(Tarık Sulo Cevizci)
(Tarık Sulo Cevizci)
Crimes against Humanity in Aleppo
In Aleppo, horrible crimes against humanity are being committed right now as all codes of morality break down in the civil war. As one of the oldest cities in the world, Aleppo is being destroyed along with all of its residents. In order to lay bare the ongoing tragedy in Aleppo, an in-depth interview took place with Tarık Sulo Cevizci, a Turkmen politician who lived in Aleppo with his family and also studied in Turkey. The following considerations are thus indebted to Cevizci's insights into the ongoing tragedy in Aleppo.
Before the advent of the Syrian civil war, Aleppo was the largest city in Syria and one of the central cities of Syrian culture and economy. It also had a high potential for regional trade.
The population of Syria is composed of 4.5 million people, who are divided into three major ethnic groups of Arabs, Kurds and Turkmens. The population of Aleppo is, on the other hand, composed of former residents of Aleppo and of those who migrated to the city in a latter phase. While the latter reside in the periphery of the city, the former constitute Aleppo's central elements that migrated to the city in the Seljuk and Mameluke periods as traders and artisans.
In 2012, Aleppo became entangled in the civil war by the military intervention of opposition groups. Although protest movements seemed to be weaker in that city, Aleppo has rapidly become the locomotive of the Syrian opposition movement. At this very moment, it is divided into two main fields through a military line, which remain intact until today.
The northern and eastern regions of Aleppo are controlled by the opposition forces, while western Aleppo has been under the control of Assad's regime. Through painstaking military operations, the opposition groups manged to open a corridor in southern Aleppo, called "the Ramosa line." Through that corridor, humanitarian aid can be transported to the city. In the first days of Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield, the Syrian regime closed the corridor and surrounded the opposition forces in the eastern Aleppo.
Aleppo's tragedy has been intensified with the regime's blockade of the city. Therefore, a number of agreements were signed under the leadership of Lavrov and Kerry to establish a cease-fire between the warring factions and for transporting humanitarian aid to Aleppo. Yet, the agreement between the United States and Russia seems to have failed; there is no consensus between the Pentagon and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the Syrian policy of the U.S.
As the position of the Pentagon derives from their conviction that the given agreement with Russia is against the national interests of the U.S., it seems that Pentagon officials decided to sabotage Obama's agreement with Russia after their meeting with Kerry.
According to leaked parts of the agreement, Russia desired to take certain opposition movements, such as Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham, into the international terror list of al-Nusra and al-Qaida. As those opposition movements constitute a major part of the Syrian opposition, such a decision would deal a serious blow to the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Thanks to the vigilance of the Pentagon, the U.S. did not fall into that trap, but as opposed to the abolition of the agreement, Russia has begun to heavily bombard the regions controlled by the opposition forces at the end of which thousands of civilians lost their lives. Aleppo is constantly being bombarded by Syrian and Russian warplanes. Even the shelters are no longer safe and thus, the people of Aleppo are now facing a massive slaughter.
The death toll of the last four days is around 450 people. The people who lost their lives in the Syrian and Russian air operations are all civilians, most of whom are women and children. In addition to the ongoing humanitarian tragedy, the historical legacy of Aleppo is also under serious threat. By the destruction of those historical artefacts, which are especially concentrated at the old city of Aleppo, the Syrian regime and Russia are committing crimes not only against the civilian people, but also against humanity's historical legacy.
Behind that bloodshed, Syria and Russia aim not only at bringing the Syrian opposition to their knees, but also force the US to abolishe the agreement between Kerry and Lavrov. We would like to thank to Tarık Sulo Cevizci for laying bare the ongoing humanitarian tragedy in Aleppo.