Assad regime and Russian warplanes resumed their bombardment of Aleppo Nov. 15 after the "humanitarian pause" announced last month. Damascus state TV boasted of "precision weapons to target terrorist positions," of course. Activists on the ground report an assault of unprecedented intensity, with bombs falling virtually constantly. The assault had been threatened in mass text messages sent to residents of rebel-held east Aleppo by the regime, instructing them to leave within 24 hours. The campaign of targeting hospitals has resumed, and eastern Aleppo is now without a single hospital operating at full capacity, the Syrian American Medical Society reports. One of those struck this week was a children's hospital, forcing staff to evacuate babies to safety. (EA Worldview, CNN, Nov. 19; CNN, Nov. 15)
The Russian war fleet has now reached the Syrian coast, and on Nov. 15 launched its first Kalibr cruise missile strikes—allegedly on ISIS and Nusra Front targets in Idlib and Homs governorates. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu boasted that "for the first time in history of the Russian Naval Forces," an aicraft-carrier took part in combat operations. (Sputnik, Nov. 15)
It's hardly a surprise that the aerial assault was resumed just one day after Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone with US president-elect Donald Trump, as acknowledged in statements by the Kremlin and Trump transition team alike. Putin "called to offer his congratulations on winning a historic election," according to the Trump statement. The two discussed the need for "joint efforts in the fight against common enemy No. 1"—identified (of course) as international terrorism. (CNN, Nov. 15)
Bashar Assad also hailed Trump's victory, telling Portugal's RTP TV, "If he's going to fight the terrorists, it is clear that we will be a natural ally, together with the Russians, Iranians and many other countries who want to defeat the terrorists."
Trump stated as much just days earlier, announcing that he took an "opposite view" from those who oppose Assad. (NYT, BBC News)
Kremlin mouthpiece RT provides a platform for Assad's welcoming of Trump with an air of undisguised triumphalism.
We assumed Trump's inauguration would be a "green light" for the destruction of Aleppo. It seems that his mere election suffices.
The actual jihadis are overjoyed at Trump's election, of course. "This guy is a complete maniac. His utter hate towards Muslims will make our job much easier because we can recruit thousands," Abu Omar Khorasani, a top ISIS commander in Afghanistan, told Reuters. So brace for a much wider war.
We warned months ago that the Putin-Trump convergence represented a worldwide fascist takeover. Turkey is also part of this deal—just as a dictatorship is being established there. But the clear regional winner is Syria's genocidal dictator Bashar Assad—who now has the open support of both superpowers in his war of extermination. This is the new Axis: Moscow, Damascus, Washington.
No hospitals left in east Aleppo
The World Health Organization says 126 health care facilities in Syria were attacked between January and September—and that 11 hospitals were attacked in November alone, some more than once. The WHO's Syria director, Elizabeth Hoff, told the UN Security Council that this month's attacks had left rebel-held eastern Aleppo with all eight of its hospitals either "out of action or…barely functioning." (NYT)