‘Aleppo is key to liberation of Syria from so-called good faith rebels aka terrorists’
The Syrian army is reportedly on the brink of liberating the city of Aleppo; that has been engulfed in violence for almost six years.
Although fighting continues in some areas, there have been scenes of celebration on the streets over the army's advance.
RT: What can the liberation of Aleppo mean for the future of the Syrian conflict?
Franco Frattini: It would be very important. It is key in the liberation of the entire territory of Syria from those that I wouldn’t define as good faith rebels; they have close links to terrorist organizations. So, retaking Aleppo and eastern Aleppo under full control of the regime - even though the regime has committed some activities I don’t like - would be one of the key points to go ahead with the political solution for the future of Syria. And this is very important, [it is] what Russia is [calling] for, what other partners want... But the first precondition is to liberate the most important cities and particularly Aleppo. Great success for the coalition against terrorism, against so-called rebels.
RT: Government troops have been forcing out militants who've shelled civilians in government-held parts of Aleppo. Militants also reportedly opened fire on civilians protesting against them. Why have the efforts by Damascus received no support from Western countries?
FF: There are many reasons for that. The leadership in Damascus has been considered as the only responsible [for] such a crisis, but unfortunately, this is not the case. Because we have seen so-called rebels that I consider very close to terrorists killing innocent civilians, using civilians as human shields and blocking even the evacuation of children and women from East Aleppo. So many people who have been making propaganda against the Damascus regime succeeded in ensuring the rest of the world that the leader, President Assad is only responsible for the crisis. But of course, the Western coalition should have been doing much more to cooperate with international forces like the Russian Federation that wanted to fight, first of all, terrorism. Then the fate of President Assad would be decided through a political transition. And putting a precondition [that] Assad should leave tomorrow is not realistic, it is simply wrong.
“If you forget about Aleppo for a little bit and think about Mosul, everybody has been saying “the Shiite mobilization forces” should not enter “the Sunni city”. It is pretty much the same narrative in Aleppo because it is reinforcing certain fears of the population that has been under a lot of propaganda for the past five-six years in Syria about ‘Shiites coming to destroy your lives, change your way of living and now they are retaking your country’,” said Ammar Waqqaf, Middle East expert.
“Now I can tell you from personal experience: a cousin of mine is a commander in Aleppo, he’s been shot at and is now recovering. Ninety percent of …his unit’s members are actually from Aleppo itself. So we are talking about the people of Aleppo liberating their own city in effect, why would they kill civilians? But this is being portrayed as Shiite, Iranians shooting Sunni people on the spot, in order to make other Syrian people in other people in Syria fearful of the reconciliation of the army,” he added.
According to French Republican MP Nicolas Dhuicq, there’s been this “mad idea” in the US for the past 20 years of “redrawing and redesigning” the entire Middle East by destroying states like Syria and Iraq.
“And we know the result in Iraq,” he added.
The US has maintained the stance that Assad is “big evil that should be destroyed” by any means, Dhuicq told RT.
Syria has been bleeding and living through a tragedy for several years watching “the heart of civilization” being destroyed in front of their eyes, he said.
“The great danger is Islamism. The Syrian army has been fighting bravely for the last five years to free its country. When you’re fighting such an enemy of civilization there’s no choice but to ally with those who want to fight that enemy,” 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.