MESOP : Arguments & Analysis – “Around Aleppo, It’s Not Peace — Just a Break“ (Thanassis Cambanis, The Century Foundation)

“Aleppo’s state of play underscores just how difficult it would be to work out the details of a lasting settlement. It has proven impossible, even with massive Russian support, for the Syrian government to fully encircle the rebels in Western Aleppo. It isn’t known whether Russia made a tactical decision not to allow a full government takeover of Aleppo, in order to prevent government overreach, or whether it wasn’t able to. Moreover, despite indications that the Syrian civil war might be tilting toward a punishing stalemate, the factions around Aleppo—once the economic and industrial hub of Syria — have plenty of fight still left in them.

During the ceasefire, skirmishes have continued over city’s strategic choke points. Militias have shifted their forces in anticipation of major battles they expect as soon as the ceasefire breaks down. And commanders with access to foreign arms, like Rajoub and his FSA colleagues, are shopping across the border in Turkey. ‘We ask the Friends of Syria and they give us,’ Rajoub said with a smile. ‘They have just now given us new supplies of everything. But we want some special weapons to give us a little bit of leverage.’” Read all