Fairfax's Paul McGeough on the fall of Aleppo:
"Leaflets recently dropped to the 250,000 to 300,000 residents still in Aleppo's eastern quarter read: 'If you don't leave these areas quickly, you will be annihilated. Save yourselves - everyone has left you alone to face your doom.' True words in that last phrase, and the emphasis is mine." ('Save yourselves': Aleppo residents await dark end game, 14/12/16)
Sorry to spoil your story, Paul, but that Human Rights Watch translation of the Syrian army leaflet is quite misleading (for reasons best known to HRW). The Angry Arab has posted a copy of the original leaflet in Arabic as well as his own translation (30/11/16). Here's mine:
"Read this very carefully. It's your last hope. Save yourselves. If you don't evacuate these areas now, your fate will be sealed. We have provided a safe passage for you to leave. Decide now. Save yourselves. You must understand that you have been abandoned and left to face your fate alone, and that no one will come to your aid. General Command of the Army & Armed Forces."
So where's the annihilation and where's the doom? Who's behind these embroideries? And why?
In an age of spin and disinformation, shouldn't you be a bit more cautious before running with this kind of stuff?
I notice Asad gets most of your stick. You variously describe him as "mimicking Moscow's utter destruction of the city of Grozny," displaying "dictatorial inflexibility," and allegedly being unable to "cope with a bunch of kids daubing anti-regime slogans on a wall in 2011."
Is it really all as as simple as that?
What about your "mishmash of rebel groups, whose levels of radicalisation range from zero to friends of al-Qaeda"?
Who are they? Where do they come from? And are they your idea of an alternative to Asad?
And what about your "Gulf States and others who'll happily fund and arm the rebels, if only for the pleasure of putting a burr beneath the saddle of Damascus, Moscow and Tehran"?
Putting burrs beneath saddles?
Seriously, now, Paul, please tell us just what compelling reason this lot have for feeding the flames in Syria? It better be good!