“You cannot tell the players without a scorecard” is an old saying. In Syria, it is not easy to know which side anyone is on.
There is a war is going on in Aleppo. Aleppo is Syria’s biggest city. Two million civilians are stuck in Aleppo without food and supplies. They are dying from bombs and shelling.
Aleppo is simply one place where the battle to control Syria is going on.
The United States and Europe support fighters trying to overthrow Syrian President Assad. Russian planes support Assad. The U.S. and Russia both want to defeat the Islamic State (IS). The IS is trying to topple Assad.
All three groups are trying to gain control in Aleppo. The fighting goes on. The most pressing task is to get humanitarian aid to the people. Aid agencies agree that food must get through to stop the starvation.
Russia worries that providing humanitarian aid will also help the IS terrorists rearm.
The pressure is on Russia to give way. The U.S. and the Russians are trying to find a way to work together. It is hard to see how presidents Obama and Putin can find common ground.
Iran, Turkey, and Iraq are also players. For the first time, Iran gave Russia permission to use an Iranian airbase. This will help Russia deliver more bombs faster. Iraq gave Russia permission to fly over Iraq.
The president of Turkey just went to Russia to repair relations. Last year his country shot down a Russian fighter plane. Turkey wants to be closer to Russia to put pressure on Western nations.
Turkey says Assad has to go before there can be peace. Russia and Iran say Assad can stay. Western nations say Assad has to go. All agree the Islamic State is an enemy.
Is it Russia versus the United States again? They have different goals. They support fighters from opposite sides. From where will peace come? No one can say.