It is impossible to properly imagine the tragedy which the besieged districts of Aleppo are enduring, while, at the same time, it is also impossible to imagine the international failure and complicity in the events happening there!
I am not one of those who call for blaming others — our many mistakes were enough, with or without external factors. We have arrived where we have. However, this unprecedented level of brutality which the regime’s allies are practicing against the people there, with this barbarity and wantonness, and the wretched Arab and international responses it has been met with, makes everyone who is able to do something to stop this tragedy, or even lighten it, and who does nothing responsible for what is unfolding.
The world erred if it thought that giving Russia, Iran, President Bashar al-Assad’s army and its militias free rein to practice the highest levels of violence would succeed in forcing the people and fighters of the city to surrender. And so that we are clear, there is an external realignment in this sense, even among some nations which are allies of the revolution, on the pretext that the rebels did not succeed in convincing Jabhat Fatah al-Sham to exit the besieged districts.
Whatever the nations friendly to the revolution or opposed to it thought, and whatever were the errors carried out by the revolutionaries, and whatever the level of force which will be brandished against them to compel them to leave the city, it seems this will not push them to bow.
Yes, it is impossible to imagine that the fighters of the besieged city are able to resist the combined capabilities of the regime, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and other forces and militias — but at the same time, no one imagines that these fighters are weak or lightly armed, or that they lack good leadership. Say what you want, this world made a mistake in believing that it could destroy them easily and compel them to surrender by force.
I am not in Aleppo to call upon the remaining residents and fighters to resist until the last bullet and stone, and I do not have, like everyone outside, the right to repudiate them or even to encourage them to remain steadfast. If they decided today to leave the city and surrender, no one would have the right to say a word of blame. But I can say with certainty: They have the determination to make their enemies pay a heavy price before they achieve their aim of seizing Aleppo.
This is not wishful thinking, but is built on evidence, and two reasons specifically.
First, those fighters who remain in Aleppo have more fortitude and readiness to fight until death. I know many of them personally, and I can say they are more stubborn than anyone you can imagine. They will never accept surrender under any condition or solution imposed on them under duress.
The second reason is that these fighters – and a no small number of the remaining residents – are dealing with the current reality as those who have burned their boats and no longer have another choice but to defend the lives of their children and what remains of their homes. The last thing they want to see is Assad’s shabeeha paramilitaries occupying the homes and districts that they have sacrificed everything to keep for the last six years.
We communicate daily with the people in Aleppo amid massacres and rising death tolls of fighters and civilians. We are in the highest stages of despair and sorrow, and then we find those we speak with — who are under siege and threatened with danger at every moment — raising our spirits and restoring our hopes by confirming they can do what it is possible to do against the forces assailing them.
I do not claim from this that those fighting in Aleppo will prevail decisively. But I am certain that they will not be defeated as the regime’s allies plan, and that the battle of this evil alliance which is attacking them will not be easy in the districts still in the hands of the revolutionaries. Instead, they will pay a very high price without being able to control it, so that everyone understands the only possible choice is to find an agreement that preserves the dignity of the fighters and their popular base there, and keeps them in their homes and on their territory. Otherwise, the price of the battle will be imposed on everyone, and not just them, in every area of Syria, for a length of time no one can predict.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.