By Will Funchion
The situation in Aleppo, Syria has been worsening during the past several weeks, and it is a complicated one. Here is an overview: A rebel group of insurgents who call themselves the Free Syrian Army has besieged the eastern sector of Syria’s capital, Aleppo, in an attempt to overthrow the governing regime led by Bashar Al-Assad. At the same time, the Syrian military is trying to take the city back from the rebels by bombing strongholds and fighting on the ground, taking neighborhood by neighborhood. There are also smaller militias helping the government’s cause by fighting to take back small chunks of rebel territory, as well as other rebel groups fighting alongside the FSA.
Outside of Syria, there are other forces involved as well, adding yet another layer of complexity. There are the Iraqi Shiite Militiamen who still hold a grudge against their Sunni enemies dating back to the seventh century. There is the Iranian Revolutionary Guard who support the Shiites. However, the largest force supporting the Assad Regime and the other small militia groups is Russia which claims to be fighting against terrorism on behalf of the Syrian government.
Russia’s and Syria’s military have bombarded eastern Aleppo for over two weeks now, killing more then 360 people and wounding nearly 2,000, most of whom are civilians. One of the major problems in the rebel-held regions is that there are reportedly no more than thirty doctors left to tend to thousands of wounded Syrians caught in the crossfire.
After hearing this, many leaders, around the world, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, are pressing the U.N. to order an immediate cease-fire and a no-fly zone in the area.
For now, the bombing has been toned down and most of the fighting is happening on the ground. However, the biggest concern for most leaders is the humanitarian crisis occurring in the eastern part of the city. With extremely limited medical care for thousands of wounded,and no clear end to the crisis, the plight of the Syrian people is dire.