Translated by Ollie Richardson
The Americans will not like it. As a result of actions that are not coordinated with them – they must face the fact of what the Russian army will do.
The Russian Defense Ministry held a meeting on the situation in Syria, in which Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made a speech. From the abstract of his report, the conclusion itself suggests: the Syrian governmental forces, backed by Russian military forces, plan to soon launch a major military operation to storm and take control of second important Syrian city of Aleppo, the economic capital of Syria. Before the war, Aleppo had a population of 3 million, but now according to various estimates around 250,000-300,000 civilians remain.
The main points of the speech of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at the meeting concerned the justification of why the Syrian Army, together with the Russian air group, are forced to proceed with such drastic action, and how it should operate.
In particular, the Minister reported increased the activity in recent months in Aleppo of ISIS and “Jabhat al-Nusra” militants. This is especially true of the last two weeks, when, according to him, terrorist attacks have killed more than 500 people and wounded 2,000.
The Minister said that in this regard the President instructed to give help to the Syrian authorities in conducting a large-scale humanitarian operation to save the people of Aleppo. He then described how he planned to implement this operation.
Firstly, Shoigu ordered members of the Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties, together with the Syrian authorities, to open three humanitarian corridors for civilians who find themselves held hostage by the militants. In order to inform the population about the possibility of withdrawal from the besieged city, the Minister instructed the printing of leaflets showing the routes and circuits for exit, and to send the inhabitants of Aleppo a SMS with the indication of routes and use means of communicating with loudspeakers.
Secondly: given that the United States has not provided Russia with information on the separation of the groups “Jabhat al-Nusra” and units of the Free Syrian Army, the Minister ordered to open an additional fourth corridor in the North of Aleppo in the direction of Castello road “for the safe exit of militants with weapons.”
Thirdly: as Sergei Shoigu said, “at the personal request of the Secretary of State”, he ordered to send to Geneva the chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces General Gadzhimagomedov for interaction and coordination with the West for joint action in Syria.
Here, at the meeting, Sergei Shoigu was immediately appointed to be responsible for specific areas of operation. He instructed his Deputy — the main person serving in the rear of the army Dmitry Bulgakov – to personally organize the dropping of humanitarian aid in the city from the air to the people of the city that are besieged by militants: medicines, daily necessities, food, and the means of care for children and the critically ill.
Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov, responsible for international cooperation, was mandated to build cooperation with international humanitarian organisations to provide aid on the basis of the agreements reached recently in Geneva and Moscow. And the acting Chief-of-Staff Sergey Rudskoy was ordered to report “on cooperation with the Syrian authorities for the opening and security of humanitarian corridors”.
What can be said about such resolute and concrete actions of the Russian Defense Minister? Probably, the fundamental solution to finally turn the tide in Syria in favor of Damascus, relying on the support of Moscow.
If you remember past examples (for example the war in Chechnya), when the military organized humanitarian corridors for the population of major settlements, the answer is obvious: to ensure that, before a major military operation, large casualties among civilians are avoided. Why an exit is being provided for the militants is also clear: the smaller the enemy forces in the city, the easier it is to take.
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