Syria: A Human Tragedy
"Russia and the regime owe the world more than an explanation about why they keep hitting hospitals and medical facilities, and children and women."
"These are acts that beg for an appropriate investigation of war crimes. They're beyond the accidental now, way beyond."
"This is a targeted strategy to terrorize civilians and to kill anybody and everybody who is in the way of their military objectives."
American Secretary of State John Kerry
"Do you, yes or no, want a ceasefire in Aleppo?"
"[A ceasefire] would be open to discussion [with two absolute demands]. The first one is the ceasefire and no-fly zone over Aleppo. And the second pillar is access for humanitarian aid. We're not giving up."
"[At the rate of ongoing bombing] Aleppo will be totally destroyed by Christmas."
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault
Both of these hopelessly, helplessly outraged diplomats representing a defeated Western sensibility based on humanitarian principles backed hard against the stone wall of unrelenting and pitiless finality in solving the problem of rebellious citizens unwilling to live any longer under the unrestrained totalitarian rule of a sectarian murderer with no intention of allowing his opposition free reign to continue disrupting his rule, no longer has any need to convince America and France that these Syrian citizens are in reality "terrorists", since Russia subscribes to that notion.
That being so, the rhetorical nature of the condemnation and the leading questions require no response. The deafening silence that fills the vacuum following the plea is the only response that will accommodate the plea. Which comes accompanied with unacceptable baggage to begin with. After all, it was Mr. Kerry whose initial diplomatic bargaining with his Russian counterpart Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, spoke of a brief surcease in bombing to be accompanied by a break in the siege to enable humanitarian aid to enter eastern Aleppo.
What it enabled was Russian jets flying alongside those of the Syrian regime in a tandem of purpose under brief cover of a designated ceasefire; to destroy the vestiges of hope that Sunni Syrians might still have entertained, that compassion or at the very least caution, would gain the day and preserve their lives. Along with the destruction of foreign aid, the plans of the humanitarian aid workers and their subsequent withdrawal, and the targeted bombing of civilian homes, shops, schools and of course, hospitals desperately attempting to treat the wounded.
"Bombs are raining from Syria-led coalition planes and the whole of east Aleppo has become a giant kill box."Damascus as well has been a target of hospitals treating the civilian opposition whom their president contemptuously scorns as "terrorists". Another 20 dead, another hundred wounded, screwing upward the total count that has passed a half-million Syrians whose lives have been destroyed, with millions more displaced and in the line of fire that never stops be it by napalm, barrel bombing, or bunker-busting bombs sending the message that no one can be safe, there are no places to evade death left to Syria's Sunnis.
"The Syrian government must stop the indiscriminate bombing, and Russia as an indispensable political and military ally of Syria has the responsibility to exert the pressure to stop this."
Xisco Villalonga, director of operations, Doctors Without Borders
Saturday's plan to have a war crimes probe of Russia or Syria, or both authorized at the UN Security Council has come and gone, representing yet another exercise in futility, with Russia's veto power; just another extension of the five and a half years that Moscow has shunted aside pressure on Syria, unheeding of calls to hold the Assad government accountable for its indiscriminate killing machine, let alone torture and chemical weapons attacks. Why would it assent now, when it has involved itself in the very same slaughter?
Russia is playing for keeps in Syria. Its plans are for a long, established stay. And Moscow has given warning to the United States that any attacks it might consider against the Syrian regime, to ground its planes, to hit its military, will have monumental consequences. The warning has gone out that Moscow's involvement is deep and it is personal, that any U.S. coalition strike contemplated against the Syrian regime will be regarded by Moscow as a strike on its own military.
"[American authorities would do well to] carefully consider the possible consequences [of any action]. Today, the Syrian army has effective S-200, Buk and other air defense systems, which have undergone technical renovation in the past year."
"I remind US 'strategists' that air cover for the Russian military bases in Tartus and Hmeymim includes S-400 and S-300 anti aircraft missile systems, the range of which may come as a surprise to any unidentified flying objects."
Russian Major General Igor Konashenkov