‘Best scenario for Aleppo is to bring siege to end by throwing out rebels‘
“I think that it could be ended quite quickly. The rebels, I think, are on the brink of defeat. I think that the Syrian military with the Russian help, with the help from Hezbollah and Iran have been making significant gains,” Szamuely said, adding that the sight of scores of militants fleeing and laying down their arms indicates that their rule will not last for much longer.
He estimated the eastern Aleppo operation could be wrapped up “within the next two weeks.”
Commenting on repeated calls at the United Nations for prolonged humanitarian pauses in eastern Aleppo, the researcher cast doubt on their purpose, arguing that such pauses will only serve militants fighting against the Syrian government.
“I actually do not think that these humanitarian pauses are such a great idea, I think that these pauses enable fighters to gain strength, to restore some of their energy, transfer their resources to different areas."
According to Szamuely, the most favorable course of action now would be to flush out militants from the city first, which then could be followed by a relief of the siege.
“Probably the best cause would be to bring this siege to an end as quickly as possible and to end the rebel holdouts in eastern Aleppo,” he said.
Commenting on the UN’s reluctance to deliver humanitarian assistance to the liberated parts of eastern Aleppo at the time there are no obvious threats that might impede the deliveries anymore, Szamuely dubbed the organization’s general conduct in Syria “odd” and “dubious.”
“I think there’s really a problem here with the United Nations, that their role here is kind of dubious and I think that what is important is for the Russians to ensure that eastern Aleppo is freed from control of the rebels.”
He reiterated that although humanitarian assistance is important, “it is the military objectives that should be secured first.”
Weighing in on the handling of the Syrian issue in the West, Szamuely pointed out that European countries are in many ways dependent on the US policy in Syria. Moreover, the researcher assumes that “they [European countries] haven’t quite realized the massive changes that have taken place in the United States,” meaning Washington will unlikely to proceed along the same foreign policy road once US president-elect Donald Trump is sworn into office.
“I think that divisions will come to an end once the Trump administration takes over in January because it seems that the Trump administrations really wants to end the whole of the era of Obama, Hollande, Merkel, the kind of two-faced policy they have been pursing,” Szamuely said.
“On the one hand, they supposedly try to fight Islamic terrorism, but on the other hand they are supporting the overthrow the legitimate source of authority and the government in Syria,” he added.
Szamuely believes that, judging by Trump’s pre-election rhetoric, the president-elect is ready to come up with a new strategy on Syria, and “once that comes to an end all Europeans would follow.”
“Once the United States pulls its support for the toppling of Assad, and says “enough is enough” then I thank all off the Europeans will follow on board,” he said.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.