Aleppo evacuation begins ...to another war zone

The evacuation of rebel fighters and civilians from eastern Aleppo has begun, with a truce in the stricken city said to be holding. More than 3,000 were bussed out on the first day of the evacuation Dec. 15, but the UN says as many as 50,000 remain trapped. And the evacuees are just leaving one war zone for another. Most will be taken to rebel-controlled areas in neighboring Idlib governorate—likely the regime's next target for recapture. While the world's attention has been focused on Aleppo these past weeks, Idlib has been repeatedly hit by regime air-strikes, with dozens of deaths reported. And Idlib is the domain of extremist jihadi factions—in contrast to the more secular militias that liberated eastern Aleppo in summer 2012, ending the regime's reign of terror there. So secularists are likely to find no refuge from either regime or opposition forces in Idlib. The fall of Aleppo signals a double defeat for Syria's secular revolutionaries. (BBC News, CNN, Dec. 16)

And the US is deeply complicit in this disaster. In Brussels recently, John Kerry essentially blamed the victims for the destruction of Aleppo, saying he had tried to broker a deal for the city's evacuation. "But the opposition would not buy into a ceasefire. They didn't want to have a cease-fire. And there was a refusal to embrace the ceasefire, despite many of us saying that's the best way to get to the table and have a negotiation in order to resolve this politically. But people chose to fight." (Newsweek, Dec. 13)

This hardly the first time Kerry has tried to foist surrender onto the Syrian opposition. Further evidence of Washington's de facto collaboration with Assad.

Amy Goodman still spreading war propaganda

We held held out hope that Amy Goodman's atrocious Syria coverage was getting better. These hopes were bitterly dashed by her Dec. 14 broadcast on "Democracy Now," which was actually entitled: "Slaughter or Liberation?: A Debate on Russia's Role in the Syrian War & the Fall of Aleppo." ("Debate"?) Arguing the "slaughter" position was Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch and Ismail Alabdullah, a volunteer with the White Helmets. In the opposite corner was The Nation magazine's Stephen F. Cohen—a proven liar on Syria. He actually had the chutzpah to issue this post-truth barbarism: "[O]ne person's war crime is another person's liberation."

How is this to be interpreted other than the idea that war crimes are justified if some people in the targeted area are sympathetic to the aggressor?

This is exactly the kind of bogus even-handedness that we all decry when the "MSM" treats, for example, bona fide climate scientists and climate-change denialist cranks as equally legitimate. Here, Amy Goodman is treating those who oppose war crimes and those who serve as propagandists for war crimes as equally legitimate.

Sorry, Amy. You just aren't serious about getting better.

Aleppo evacuation halted again

The Aleppo evacuation was halted as the ceasefire in the city broke down yet again. The regime also accuses the FSA of failing to honor its own pledge to lift sieges of its own. The total number evacuated now stands at 6,000. (BBC News) Video posted to Facebook appears to show regime troops opening fire on unarmed civilian evacuees as they congregated at convergence point to be bussed out of the city. This was reportedly the incident that led to the ceasefire collapsing.

This, John Kerry, is why the rebels refused to accept a ceasefire until they were forced to by utter desperations: they had every reason to suspect that any ceasefire would be the regime's bait-and-switch for a massacre.

Aleppo evacuation halted again

The Aleppo evacuation was halted yet again—this time after several buses sent to transport the sick and injured from two regime-held villages in Idlib were burned by rebels. Pro-regime forces say people must be allowed to leave the mainly Shi'ite villages of Foah and Kefraya for the evacuation of east Aleppo to restart. (BBC News)