The Syrian Revolution enters its most perilous straits yet as the Aleppo resistance seems close to broken. Political wrangling on the part of some rebel brigades and their regional backers, along with the most merciless bombardment to date, have seen thousands die in just a few weeks and much territory lost to Assad forces. By all accounts, these are the darkest days of this courageous revolution which has now lasted longer than World War 1.

alleopWhere things stand today (12 December 2016):

  • Some rebel brigades in besieged Aleppo have called for a five day truce to allow the evacuation of civilians, withdrawing from their last strongholds in Aleppo, after being under siege and with regime advances facing them.
  • The US and five other western powers have called for an “immediate ceasefire” – the latest charade – to “allow aid” into rebel areas, “condemning” the actions of Assad and Russia and accusing them of targeting hospitals and schools in an attempt to wear people down.
  • The Syrian government has ruled out any further truces in Aleppo, and Russia and China on Monday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on a week long ceasefire.
  • A reported tens of thousands are still trapped in Aleppo as the government forces have reportedly advanced to hold 75% of Eastern Aleppo.

Desperate refugees from Aleppo

The facade of US-Russian animosity

It is now clear that the US is in active cooperation behind the scenes with Russia, Iran and the Syrian regime regarding the issue in Syria. American rhetoric should be seen for what it is, and there should be no illusions about their intentions. Had the US even a seed of empathy for the Syrian people, they would have long established a no-fly zone at the least. Instead we see the US leading drawn out “negotiations”, directing the various states involved in Syria and effectively giving Iran and Russia the green light to put more pressure on Muslims. All of this is accompanied by laughable period calls for “ceasefires” which usually come to nought. All of this buys time to execute a favourable political solution for the conflict, inevitably giving time for Assad to assert himself as the only viable candidate for Syrian leadership.

The hypocrisy of the seeming American frustration should also be evident to Muslims and no one should fall for the facade of supposed Russian-American animosity on the Syrian issue. While no doubt both sides have their own interests, their willingness to pursue common objectives in quashing the Syrian uprising and the supposed “Islamist threat” of Aleppo rebels has been increasingly clear.

Silence from Muslim leaders and Erdogan’s betrayal

While Aleppo burns, the leaders of the Muslim world are conspicuous by their absence and deafening in their silence. The Arab rulers – whose corruption needs little explication – have not even mustered hollow words of condemnation or fake outcry.

Of surety little better can be expected, but what is especially worthy of notice is the treachery and betrayal of Turkish President Recep Erodgan, hailed by some Muslims as a great hero but who, on the Aleppo saga, has committed perhaps the ultimate betrayal: speaking co-operatively and agreeing parameters with Russia. Indeed, if this act of selling Muslim blood so cheaply and vaingloriously to one of the ummah’s greatest enemies – Vladimir Putin – does not make Erdogan’s supporters sit up and re-assess their blind support for him, then little else will.

People around the world have been quick to pick up on this, with The Times perhaps summarising it best:

Mr Erdogan has remained largely quiet on the ­Syrian regime’s onslaught on Aleppo, where about 30,000 ­people have been displaced since Assad’s forces and allies launched a huge ground offensive at the weekend.

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Rebel brigades pause fighting or pull out at their backers’ behest

Of the most distressing and saddening developments is the way in which resistance has collapsed in some sectors of Aleppo just as it becomes clear that regional backers of certain rebel factions agree on cessation of fighting in preparation of a potential political “solution”.

Under the guise that the fight has become too difficult, some factions have curiously withdrawn, with the keen observer able to notice that regional Arab states that backed them are locked in talks and negotiations behind closed doors, sometimes in Ankara, sometimes elsewhere.

Hizb ut-Tahrir’s Syria chapter issued the following lamenting words last week in this regard:

It is very regretful that the revolution of Al Shaam, which has sacrificed so much has reached this situation. This has happened for no reason other than the mujahideen’s connections with the sponsors and silence over the crimes that have been perpetrated against the people. The leaders of the fighting groups who have taken the responsibility of defending the people of Al Shaam are awaiting the orders from those who sponsor them to. That is like the truces and negotiations which gave the tyrant of Al Shaam time to arrange his cards and call in his assistants, and where some groups transformed into guards for the regime’s areas that truces had been made upon.

One of the biggest successes of the US in Syria was the Riyadh delegation and Geneva which hoped to push the revolution within the political process, producing an alternative for Assad, without pressure from the ground. However, the protests of the people regarding this led to increased activeness against the regime, ultimately leading the conferences to failure. The sentiment to Islam is deep within the hearts of the Syrian people, and is proclaimed openly.

We remind the leaders of the mujahideen to not disappoint and betray your brothers. And we say to our people in Al Shaam, raise your voices high, say the word of Haqq and account anyone who wants to trade with your blood and your honour. May Allah protect the Muslims of Al Shaam and give them victory.

“Zero Hour” for the Revolution? 

Bashar al-Assad told Syrian media recently that a victory in Aleppo would be a “huge step” towards ending the five-year civil war, though he admitted “it won’t mean the end of the war”.

This is probably the truest thing he has ever said.

Those who rose up in Syria had nothing left to lose and a lot to gain. Those who fought and vied for Islam had the ultimate prize to gain: the implementation of Allah’s deen on earth. In these dire times this looks like a far cry, but the courage and willingness that has seen this Revolution last this long will not disappear overnight. But a victory in Aleppo will be a big boost for Assad, and it remains to be seen if that will be achieved.

We ask Allah most high to create openings when so little seems possible, to give awareness and political astuteness to the factions, and ease to the sincere Muslims of revolutionary Syria.