Aleppo: The Cowardice In Us All.

The atrocities in Aleppo. Pic courtesy of The Independent.

The atrocities in Aleppo. Pic courtesy of The Independent.

For all my Friends in Aleppo

When I think of genocide, I think of Hitler!

Somehow I conditioned myself to believe that he was the ‘capo di tutti capi’ when it came to genocide. Then of course I found out about Stalin, Mao and Pinochet before in a bid to outdo themselves the new kids on the block came into prominence – Saddam, Kim ll Sung (and all his kids).

Lets remove our heads from the sand for one goddam moment and check the definition of genocide – the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular nation or ethnic group. Now we have the situation in Aleppo . . . if what is happening there is not genocide then people responsible for commissioning words to be added in the Oxford dictionary should seriously consider a change of profession.

Do you know what it means to have your whole neighbourhood obliterated? The corner shop next to you shuts down and you still complain of not being able to buy your favourite chocolate fudge. In Aleppo, whole streets have been levelled by bunker busters. Friends, neighbours, all gone in an instant. Those who are displaced or forced to run away from their neighbourhoods include Doctors, engineers  . . .  and their families. Most cannot even run either because they are too old, too young, too fragile or have just come to realise its safer to remain where they are. Do you blame them?  Reports from some news outlets yesterday suggested Assad’s army slaughtered 82 civilians when they entered town.

Who neighbourhoods wiped out in Aleppo. Pic courtesy Business Insider.

Who neighbourhoods wiped out in Aleppo. Pic courtesy Business Insider.

The reality now is that in Aleppo, it’s not safe to be a solider, neither is it safe to be a civilian.

Aleppo has been surrounded, and its only a matter of time before the Syrian army claim it back in a huge victory for President Assad. But at what cost?The UN is toothless, and all other world powers stand idly by watching. Oh I do apologise, they are bombing. Russia is bombing, America is bombing, Britain is bombing…. they are all bombing… and we are all watching.

In one of the news reports, I saw the video of a man standing in the middle of a deserted wiped-out street crying and asking where all other arab nations are. Where are all the other Arab nations? Where is Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait???? Where are they? Be your brother’s keeper right? Why aren’t they helping their fellow Muslim brothers and sisters who are on their knees in the city of Aleppo with a Russian-made Syrian noose on their necks?

The Battle of Aleppo started in 2012 between Syrian opposition against President Assad’s rule and Syrian Armed Forces of the Syrian Government. This year, Russia and Syrian forces started carrying out air raid bombings in the city, in an attempt to up the ante and capture it once and for all. In the fours years of heavy fighting, it is estimated that 31,000 people died; some of which as a result of indiscriminate shelling of residential areas across Aleppo. In 2014, the United Nations adopted Resolution 2139 which ordered the end of using barrel bombs in the battle, the Syrian army responded by dropping 7,000 barrel bombs killing 3,000 people. By the way, Assad denies this but video footage of this atrocity is available online.


Killing fields in Allepo. Pic courtesy Newsweek.

Killing fields in Allepo. Pic courtesy Newsweek.

It’s very simple guys, in late 2011 Syrians who were tired of President Assad’s rule rebelled in the famous Arab Spring of 2011. It made sense that majority of the rebellion was concentrated in the city of Aleppo (being the largest city in Syria). It also made sense that losing the city to rebels was a major embarrassment for Assad and getting it (at all cost) in order to save face. Its been 4 bloody years of face-saving and with the help of Russia, Hezbollah and Shiite militias, Aleppo is about to be recaptured by Assad.

Is there a way to balance this argument? I don’t know but let me try . . . rebels control majority of Syrian land, other parts are controlled by ISIS. In order to exterminate ISIS, America and ‘The West’ commenced a bombing campaign to rid the menace while Russia has come to the aid of their friend Syria by flying sorties to help dislodge rebel control regions… including Aleppo. So in other words, at any given time, military jets from America, Britain, Jordan, Russia etc fly over Syrian airspace; all while it still has a sitting President. Any wonder he’ll do anything to get the country back under his full control?

The rebel forces have made it almost impossible for this to be a straightforward war, because they live amongst civilian people. So when Russian and Syrian planes drop bombs, the civilian population is not spared. Genocide!

Ultimately, Russia has killed innocent civilians, Syria has killed innocent civilians,  while we all sit on our warm sofas watching genocide unfold on TV. Now Aleppo is surrounded as the Syrian Army has gained 98% of it; the trouble is, there are still civilians trapped in the city. From what we hear, the Syrian Army do not spare anyone or anything in their way. They have slaughtered , they have raped, they have tortured.

My thoughts today are with those who remain in Aleppo. May God forgive us all the consequences of our inactions.

Kole Obasa


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