conflict zones, latest, Syria, United Nations

Aleppo: the moment of truth for the United Nations

by Anna Jaunger


On December 2, the official representative of the UN Secretary General Stefan Dyuzharrik said that during the operation of government forces to liberate Aleppo districts of militants there were released more than 30,000 peoples, including 14,000 children among them.

Thus, today the ability to begin providing large-scale humanitarian aid to the Syrian population in the liberated areas in the eastern part of Aleppo will be the moment of truth for the United Nations.

It should be mentioned that the question of the humanitarian disaster in militant-controlled eastern Aleppo has been repeatedly raised by the US State Department, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, the Foreign Ministries of Great Britain and France. There have also been lots of loud statements about the need to help ordinary Syrians.

Recently, the representatives of these countries and organizations, in particular, UN Humanitarian Official Jan Egeland, insistently demanded to permit humanitarian convoys to get into the eastern districts of Aleppo.

In addition, on December 2, British Prime Minister Theresa May, in an interview to local media said that the Syrian government and Russia deliberately prevent the delivery of humanitarian aid to Aleppo. After such strange statements there is a feeling that the British government lost an objective view of what is really happening in Syria, in particular – in Aleppo. After all, Damascus has repeatedly stated its readiness to support the delivery of humanitarian supplies from the Western countries and the UN. However, in response to this, the West either remained silent or sought new pretexts for exacerbating the conflict. It is worth noting that neither one thing, nor the other benefits the hungry and exhausted people in Syria.

Nowadays, when many neighborhoods in the eastern part of Aleppo finally came under the control of government troops, the UN is simply obliged to provide humanitarian assistance to the local residents. Nobody will use multiple rocket launchers, mortars and small arms to shell the residential areas. Now the citizens are under the protection of government forces and can now breathe freely. On the other hand, in the liberated areas of Aleppo develops a difficult humanitarian situation, as the militants leaving the city mined houses, knocked out all utility facilities, leaving residents without water and electricity.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the UN is faced with a complex task. The organization is to work for creation of a system for monitoring of hospitals, clinics and other medical institutions. Most of the work should be done by international humanitarian organizations. They have an opportunity, not only in words but in deeds, to help Syrians.

Over time it becomes clear that silence and absurd statements of humanitarian organizations and representatives of some Western countries say only that they, at least, are not interested in the situation in the country and the lives of Syrians, so exhausted by the war.

Anna Jaunger is a freelance journalist, reporting for the Inside Syria Media Center


  1. John says

    Kathleen Lowery,
    Thank you for the hyperlink.
    I have now read the whole article – it is quite long – by Mark MacKinnon of The Globe and Mail.
    While it provides fascinating information on what happened to the graffiti kids of Daraa, southern Syria, I thought MacKinnon’s reference to the 1914 assassinations in Sarajevo triggering the events that led to World War One were completely apposite.
    As then, there were far greater forces at play behind the events and after the events which led to the worst conflagration ever seen in Europe and now in the Middle East.
    These boys were simply a very small spark – among many others – which set in train a whole series of events which led to the deaths of at least half a million Syrians and the forced displacement of many millions.
    One thing that people need to learn from these events is that the heavy-handed use of force by authoritarian regimes can sometimes be highly counter-productive. I think the more measured approach of the Russians may help to contain possible excesses by the Assad forces in Syria.
    Western “players” have been of no use at all in this theatre of conflict, just as they were useless in Iraq and Libya.
    There is no mention of Israeli involvement in the article. Maybe the author was too afraid to mention it?

    • “There is no mention of Israeli involvement in the article. Maybe the author was too afraid to mention it?”

      An insignificant detail lost in the morass of other insignificant details as compared to anti-regime graffiti or the murder of an heir to an Empire.

      I also agree: the more measured approach of the Russians will certainly help to reign in the possible excesses of the Syrian Army. Bomb a terrorist once, and there’s nothing left to do, really, as pertains to that terrorist, by Assad’s forces.

    • Kathleen Lowrey says

      The reference to Sarajevo seems to me like another bit of sleight of hand. It frames the story of Syria as being somehow like the story of WWI because they both involve multiple “actors”. A tremendous notable difference is that Europe’s great powers all got dragged directly into the Great War and extensively mangled in it. Syria is not like that: many key “players” really are playing, as a cat does with a mouse, and have not suffered so much as a pin scratch in the process. Syrian civilians, though, have been killed in droves. Framing what is happening there as being “like” WWI because several great powers are poking their noses in elevates it, makes it seem as if they all have skin in the game as they did in WWI, and it is just history unfolding as history is wont to do… wars and what-not, horrible but what can you do, sigh. The comparison doesn’t make clear — in fact it quite directly obscures — that this is a conflict that is UNLIKE WWI (or WWII for that matter) because the biggest mover in it, the United States, isn’t suffering any horrors of war because of it: just visiting them on faraway people. A much better and less flattering but infinitely more apt 20th century historical comparison would be Vietnam, but with no U.S. bodybags at all.

    • Jen says

      This whole business about the actions of teenage graffiti artists combined with other people’s actions attracting heavy-handed force from Syrian government authorities leading to war stinks to me. It’s far more likely that the first to resort to violence were jihadi groups who had already infiltrated Syrian society prior to 2011 and who were confused in the MSM (deliberately perhaps) with Syrian security forces. In the initial protests in Dar’aa in 2011, the “protesters” themselves torched a government building.

      This suggests that jihadis took advantage of the protest to instigate violence and force the Syrian government to react violently.

      • John says

        I suspect you are almost certainly right in ascribing motivation to others than the boys and the authorities.
        Equally, though, I maintain the Syrian authorities need to learn a new way of doing things.
        According the The Globe and Mail report, when the fathers of the imprisoned children visited the local governor to request the release of their children, they were told to forget them and go home and have babies with their wives to replace them. They were further told that if they were not up to it, they should bring their wives to be impregnated by the governor and his associates. Can you imagine anything more shocking and insulting?
        I don’t think Assad is responsible for this mindset; it probably developed during his father’s time as President.
        Assad and the Baathists need to learn new, more accommodating, politics if they want to avoid further conflict.

        • You are right, John. I do recall Putin making some allusion to mistakes that were made by Assad or the SAA, and Samir Amin, a man for whom I have much respect, though he, too, like Putin, is light on the details, also has said that the Syrian government was at the outset of the Syrian trouble partly to blame for reacting a bit too forcefully. Contra Gowans, he also suggests that there were “objective” reasons of social unrest in Syria as such, discounting all of the very real meddling in Syria by the West and its ME “allies.” On the other hand, once ordinary Syrians began recognizing the reactionary agenda of the foreign mercernaries, they overwhelmingly sided with the Syrian government.

          See, for example, this interview with Amin:

          Samir Amin: The US imperial project is to destroy the Arab nations

        • Assad, like any other Head of State needs eyes in the back of his head. Consider a tiny little country called the UK and the total bitch fest a shadow government managed to create during the summer(the Labour Party Right)and now consider a country the size of Syria with the many layers of politics it hosts and some perspective can be drawn. The Ba’athists are not the only problem and each district has it’s own ruling councils who are often at war among themselves and some of them, as you have described above, are probably complete assholes, we’ve got quite a few such local and county councils who could fit the bill quite nicely.
          For sure though, Assad needs some guidance and Putin, who is wise and savvy, will make a good teacher and advisor. I’m sure Assad, who cares deeply for his country and peoples, will take into account any advice offered,from the wise.

        • Jen says

          All politicians make mistakes and often serious ones at that, and Bashar al Assad and his government are no exception. But unless we are very familiar with recent Syrian history – which I am not and I doubt most commenters here are – and how the country’s politics, economy and society changed and developed (or not) after 2000 when Bashar al Assad became President, we are not really qualified to pass judgement on his style of government and how it treats people.

          If as you say, the Syrian government needs to learn a new, more accommodating way of dealing with so-called “protesters” who kill police and torch a Ba’ath party head office building in Dar’aa, please suggest how it should go about accommodating them without conflict and satisfying their aims?

          Should Damascus have followed the example of what former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was to do with the Kiev Maidan protesters over 2013 / 2014 when he stopped the police from confronting them, they began escalating their demands, he acceded to their demands and was then finally forced to flee to Russia for his life after snipers began firing on both the police and the protesters?

          The story that The Globe and Mail has put out about the Syrian authorities’ treatment of the teenagers and parents looks strangely fictitious. Where did Mark Mackinnon originally get that story from and did he get it from a credible source in Syria? Did all the Western MSM outlets that carried this story about the teenage graffiti writers get it from the same source or from sources talking to each other? Can we be sure that these sources are not quoting some guy with a name like Abdullah Hakawati?

          Hakawati is Arabic for “storyteller”, by the way.

          • Jen. Well said. The police were firing at the terrorists who, as is their usual practice, were hiding behind civilians. The terrorists dumped the bodies of the entire police force over a bridge and were still shooting the place up, long after the unwitting demonstrators had fled. The protest had been infiltrated, as was always the intention in whipping up support for the demonstration, by foreign Arabic speaking militants and the dead left lying around until the army arrived, included police, some terrorist affiliates and demonstrators who died from bullets fired from the cowardly agitators and the police trying to defend themselves. None of this, known at the time, ever made it into the western media propagandist press, but the lies and distortions most certainly did. The US NGO’s pay well those who would serve their agenda and scruples are non existent and a massive amount of money is ploughed in to the propaganda machine – far in excess of what Russia spends, despite the latest accusations of the US(always blame your enemy of what you yourself are guilty of) and the UK and France are just as compliant with lies and deceptions.
            Despite the aforesaid, this in no way excuses any knee jerk reaction that Syria may or may not be guilty of, but facts, rather than outright lies, do lend a degree of perspective always missing in msn depicted “news” articles.
            Thanks also for the Moon of Alabama link – took me straight to the article.

  2. Butties says

    I saw on the BBC today (5/12/16) that the UK et al were proposing air drops of aid. Is this because the ‘moderates’ are shelling Field Hospitals in West Allepo? No news yet on the MSM of this targeting of the field hospital. Why is that?

  3. BigB says

    I like Igor Konashenkov (Russian Defense spox) – when May said that Russia was blocking aid – he more or less said “what aid?”
    “The UK has not sent even one gram of flour or a single blanket to Aleppo.” (source-RT)
    That the UK government are hypocrites is no real shock – it is the level of hypocrisy. As Konashenkov noted earlier – we were plenty keen enough on resupplying the terrorists we paid for – in which I include the white Helmets – an Anglo/US/NATO project we funded to he tune of £21m (as part of a £60m funding package announced by BoJo – that is an awful lot for grease paint!) Now that half of East Aleppo is liberated – where is the humanitarian aid Mrs May?
    Did someone steal the maps from the Foreign Office? Are they not aware that there is a West Aleppo? Thanks to our friendly rebels and their ‘hell cannons’ – just as many children died/are dying there – and they have no western funded White Helmet ‘first responders’ to help them.
    Best you tell your spox to give a press conference tomorrow morning – to cease and desist from blaming the Russians. Instead, you can apologize on behalf of all of us.

  4. Kathleen Lowrey says

    There is quite a …. remarkable article about Syria in the weekend Globe and Mail (Canada’s leading newspaper). It features a photo of a man, described as 19 [and a good thing too: from the photo you’d erroneously suppose early 30s], who started the whole Syrian conflict as a 14 year old “apolitical” teenager who spray-painted a wall with some mild, cryptic critique of Al-Assad. That’s how the whole thing got started. I bet you didn’t know that! But the intrepid Globe and Mail reporter has tracked it all down to its real cause. It seemed super complicated, but it turns out, the entire Syria conflict in its essence is a simple story about a defenseless child being attacked by a touchy vainglorious ogre. It’s important that everyone grasps that at the present juncture as the news coming out of Syria seems to be becoming more … confusing, lately. The way this journalist got to the bottom of it all despite not speaking Arabic and with prior experience reporting from Eastern Europe is just toweringly…. why, I can’t even find the right word to describe it. It really is something, though.

    • Wow.. Thanks for the info!

      I’d fallen for the conspiracy theory that it was connected to USA, UK, Turkey, the GCC, Israel and oil pipelines plus a desire to break up strong Arab countries into their ethnic and religious components.

      It is always good to discover the truth!

      • Kathleen Lowrey says

        no no that is all fake news. you have to be careful. This “graffiti kids” thing, though: now we are getting someplace in terms of explaining the whole dog-tail-how-wagging-happens nexus.

    • John says

      Do you have a hyperlink for the article?

        • How does the Globe and Mail article compare in tone with Stephen Gowans’ piece, The Revolutionary Distemper in Syria That Wasn’t?

          The reason I ask is that I can’t get access to the Globe & Mail article without signing up for a four week unlimited subscription. I know, it’s only 99¢ +tax / week, for a bit more than four bucks CAD, but that’s still way more than I want to pay, despite the fact that I would get access to all of ‘their’ “award-winning news articles and exclusive features.”

          By the sounds of it, Gowans tells a slightly different story though he does mention the claim about the “regime’s” overreaction over the graffiti, a thing that Assad has flatly denied ever even took place. But of course . . .he would deny it, now wouldn’t he?

          Gowans is free to read, by the way, and finds a great deal of prolix corroboration in the work of one Eva Bartlett.

          But that’s what you get when it’s free: the story tends to be complicated and long-winded, and it’s not always immediately obvious “how the whole thing got started.”

          If, on the other hand, you don’t have time to get back to me on this, I’ll understand. Gowans piece is a long read . . . not counting the 67 footnotes.




