Syria: The West Cannot Stand Back and Let Aleppo Be Destroyed

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Media Outlet: the Guardian

Janine di Giovanni wrote for the Guardian about the West's obligations to Syria: 

Rebels  in Aleppo say they have broken the siege of the city, but have yet to establish a secure route for civilians. Government forces under President Bashar al-Assad deny they have been pushed out of the city. The battle for Aleppo may mark a military turning point, but for Aleppo’s remaining residents, it marks only an intensification of a misery that seems to go unheeded by the international community.
No one is coming to save the Syrians. If President Obama did not act in 2013 after the chemical attacks in Ghouta, where children died of asphyxiation, testing his “red line”, then he surely will not act now after footage of chemical attacks two weeks ago in Idlib showed fighters, allegedly poisoned by Assad’s chlorine, gasping for breath. On Thursday, there were more reports of children and medical workers killed in renewed attacks. Jan Egeland, the head of the UN humanitarian task force on Syria, concluded that the west’s inaction in the face of these attacks and others on hospitals, doctors, nurses and civilians means “erasing a century of progress for humanity”.
Aleppo continues to face the risk of starvation. Meanwhile, the rebel coalition has evolved. In July, al-Nusra, one of the dominant jihadi groups fighting Assad, formally split from al-Qaida in a rebranding exercise. The jihadi agenda remains the same, but the new group, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, wants to distance itself from al-Qaida in the event that the Russian-American anti-terrorist cooperation targeting the al-Nusra Front – a diplomatic initiative that the US secretary of state, John Kerry, has been pushing – actually happens.

Author:

Janine di Giovanni was a fellow in New America's International Security program. She is the multi-award winning Middle East Editor of Newsweek and contributing editor of Vanity Fair.