northwestern Iraq and northeastern Syria.
For a background, read:
After Muhaysini vowed… tens of strikes accompany the heavy clashes southwest of Aleppo city
At least two people were killed and others were wounded when a missile targeted regime forces’ controlled areas in Salahuddin neighborhood in Aleppo, while several people were injuried when the regime forces shelled areas in Aqyoul neighborhood in Aleppo, also the factions targeted a missile base for the regime forces in the area of the officers building at Jam’eyyat al-Zahra’a at the western outskirts of Aleppo.
Also violent battles continued between the regime forces and militiamen loyal to them from Syrian, Arab and Asian nationalities against the rebel and Islamic factions, Fath al-Sham Front, the Islamic Turkestan party, Uzbek fighters and other factions in the vicinity of Ramouseh area and southwest of Aleppo city and Manasher Menyan area, after detonating a tunnel under a site for the regime forces at the outskirts Ameriyah which is adjacent to Ramouseh area.
The clashes started After a violent attack carried out by factions in several areas at the southwest of the city of Aleppo, in conjunction with violent attack by the factions on Hwaiz village and it shill, and the clashes accompanied by heavy shelling by the factions on positions for the regime forces in the area, and heavy shelling by the regime forces on the area and tens of airstrikes by Russian warplanes on al-Hikmah School.
Other areas in south and southwest of the city, during the clashes, raids, bombing tens of fighters and the members of both parties were killed, as it is expected that the second phase of the attack, “the wrath of Aleppo” will start, after vowing by the commander Abdullah Muhaysini the chief of the center of Advocates To Jihad that “there are 60 infiltrators from the Islamic Turkestan party, and with them some of the persons who are ready to detonate themselves (esteshhadi or martyrdom) will begin their advance towards the city of Aleppo after I have given them an inciting lesson”
Russian helicopter on Aleppo aid mission shot down, all 5 aboard dead (VIDEO)
Russia TV, 1 Aug, 2016, 09:52
A Russian Mi-8 helicopter has been shot down by ground fire in Syria following delivery of humanitarian supplies to Aleppo, the Defense Ministry said. Three crew and two officers from Russia's Reconciliation Center died, according to a Kremlin statement.
The Russian military transport Mi-8 helicopter was shot down in Syria on Monday over an area controlled by Al-Nusra Front, Russia’s General Staff said.
“The helicopter was hit from the ground in an area under control of the armed units of Al-Nusra Front group and the troops of the so-called ‘moderate opposition’ who joined them,” General Sergey Rudskoy, chief of the main operations department of the Russian General Staff, said.
On August 1, an Mi-8 transport helicopter has been shot down by ground fire in Idlib province after a delivery of humanitarian aid to the city of Aleppo. Three crew members and two officers from the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria were on board," the Defense Ministry said in a statement earlier on Monday.
The helicopter was returning to the Russian air base at Khmeimim, the statement added. The ministry has not yet revealed identities of those on board.
The Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria has operated at Khmeimim air base since February. It contributes to peace talks between Syrian government and moderate opposition factions not aligned with IS, Al-Nusra Front or other groups.
The center also oversees ceasefire agreements between belligerent parties and delivery of humanitarian supplies to various parts of Syria.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed in a statement later in the day that all those on board are dead.
“Those on board the helicopter were killed, as we learned from the Defense Ministry's report. They died heroically as [the crew] tried to divert the helicopter to minimize casualties on the ground,” Peskov said, adding the Mi-8 had been on a humanitarian mission.
"The Kremlin conveys its deep condolences to the families of those killed in action," he added.
Shortly after the crash, a number of on-the-spot videos have emerged online, allegedly showing helicopter debris, including a tail rotor and parts of the fuselage. At the moment, RT cannot verify authenticity of those videos.
Last week the Syrian government and Russia launched an effort to evacuate civilians wishing to leave Aleppo, establishing safe corridors and providing food, medical assistance and transport for those who chose to use them. Scores of people, mostly women and children, rushed to abandon the battered city, which has been contested by several armed forces.
