Aleppo is all over the news and with good reason too, it’s important. Here are 5 things you should know about what’s going on in Aleppo.
Aleppo is a particularly important site for the civil war in Syria (for more info about the Syrian Civil war see our Fact Sheet.). Aleppo was Syria’s most populous city and as such is a very important victory for either President Assad or the rebels. The city is currently divided into two main sections – a western section governed by the Syrian government, and an eastern section controlled by the rebels.
2. While Islamic State (IS) is not currently fighting in Aleppo, analysts are now saying that a victory for the Syrian government could make Aleppo a source of many recruits for IS – moderate rebels feeling abandoned by the West could be easily persuaded by IS and other extremist groups in Syria, e.g. former Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and Ahrar al-Sham. One things is certain, these groups will continue to take advantage of the total chaos that has engulfed Syria since the start of the war.
- The aftermath of the Battle for Aleppo is particularly important right now, as U.N. envoy, Staffan de Mistura warns that if nothing changes, Aleppo will most likely fall in 2-2.5 months. The chance that things will change seem very unlikely after a recent week-long ceasefire ended and U.N. Security Council session afterward went nowhere. Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin stated that “Bringing a peace is almost an impossible task now.”
- Civilians are being killed by both rebels forces and their own government. Some 470,000 people have been killed in Aleppo since 2011.
- For those still alive in Aleppo, especially the eastern side, life is extremely difficult. An estimated 275,000 civilians (1/3rd children) and 10,000 rebels are trapped there, having to weather constant aerial attacks with no access to humanitarian aid and no way out. The U.N. says six hospitals are still operating, but they are only partially functional, and there remain only 30 doctors in eastern Aleppo.