The battle for Aleppo is over. The Syrian regime has won. Thousands of refugees and fighters are trying to find safety.
There are reports of some safe passages. Families may go to government camps. The rebels may go to other rebel-held areas. There is no way to assure safety. Agreements are for the moment. Observers have seen women and children fired upon. It is a disaster for the people. The city is gone.
Now comes the next phase. The rebel fighters have options. Thousands are ready to continue the struggle. The Free Syrian Army is still there.
Here is one plan. Make the fight about disruption. Do not make it about seizing and holding territory. The rebels say that holding cities just brings grief to the residents. The idea is just to fight on and on The hope is that Russia and Iran will tire of supporting Syria’s dictator Assad.
A second idea is to fight ISIS. Rebel forces would join Turkey to retake Raqqa. It is a city in Northern Syria. Another group would fight Islamic terrorists near the Golan Heights. Still, another would fight along the border of Jordan. By succeeding, the rebels would again have stature. The West would see them as part of the war against ISIS.
A third idea is to join ISIS. It is another way to continue the battle against Syria. The other roads lead to politics. The Kurds, the Sunni and Shiite all have their agendas. Thousands are battle-hardened. They may not want to be pawns in big power talks.
The fall of Aleppo is a turning point. Islamic terrorists retook the city of Palmyra. It shows that the government is not in full charge. Large parts of eastern Syrian are in the hands of different groups.
Will Donald Trump make a difference? No one knows. America has lost a lot of clout in the region. Any agreement that keeps Assad in power will not end the struggle.
Source: The Christian Science Monitor December 14, 2016