The Syrian opposition decried the move, claiming it was an attempt to depopulate the city, a part of which remains one of its strongholds.
The Syrian Army has lost several aircraft over the last two months, indicating that militants may have received new anti-aircraft weapons lately, freelance journalist Alaa Ibrahim told RT.
"I’ve heard some local sources where the [Russian] helicopter was downed speaking of the possibility of MANPADs – shoulder-mounted surface-to-air missiles – being used in that context," he said.
Portable surface-to-air missiles would be a game changer in the hands of the rebel forces, as they counter the Syrian Army’s air superiority. Providing such weapons would be a risky move for a foreign nation, considering the previous record of unintended weapons transfers.
It is the third Russian helicopter lost in action in Syria this year. In July, an Mi-25 attack chopper was shot down near Palmyra, killing two Russian pilots. The aircraft had been engaging the advancing Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants at the Syrian Army's request when it was taken down, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
In April, an Mi-28N attack helicopter crashed while performing a flight near the city of Homs, with the Defense Ministry stressing it was not shot down. The crash left both pilots dead, with technical failure cited by Moscow as the likely cause of the accident. Last October, another Mi-8 helicopter was badly damaged and then destroyed by IS fighters after an emergency landing in the middle of search and rescue operation to extract a surviving co-pilot of a Su-24M bomber jet shot which was down by a Turkish Air Force F-16.
The number of Russian servicemen who lost their lives since the start of the country’s operation in Syria on September 30 last year stands at 19 people after the downing of the helicopter.
Coalition to formally investigate recent civilian deaths in Syria
The international coalition fighting ISIS has opened a formal investigation to determine whether its air strikes last week near the Syrian city of Manbij claimed civilian lives, a spokesman said Wednesday.
The main Syrian opposition group had urged the US-led coalition to suspend its bombardments following the July 19 strikes, which a rights-monitoring group and local residents said had killed dozens of civilians.
After examining “internal and external information,” the coalition determined that there was sufficient credible evidence of civilian victims to open a formal inquiry, said spokesman Colonel Chris Garver.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 56 civilians, including 11 children, died as they fled from a village near Manbij, a strategic waypoint between Turkey and the extremist stronghold of Raqqa.
A death toll of that magnitude would appear to be the worst in nearly two years of coalition air strikes against ISIS targets.
Garver said Wednesday that death estimates from residents near Manbij ranged from a low of “10 to 15” to a high of 73.
Garver had earlier accused ISIS of using civilians as “human shields.”
Coalition officials often say theirs is the most precise air campaign in history.
Nearly all coalition air strikes use guided munitions, involving laser or GPS systems, or else missiles. Targets are often viewed at length using surveillance drones before the order to attack is issued.
After the Manbij bombardment, Amnesty International urged the coalition to redouble its efforts to prevent civilian deaths and to investigate possible violations of international humanitarian law.
The London-based nongovernmental organization Airwars has estimated that the roughly 14,000 coalition bombing attacks since August 2014 have claimed at least 1,513 civilian lives.
The coalition has officially acknowledged only a few dozen civilian victims.
After the air strikes of July 19, the main Syrian opposition group, the Istanbul-based National Coalition, called on the US-led forces to suspend bombardments.
The group’s president, Anas al-Abdeh, said civilian casualties could heighten a sense of desperation among Syrians and provide a recruiting tool for extremist groups like ISIS.
Garver said last week that the extremists had been mounting exceptionally fierce resistance in Manbij.
“It’s a fight like we haven’t seen before,” he said.
“That’s our job”: Syria envoy De Mistura urges Russia to leave humanitarian corridors to UN
SOHR, Al-Bawaba, 31/07/2016
Syrian forces and their Russian allies should give the United Nations control over the new humanitarian corridors they established in Aleppo, UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said Friday.
