The Crisis in Aleppo Explained

With all the coverage of events in the US, I thought it would be beneficial to cover some international events.


Background on the Battle of Aleppo

As the Syrian civil war drags into its sixth year, the most devastating battleground is the city of Aleppo.  Aleppo used to be the largest city in Syria, an ancient center of commerce and trade. During the civil war, Aleppo has been all but destroyed by bombs and shelling.

During the civil war, the city has been used as a base by rebel groups fighting the Syrian government.  Syrian regime forces have responded brutally, often bombing civilian areas and blocking food, medicines, and other necessities from reaching the besieged areas of the city.  As of summer of 2016, half of Aleppo was controlled by the Syrian regime and half by a number of different rebel groups including some moderate groups supported by countries in the region such as Turkey and several Arab states Saudi Arabia and Jordan as well as extremist groups aligned with Al Qaeda and ISIS.

The Syrian regime is made up mostly of followers of the Shia sect of Islam although most Syrians and most people in Aleppo follow the Sunni sect.  The regime is thus backed by Shia countries and organizations including Iran and the Iranian-backed armed group, Hezbollah.  The Regime is also supported by Russia which is bombing rebel targets in Syria and proving support with equipment and special forces to the Syrian government.


The Situation Worsens

As regime forces closed in on the city of Aleppo, the number of civilian dead and wounded has steadily risen.  Regime forces have not allowed essentially supplies such as food to enter the city.  As casualties rose from airstrikes by Russian and Syrian regime planes and from artillery shelling, medical supplies were not allowed to be sent into Aleppo and the regime and its supporters have been accused of even bombing hospitals.

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