          • Kathleen Lowrey says

            That was a fantastically informative article, thanks for the link. It compares to the Globe and Mail piece as night to day. I particularly liked that he took up the “it’s all ultimately about drought and global warming” angle on Syria; I’ve seen it invoked with respect to the refugee crisis and have always felt it is another “hey, look over there!” stratagem that, like “graffiti kids”, more or less is saying “pay no attention to the U.S. imperialist machinations behind the curtain”.

          • I have the Gowans piece on my MS word and although I thought it was, in general, a fair piece, like so many who think they are informed, he is missing vital clues. The Globe and Mail article is a whitewash, glossing over all the other information that was available at the time. There is no mention of the Dutch Priest who was murdered because he realised that many of the extremists trying to encourage dissent, were in fact, not from the region or Syria. There is also no mention of the real” why ” the demonstrations took place, the flood of country farmers trying to escape the longest and hardest drought in 2008 were taken in without much criticism of Assad. What is also not mentioned is the upset many of the fundamentalists within the government who wanted greater representation than was their due which led to other minorities also demanding greater representation. Assad was trying to bring changes into the way the Syrian Council was arranged to try and mollify some of the critics. The Muslim Brotherhood “plants” were there en situ, courtesy of Ash Carter and company long before the drought and they were there specifically to do to Syria what they had been busy doing in Taiwan with the aid of the Sinawatra brother and sister team.
            This little adventure into a fantasy world is a bit Alice in Wonderland and once you go down the hole you tend not to be distracted by realities and the idea that the graffiti youngster was responsible for the Syrian War is like saying that Gandhi was responsible for the India/Pakistan uprising.
            Assad has definitely made some mistakes in judgement, but they were not his alone, the Syrian Military complains he wasn’t tough enough from the get go while others say he reacted too violently because he feared what happened in Libya was going to happen in Syria.
            I doubt that Assad is blameless, but whatever his faults, this war was fomented and planned back as early as 2006, according to big mouthed British Diplomats, (and we have plenty idiot sons) and Assad knew of the plan, so unless you care to put yourself in his shoes and decide(with the benefit of hindsight, which he did not have) how he should have met the coming disaster, none of us are going to be able to answer, hand on heart, the simple, but all encompassing question of “how the Syrian War started”.

            • Yup, it’s a complicated story, and yet clearly, given the material and logistical support provided to the ‘Brotherhood,’ most of the responsibility for the catastrophe as it now stands squarely belongs to the Empire. The overthrow of secular Arab nationalism in Syria has been a long standing goal of the U.S. As Amin puts it, the aim is destroy all Arab states, clearing the way for plundering the Middle East without to much restraint.

    • Fearless investigative journalism at its finest. Probably written by Canada’s greatest investigative journalist of all time–Kevin O’Leary!

  5. Have you noticed how Syrian cities look a lot like the smashed Gaza City? And aid to Syria is ignored by the West, just like they turn a blind eye to aid needed by Gaza, even ignoring the Israeli Navy hijacking Gaza aid ships on the high seas, beating up some passengers, killing others.

    The planned destruction of Syria by the Zionist lackeys in the West and SA might be on hold, but it’s not over. Don’t be surprised if shortly after the new American president takes office, another Zionist False Flag hits the USA, this time blamed on Syrians and Iranians by corrupt MSM.

    • John says

      Absolutely right!
      Look at what the terrorists have also done to Yarmouk, a formerly Palestinian suburb of Damascus.
      Home to about 15,000 Palestinian refugees, the entire area is now wholly wrecked.
      That is a measure of the extent to which powerful individuals like Cheney, Rothschild and Murdoch will go in furtherance of their commercial interests. See
      The same motivation – control of energy supplies – also explains the parlous state of Gaza too.

      • Has anyone ever asked where the displaced Palestinian refugees of Yarmouk went, after al Qaeda moved their families in? Presumably the good hearted citizens of Damascus took them in, but their situation was critical also, so where did the Palestinian refugees, with no hope of a right to return, end up?

  6. A false narrative is held in place or it would simply give way to the truth.
    What or who exactly operates to ensure the media, and government employees – including politicians – ‘toe the line’? A collective sense of the fear of power of penalty communicates itself in generally tacit ways. But its effects are tyrannous in respect to what cannot be said or done.

    The nature of such conditioned ‘self-survival’ operates automatic defence of the group that rejects or abandons its former member when they break such unspoken coded ‘rules’.
    Meta communication may be possible strictly ‘off-record’. But fear grows stronger as the basis of personal and collective identity – while every kind of narrative justification is asserted like armoured fig leaves over naked hatred that must mask itself – for it is hateful and must be worshipped in secret code of projected intention onto the ‘other’.

    Who and how exactly is ‘evil regime change’ set into action on Assad – and made/makes it stick – internationally?
    Geopolitical power struggle of conditioned ‘self-survival’ operating automatic defence from a sense of the fear of penalty and loss?
    Fear can give rise to hateful reaction – but after the storm, communication can bring insight and resolution. Deceit is necessary to prevent communication and persist a state of denial – as if war is the truth, and anything that would release such self-asserted identity, must be denied, disowned and invalidated.

    The surface presentation of such self-assertion is the narrative ‘reality’ but its shadow is the denial, disowning and invalidation of the ‘others’ – but no less of one’s self – for we lose capacity to recognize others in truth when we take the bait of deceit and take the bait of reaction in its terms.

    If others deceive us – we tend to project hate, fear and blame.
    When we are deceived in ourselves, we tend to shame – and to hide it in the fear of incoming hate, fear and blame.
    But tendencies are not alignment in self-honesty so much as conditioned reaction of a strategic defence based on non-current ‘intelligence’.
    Fears and shames – the feelings that are pervasive but which are denied but projected and disowned, must be honestly acknowledged. Or the sham of ‘communication’ persists the attempt to ‘outsource’ feared pain as the lure of power and make self gratification out of ‘victory’ over and predation upon the destruction and powerlessness of others.
    It is impossible to undo or release deceits while actively using it.
    The other does not have to be ‘trustworthy’ first – for establishing a self-honesty of willingness to open a channel of communication – in true willingness to see if there IS a like willingness – and find SOME ground for expanding or growing communication in which trust can be extended and recognized. Of course the mind will do anything and everything to deny such an opening – but the mind is not the self-honesty of a truly felt communication – unless aligned to serve such a conscious intent.

    • John says

      The answer is a whole lot simpler than you suggest.
      Media hacks don’t need to be told what to do and what to say.
      They very quickly learn what their bosses want them to say and how to behave.
      Their supine performances are rewarded with higher pay and perks.
      Any refusal to toe the line results in their “careers” largely coming to an end.
      That’s how the zionists and pro-zionists are able to control the mass media and the mass messages it sends out.
      Watching media hacks simultaneously report on the situations in Mosul and Aleppo can almost be funny.
      Their attempts to avoid highlighting the obvious comparator – terrorists – between the two situations is crazy.
      Still, if they want to keep their cushy jobs, high pay and perks, they must avoid all references to hypocrisy.

  7. John says

    Even though here in Britain there are still attempts to fund-raise for the so-called white helmets stooge group even as the terrorists are being steadily expelled from Aleppo, most comments I see from members of the public on newspaper blogs indicate to me that there is a much more informed commentariat than previously existed.
    The sheer double-standards and hypocrisy within different media treatment of Aleppo and Mosul speaks reams.
    We condemn – and rightly so – the lies of Blair and Bush over their false claims of WMD in Iraq.
    However, whereas in an earlier era they would have remained undiscovered in their lying actions, these days it is all very different, thanks largely to the global internet.
    However many lies the western stooges in places like Iraq, Libya and Syria may make and try to peddle to their western audiences, they remain completely unpersuasive for most really informed individuals.
    This explains – among other things – why Cameron and then Obama were completely unable to gain legislative approval in the UK and US respectively for air bombing campaigns in Syria.
    We – most of us – are no longer taken in by the manipulative propaganda and spin of politicians any more.

  8. Nice article Anna. We’re well aware from social media and videos recorded by East Aleppo residents that humanitarian aid is being delivered by the Syrian government and ally Russia. Where is the U.N. and West? The residents came under the protection of the SAA and by leaving the rebels international organizations and the West’s interest in their health and well-being disappeared. I’ve been writing about the need for the U.N. to play a preserving role in Syria, but it just isn’t happening so long as the West stands in permanent opposition to the government, the only institution capable of coordinating delivery and normalizing life for IDPs.

  9. “….. After such strange statements there is a feeling that the British government lost an objective view of what is really happening in Syria, in particular – in Aleppo….”
    The British Government nows exactly what is going on in Syria and the deaths of Syrian civilians is, tragically, a minor concern when the objectives were and still are, the money grubbing land and resource grab and possibility of breaking up Syria in order to have full dominion over such a strategic geographic location.

  10. archie1954 says

    Anyone actually following the action in Syria knows just how hypocritical the Western nations are including the US, France and the UK. Their constant barrage of propaganda blaming Russia for everything that the West actually were responsible for is noted and dismissed as lies. When will their foolishness stop? When will Syria be freed from constant terrorism financed and supported by these three Western nations amongst others?

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