“Our suggestion is to Russia to actually leave the corridors being established at their initiative to us,” de Mistura told reporters in Geneva.
“The UN and their humanitarian partners know what to do,” the UN diplomat added. “That’s our job.”
The Syrian government said Thursday it had opened three humanitarian corridors in Aleppo to help civilians leave the rebel-held neighbourhoods in the city’s east.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow would assist with the operation, which also provides assistance to militants who surrender their weapons.
After blocking all incoming supply routes, regime forces under Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are attempting a siege of Aleppo’s rebel-held areas, where an estimated 250,000 to 300,000 civilians are thought to remain.
De Mistura demanded that no civilians be forced to leave, and that those who chose to exit Aleppo should have the right to go where they wish.
In addition, there should be a sustained ceasefire so that leaving civilians as well as entering humanitarian convoys are not put at risk, he said.
“There need to be guarantees on the protection of civilians,” de Mistura said.
He stressed that the Russian and Syrian proposal was still a draft, and that Moscow had shown willingness to heed outside advice on its humanitarian plan.
Supplies in the besieged part of Aleppo will last only for three more weeks, according to the UN.
Earlier this month, al-Assad’s forces blocked Castello Road, the only major supply route into rebel-held eastern Aleppo, raising fears about a humanitarian disaster there.
Regime forces on Friday attacked the opposition-controlled section of the northern city, activists in the area said.
Head of Aleppo’s local council Brita Hagi Hassam accused al-Assad’s regime and Russia of propagating “lies” about humanitarian assistance.
“Not only have they cut off the sole lifeline to eastern Aleppo, but they have killed children and women,” Hassam wrote in a Facebook message. “They have also bombed hospitals and vital places in order to force people into submission.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said that only 12 people had left Aleppo’s beleaguered areas through one humanitarian passageway before rebel groups set up checkpoints and prevented people from approaching the exit corridors.
The Observatory’s head Rami Abdel-Rahman told dpa that regime aircraft and artillery struck rebel-held districts overnight. He did not give casualty figures.
Entrances to the humanitarian corridors from the opposition-held areas were on Friday effectively shut, according to Abdel-Rahman.
Activists inside rebel-held districts said inhabitants are hesitant about leaving because they are afraid to be arrested by regime forces after crossing the humanitarian routes.
Once Syria’s commercial hub, Aleppo has been divided between government forces in the west and rebels in the east since fighting erupted for control of the city in mid-2012.
UN urges humanitarian ceasefire for Aleppo
SOHR, Anadolu, 26/07/2016
The United Nations on Monday urged a 48-hour humanitarian cease-fire in Aleppo, Syria, where hundreds of thousands of residents remain trapped due to ongoing fighting.
”I cannot stress enough how critical the situation is” in east of Aleppo, Stephen O’Brien, the UN humanitarian chief, told the Security Council.
Aid workers need to be given access to the city to tend to the sick and those in need, he said, facilitating a need for a suspension of hostilities and a temporary lift of sieges.
Britain’s UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told the council that his country supported the call for a cease-fire, stressing that the east of Aleppo is entirely encircled by regime forces, trapping 300,000 residents.
”We cannot hide away behind closed doors; we cannot stay silent in the face of such barbarism … hundreds of civilians are being killed and injured in attacks from the air and ground … hundreds of thousands more are now suffering in an ever expanding humanitarian crisis,” he said.
Rycroft said he received a letter earlier in the day from a doctor at Aleppo Children’s Hospital that said, “if nothing is done, we are surely facing death.”
On Monday Damascus indicated it was ready to resume peace talks in Geneva. The last round of negotiations began April 13 but fell apart shortly after.
Editor’s note: This article has been edited from the source material.
***Share this article with your facebook friends
Fair Use Notice
This site contains copyrighted material the
use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright
owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance
understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic,
democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this
constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for
in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C.
Section 107, the material on this site is
distributed without profit to those
who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information
for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of
your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the
Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah & ccun.org.
email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org