Aleppo and beyond

While stakeholders in Syria are gearing up for a dialogue in Geneva next month, which will get all the media glare, glaring incidents of excesses have gone under-reported.

The regime in Damascus has bombed the city of Aleppo and, if independent reports are to be believed, the casualties included more than 500 people. The opposition says air force jets were used to bomb the thickly populated neighbourhood that is under the rebels’ influence. Civilians — who were interviewed by the media — said that thermobaric weapons, also known as vacuum bombs, were used to target the area, resulting in large-scale destruction of infrastructure.

The action going on in Aleppo since December 15 has displaced a large number of people. It has further compounded the humanitarian crisis in the war-torn country. This ruthless and protracted killing is condemnable and the international interlocutors should move in to stop the catastrophe. At the same time, an independent investigation should be conducted to look into allegations of mass killings and measures must be taken to rehabilitate the victims in Aleppo.

On the other hand, the tragedy should not divert attention from seeking a political solution to the dispute. The talks scheduled in Geneva should also be focused and the delegates should avoid indulging in any blame game and singling out adversaries to blame for the ills in Syria. Given that the country is on the verge of collapse, there wouldn’t be any solution if the parties concerned continue on the warpath; it’s time a compromise formula is reached under the auspices of the United Nations and the Arab League. There are several modules in international politics that could serve as role models to put an end to hostilities in the Arab country.

The ceasefire and peace strategy that was attained in the Democratic Republic of Congo could serve as a point in case, where the decades-old feud and war-mongering was brought to an end under a consensus of sorts among the sides involved. The best way to achieve that is to put to work countries that are allies of Syria, such as China, Russia and Iran, and compel the regime in Damascus to stand down and make room for a change in the larger interest of the region.

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