When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Enjoy unlimited access to quality journalism.

Limited time offer

Get your 30-day free trial!
Sources

Why The War In Syria Is Far From Over

After the fall of Aleppo, various alliances of convenience will be put to the test, as the scenario suddenly gets more complicated for both Damascus and Moscow.

A pro-government Syrian soldier prepares ammunition in Aleppo.
A pro-government Syrian soldier prepares ammunition in Aleppo.
Isabelle Lasserre

-Analysis-

It had long been anticipated, but the fall of Aleppo still marks a decisive turning point in the Syrian war. It basically eliminates the opposition's ability to pose a military challenge or position itself as a political alternative. And it puts Bashar al-Assad solidly back on track. Supported by Russia and Iran, he has a new lease on political life, at least in the medium term.

But what the fall of Aleppo clearly is not, is the end of the war. It just marks the beginning of a new phase. The Syrian government will now, without a doubt, focus on securing its territorial gains but also on retaking, by force, the regions of the so-called "useful Syria" that still escape its control.

In the meantime, the Geneva peace process could well be swept away. David Petraeus told the International Institute for Strategic Studies' Manama Dialogue in Bahrein, last weekend that it was "very late in the day indeed," to find a political solution. The American general, who was in charge of pacifying northern Iraq after the 2003 U.S. invasion, did not exclude a partitioning of Syria as a possible solution.

But the country's fragmentation won't necessarily bring peace and stability. The recapture of Palmyra by ISIS on Sunday is a timely reminder of that. It's a setback for the regime and for Russia, which had driven ISIS out of the ancient city in March, and it proves that the jihadists are resourceful. It's one of the laws of war: it is often more difficult to hold a city than to capture it.

The fall of Aleppo, coming after a long agony to which the international community — and especially Muslim countries — have turned a blind eye, could lead the rebels, sickened by this abandonment, to radicalize and join the ranks of the jihadist forces: either ISIS or the former al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda's Syrian branch.

Raqqa remains

While the international coalition is hopeful it can recapture Mosul, ISIS" "capital city" in Iraq, it hasn't yet really attacked Raqqa, the terrorist group's Syrian stronghold, which remains both a retreat and a stepping stone — confirmation that the jihadists largely still have free rein in Syria.

Assad and Putin last year — Photo: Kremlin

Assad's ability to retake control of Syria is far from established, even with the help of his Russian and Iranian godfathers. In all wars, abuses and violent acts committed by the enemy provoke a radicalization. "Even if the regime captures the whole territory, the opposition's violence against the government and its desire for revenge will only grow," a Syrian opposition member said during the same Bahrein conference where Patraeus spoke. "Even if it wins the war, this authority will have no legitimacy to govern the people. The international community waited for Aleppo to fall, thinking they'd be rid of the problem. That won't be the case."

The coming new stage of the Syrian war will also test the fragile Russia-Turkey alliance. Having materialized in Syria with eased tensions between Damascus and Ankara, the time will eventually come to deal with the Kurdish question. "The Syrian war is made of three circles: international, regional and Syrian," a diplomat warns. "One can't solve the third circle without solving the other two first, especially the disagreements between Russia and the United States, as well as between Iran and Saudi Arabia."

So far, Russia has been dictating the military scenario in the Syrian conflict. But the complexity of the crisis, the entanglement of regional interests and the multiplication of those global players involved in the conflict make finding a unilateral "solution" — like Moscow did in ending the war in Chechnya — much less likely.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Society

Gun Violence In America: Don't Blame The Victims — That Means Rappers Too

The recent shooting of Takeoff, a rapper, is another sad incident of gun crime in the U.S. But those blaming hip hop culture for contributing to gun violence ignore that rappers themselves are also victims. And the real point is that in today's America, nobody is safe from gun violence.

Gun Violence In America: Don't Blame The Victims — That Means Rappers Too

Fans wait outside State Farm Arena in Atlanta to attend the memorial service for Migos rapper Takeoff on Nov. 11

A.D. Carson

Add the name of Takeoff, a member of the popular rap trio Migos, to the ever-growing list of rappers, recent and past, tragically and violently killed.

The initial reaction to the shooting to death of Takeoff, born Kirsnick Ball, on Nov. 1, was to blame rap music and hip hop culture. People who engaged in this kind of scapegoating argue that the violence and despairing hopelessness in the music are the cause of so many rappers dying.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest