Syria Daily: East Aleppo Ceasefire and Evacuation


PHOTO: Men in eastern Aleppo city on Monday



Analysis: What Follows Aleppo’s Fall

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UPDATE 1745 GMT: A ceasefire and removal of people has been agreed for eastern Aleppo city, officials and activists from all sides say.

The ceasefire began at 6 p.m. local time and departures will start at 5 a.m. Wednesday.

The deal was brokered between the Turkish intelligence services and the Russian military, with Ankara and Moscow serving as guarantors.

Rebel leaders said many civilians and fighters would leave for opposition-held Idlib Province, and Turkey moving some to northern Aleppo Province.

Russia’s Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, referred to an agreement only for the withdrawal of rebels and not for civilians.

However, the Turkish “senior government official” setting out the terms said both rebels and civilians would be given safe passage to Idlib Province. From there, they would be “free to relocate”.

He said there are no limits on fighters joining the Turkish-rebel offensive against the Islamic State in Aleppo Province.

News of the deal came after the UN said it had reports of 82 people, including 11 women and 13 children, executed by pro-Assad forces in the past 24 hours.

Civilians leave the Bustan al-Qasr district before the ceasefire announcement:


Photo: Getty

UPDATE 1525 GMT: Twenty international media organizations have called for the protection of reporters working in eastern Aleppo city.

The joint statement calls “on all parties to ensure the safe passage of media workers and show respect for the work and the physical integrity of media personnel, who are ensuring that the outside world and citizens within Syria are being kept informed of developments and can make informed decisions on the basis of this”.

It notes that journalists, like civilians, are protected under the Geneva Convention.

UPDATE 1355 GMT: Citizen journalist Waad al-Kataeb tells her story from east Aleppo — “I don’t want to go out from the city. It’s my Aleppo. It’s my lovely city”:

UPDATE 0845 GMT: The White Helmets rescuers say they are no longer able to count the dead and wounded in eastern Aleppo city.

Yesterday the civil defense organization reported mass casualties, with more than 90 bodies of people presumed to be still alive under debris. Volunteers said they could hear the voices of children trapped in rubble of their homes.

A volunteer said Monday night that men, women, and children were huddling and crying in the streets and at the gates of empty buildings in the remaining opposition neighborhoods. Bombing has destroyed medical facilities, ambulances, and fuel supplies.

UPDATE 0830 GMT: A message this morning from eastern Aleppo city:

The final call from teacher Abdulkafi al-Hamdo, “Assad militias maybe 300 meters away. No place to go….I hope you can do something for the people. For my daughter. For the other children.”:

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Pro-Assad forces are on the verge of capturing all opposition areas of Syria’s largest city Aleppo, with fears of death or detention for tens of thousands of civilians.

Advancing foreign fighters and elements of the Syrian army and paramilitaries, supported by intense shelling and bombing, took all but a few remaining districts on Monday. Areas occupied included Bustan al-Qasr, near the border with regime-held districts. Rebels were holding out in Sukkari, Mash’had, and Zebdia.

Claims circulated of the execution of scores of civilians in districts such as Firdous, Kalaseh, and Bustan al-Qasr. Residents and activists spoke of widespread detention of fighting-age men, possibly conscripting them into the depleted Syrian military.

See Syria Daily, Dec 12: ISIS Retakes Palmyra, Pro-Assad Forces Close to Capture of Aleppo

A regime officer addresses a group of men taken by the pro-Assad forces:


As the day unfolded, residents sent messages of despair or resignation, such as “Lina Shamy’s” filmed statement: “To everyone who can hear me, we are here exposed to a genocide”. Fatemah al-Abed, whose first-hand reports of life in east Aleppo under siege and bombardment have caught international attention, wrote: “Final message – people are dying since last night. I am very surprised I am tweeting right now & still alive.” A message on behalf of her 7-year-old daughter Bana said simply, “My dad is injured now. I am crying.”

Other civilians wrote:

A man carries a child with an IV drip as they move deeper into remaining opposition areas:

A man carries a child with an IV drip as he flees deeper into the remaining rebel-held areas of Aleppo

Photo: Abdalrhman Ismail/Reuters

Meanwhile, in regime-held districts, there were scenes of people celebrating alongside regime troops:

Photo: Omar Sanadiki/Reuters

Russia Covers Strategy With Blame of US

As the Syrian military said final victory was hours away, Russia effectively confirming that it had promoted US-Russian discussions for a removal of rebels and civilians to buy time for military operations. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a news conference in Belgrade:

From December 3 when we met John Kerry in Rome they supported such a concept [of total rebel withdrawal and even gave us their approval on paper.

But after three days they revoked that agreement and returned to their old, dead-end position which comprises this: before the agreement on corridors there has to be a truce…As I understand, this would just mean the rebels would get a break.

Last weekend a US-Russian proposal was presented to the opposition for the withdrawal of rebels, families, and civilians; however, as pro-Assad forces renewed their advance, Moscow denied any agreement with Washington.

Lavrov covered his statement with the proclamation of a possible US conspiracy: he said the Islamic State’s capture of Palmyra from the Assad regime may have been “orchestrated, coordinated” by the US-led coalition “to give a break to those bandits that are in eastern Aleppo”.

US State Department spokesman John Kirby responded, "We’re deeply frustrated but not surprised by this lack of Russian and regime commitment to what should be a humane solution."

UN officials, blocked for months by Russia and the Assad regime from providing any assistance to east Aleppo, expressed concerns. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said he was worried by reports about "atrocities", while humanitarian advisor Jan Egeland tweeted:

"Better to Die Than Live in Humiliation"

A nurse, whose father and brother were killed by sheling, said:

I cannot leave because I’m medical staff which means a terrorist in the eyes of the regime.

I cannot forgive. It is better that God takes my life than to live in humiliation under those who murdered most of my family and my neighbours, and destroyed my country and street and robbed my home.

American journalist Bilal Abdul Kareem, who has covered the Syrian conflict on the frontline for years, sent a final message:

Aerial view of the Sheikh Sa'eed district, captured on Monday by pro-Assad forces:

Turkey: Al-Bab Offensive Slowed by ISIS Mines and Ditches

Turkey's military officials say the Turkish-rebel offensive to capture al-Bab, the last major position of the Islamic State in Aleppo Province, has been slowed by almost 1,000 ditches and many improvised explosives and mines.

Last weekend the rebels and Turkey, which intervened on August 24 with airstrikes, tanks, and special forces, announced the operation to move into al-Bab. The offensive has surrounded the town, but has not been able to enter.

A military official said some ditches are almost two meters (6 1/2 feet) to block tanks and other armored vehicles, while bomb-laden vehicles and suicide teams are in the town.

To clear space for the al-Bab operation --- reaching the town before Assad regime forces or Kurdish militias --- Turkey has apparently acceded to the Russian-regime conquest of opposition areas in Aleppo city.

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  1. Russia – where the income per capita is less than Mexico.
    Russia – where healthcare expenditure is only $ 5.7 billion.
    Canada healthcare spending $ 220 billion
    Canada’s healthcare spending per capita is 166 times higher than Russia
    And then Russia wants to stand up to the west? And Obama tried to “reset” relations with Putin and the Russian oligarchy and considers them equals and hand over Syria?
    “Russia placed last out of 55 developed nations in this year’s Bloomberg report on the efficiency of the national health care systems. Things are unlikely to get better anytime soon: Russia’s government recently announced plans to cut the budget for healthcare by 33 per cent next year, bringing annual spending down to just £4.6bn.”

    • Russians are intelligent and thrifty, so they get by on less … for instance, Putin just subtly régime-changed Yankistan for a mere $50 million and not a shot fired … which is why you pair must get used to saying “Jawohl, mein Trumpenführer!

    • I watch CNN international from time to time. Via a Russian free site lol, never pay for this corporate sh*t. ( in case you are interested, thank you Putin lol).
      Every second commercial there, drugs advertisements, prescription drugs … “Ask your doctor this”… Ask your doctor that.. lol .. Americans call their doctors a lot. No wonder they are sick. They look sick, poor Americans, so fat arsses obese and junk-food addicts. And if they don’t have insurance, puke and die on the sidewalk, no one will care. Sick

    • You blew it Erdogan. Hearing whining, abandoned by Allah Islamists with thick British accent and beard is a fine nice goodmorning in a rainy day here.
      Thanks for this

      • Erdogan did blow it. I cant believe how quickly he seemingly forgot about the murderous Israelis killing those civilian activists(including an American). The bloodthirsty Israelis involved should’ve been tried for crimes against humanity. But what else should we expect from some crappy, little, irrelevant middle eastern state like Israel? I guess that was his thinking.

  2. Rebels in every province (e.g. Latakia/Hama/Southern Aleppo) should appoint a ‘general military commander’ (with 3 deputies – one from each of the the 3 factions that contributes the largest amount of men) who’ll make preparation to implement (defensive and offensive operational plans) as well as a ‘general military secretary’ (with 3 deputies – one from each of the the 3 factions that contributes the largest amount of men) who’ll be responsible for providing food/fuel/ammo to all the rebel fighters in their group.
    Secondly rebels in those areas (ie. Latakia/Hama/Southern Aleppo) should do a cost-assessment (e.g. loss of men, ammo, food/fuel, loss of civilian lives of a potential defensive operation against regime) evaluation of two plans: 1) one is which they wait for regime to bring the fight to their province (e.g. do they have the time to build types of fortifications that will allow them to absorb the shock of Russian jets and Iranian human waves tactics). 2) then do the same thing with them/rebels bringing the fight to the regime (e.g. launching pre-emptive raids/offensives against vulnerable regime positions to fight a forward guerrilla campaign on enemy ground like in Hama, launching decoy offensives to enable the encirclement of a strategically important regime position they wish to isolate, over-running regime check-points that can be quickly isolated from more then two sides/axis etc): then decide on the next course of action.

  3. For all you nostalgic Cold Warriors still mourning for the Witch Queen being denied her entitled crown, just remember that as part of their warcriminal régime-change operation against the Syrian government she and Obomber both personally approved the NSA hacking Assad’s email in 2012 and spilling it to The Guardian, but it didn’t affect his popularity too badly, and he still got a landslide 86% of votes cast in the 2014 reelection campaign.
    However, the Witch’s vile trickery was luckily not all in vain, as that wheeze probably inspired The Vladster‘s perfectly executed Yanki régime-change operation, the results of which you are now feeling like a dagger:
    Poetic justice … ’twere ever the best kind, eh?

    • Are you refering to Syria’s 2014 presidential “election”?? lol please tell me you are joking…..and even if you were it aint funny anyways. 86% buahahaha. No wonder you guys belive all the bs the russians or assad prop machine feeds you daily. Is lobotomy still legal? Some in here need it.

    • It’s priceless and very telling that you claim the Syrian “election” had any credibility. LMAO. Only 86%? Saddam Hussein, Fatty Kim the third, and Mubarak beat that easily in their rigged “elections”. LOL.

      And you better be careful with your equally absurd and laughable of “yanki regime change” as you so maturely put it. A Putinbot should be along shortly to claim there is no evidence of a Russian hacking. You just live in your little universe, don’t you? What country do live in again?

    • In fact, Assad has so much support among his people that he needs Russian planes+mercs, Iranian troops, and Iranian puppet militias from Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Afghanistan to keep his tyrannical ass in power. He can’t even wipe his own ass without permission from Iran and Russia. LOL.

  4. On a different topic alltogether here’s an interesting book review of a work on Irregular warfare as an effective means of survival for a small state:
    The following excerpt from the above link is the most interesting: “Fabian’s analysis attempts to codify the key components for a small state to execute a successful irregular strategy which include: 1) the necessity of a firm and unified political will among the small country’s leaders in favor of an irregular defense strategy and professional irregular defense force, 2) willing leaders from the highest to lowest levels who understand and accept the necessary changes in the existing conventional force structure training system and military culture as a whole, 3) rough natural physical terrain and severe weather conditions that play crucial factors in waging irregular warfare because they degrade conventional military advantages, 4) high level of importance placed on self-reliance and self-sustainment and 5) the importance of knowing the enemy as much as possible while protecting the irregular force’s own information from discovery.” – It’s interesting because if viewed the Syrian rebellion from this perspective the Syrian rebels have failed on all five criterias.
    That aside for those who are interested in the subject of irregular warfare here’s one of the most famous and earliest book on desert irregular warfare by T.E. Lawrence – aka Lawrence of Arabia – and his section on mobile warfare is the most interesting:

  5. Syrian Government Reportedly Kills Dozens of Civilians in Aleppo, Some ‘on the Spot,’ UN Says–abc-news-topstories.html#

    As certain little marxists continue to condemn the US and others for imaginary “war crimes”, the Syrian government they support(despite ridiculous claims to the contrary) continues to commit actual war crimes. The hypocrisy is incredible.

    • The office has not “said” that “82 civilians were shot” or other such gruesome stuff. It said that there were “sources” that have “reports” that such happened.

      It’s irresponsible that the OHCHR even mentions such unverified stuff in its press conferences. But it is even more irresponsible that the BBC then uses a “UN says” headline and intro about such rumors especially without any further qualification in the rest of its “reporting”

  6. Alepo genocide at its best. Something that will go down in history as one of the greatest attractions that a dictatorial regime with its allies and mercenaries committed while the world looks elsewhere or worse … Consider terrorist to everyone Who dared to raise the voice in 2011 and then the arms against those who deprived them of their dignity

    • Such a great tragedy should demonstrate to the insurgency that union is what strengthens, and that they have no middle ground, is victory or martyrdom, but not only for them, also for their relatives and anyone who did not want to go to Side of the regime

  7. One of the things that often bugged me out about this conflict is the presence, albeit a minority, of pro-Assad Sunnis of Aleppo then after watching this amusing cynical video about the nature of power I now understood why:
    This video explains in 18 minutes (especially from 4:00-6:00mins) the Arab Spring and the Syrian conflict far more better then 5 years of news coverage by mainstream news broadcastors like BBC ever has.

  8. #International: HAHAHA! This is hilarious. Iran is asking Judo teams that compete abroad to steal water bottles at competitions! :)
    Excerpt: “Vahid Bana, Iranian judo national team captain revealed in a video that was spread on social media that Iranian officials in the judo federation are asking the players to steal water and breakfast from the hotels, when participating in competitions abroad.”
    #Homs: Unbelievable if the following is true “IS forces now close to Qaryatayn, 93 km south-east of Homs City, 125 km south-west of Palmyra.Assadite adminisration of Qaryatayn has already left the city. (1.5 hrs ago)” –
    Told you Caligola Qaryatayn was next not Deir Ezzor, question is what’s to stop Daeesh push onto Salamiyah considering it’s being emptied of regime troops? And even bigger question is why aren’t rebels bothering to over-run that town/Salamiyah if it has fewer regime troops inside to defend it?
    #Question: Can anyone confirm Bab has fallen to the Turks?

    • Yes. They (IS) seem indeed to go in that direction. I would have opted for Deir zzor. But i have no clue on IS strategies. They seem always to do the opposite of logical :) probably the status quo in Deir is acceptable for now by IS.

    • Lots of propaganda value for Assad to say ISIS is advancing and that he is fighting terrorism. But these advances are hard to defend by ISIS. And it does not help the rebellion. So for Assad and ISIS, it is win-win. Assad and Russia can quickly take these towns back. But it is a propaganda coup. The MSM are on a different narrative – that Assad is fighting ISIS – so it helps keeping that narrative alive.

  9. it’s early yet. The Hom’s offensive is meeting little resistance, so ISIS will press. They don’t have to commit many resources to maintain the Deir Ezzor front at this time. But, if the local commander is aggressive, he might get some results there. Air support will have longer distances for each sortie.

  10. Two interesting articles: One is a review of a famous military event and another is a political one about the aftermath of the fall of Aleppo.
    First the political one: This one is from the New York Times
    The excerpt from the above link is interesting: “When the time comes to retake Idlib — and it will come — Mr. Assad and his allies will have corralled much of Syria’s insurgency and its supporters into a small mountainous patch where they will be easy prey for the bombing and isolation tactics that have won victories elsewhere in the country.”
    Not the words ‘isolation tactics’ that is how (using fire superiority of Russian jets, and using the human-wave tactics to exploit the manpower-superiority of Iran’s Shiite militia groups) Assad intends to win. I don’t think it’s a gross simplification right now that for rebels their military survival depends on mobility, and to ensure this mobility rebels must not only adopt mobile guerilla warfare and make their armies more mobile (see my previous posts on the subject and yesterday’s posts as well) BUT THAT REBELS MUST NOW adopt a ‘forward defence’ policy. Of pre-emptively nipping regime offensives whilst such offensives are small and manageable (ie can defend against) rather then waiting for them to get bigger.
    This second link is a paper by a US general about how the Germans in WW2 skipped/moved around French fortification through a form of mobile warfare we now know as Blitzkrieg:
    Page 8 of the above link is interesting (why? compare it to what happened after rebel’s broke the first siege) as it gives the essence/summary of what mobile warfare is (ie what and how it should achieve an aim operationally). Excerpt: “Guderian believed in concentrating powerful forces against narrow frontages. The point for the thrust…was to be carefully chosen so that after the enemy defence was broken, German mobile units could roll out to place themselves on the flanks or rear of the enemy. Then the attacking groups would continue the assault…” – Now this is interesting because when rebels broke the siege the first time their/rebel units they never completed the second half of the equation by following up the break-through by rebels by attacking the regime’s exposed flanks/rear. But to be fair to the rebels they didn’t have (because rebels don’t have a mobile guerrilla warfare approach) enough mobile units (e.g. have in all battalions tanks concentrated on groups of 3/4, all light artillery mounted on trucks or have their own transports and concentrated in two groups of 6, TOWies mounted on dune-buggies in groups of 2, rebels did have motorbike assault-teams but not enough, mortar/light-machine gun/IED units that have their own transport, 4/5 BMP to transport infantry) nor did their battalion level commanders (ie commanders of 350+ fighters) didn’t take the initiative to push out to the regime’s flanks/rear because some of them don’t have General Staff training (so their operational approach was lacking – that said some of them did decide to make up for this by using google-earth in their planning but not enough commanders did this) because if they did they could have finished off regime presence in Ramouseh same way Daeesh is doing to regime in Quryatayn (ie launching pre-emptive diversionary offensive so as to encircle their real target which they’ll overwhelm in a very fast surprise offensive).

  11. #International: “Along with praise for Aleppo conquest, some Shia jihadi groups posting a lot about sending more ppl to Syria…Note how Iraq’s al-Hashd al-Sha’abi (aka PMUs) central org/leaders will continue linking Iraq conflict + Aleppo/Syria. – PhillipSmyth”
    I told you – if rebels don’t secure southern Aleppo then that means they can’t go over-run Nayrab airbase which means not only more Shiite fighters imported into Aleppo to turn Aleppo into as shiite as Tehran but to push rebels back all the way to Idlib. So I say it now – 1) Adopt a mobile guerilla warfare approach (and make your units more mobile – see above – so you can go deep behind the enemy lines), 2) adopt a forward defence policy, 3) concentrate on raiding (and then seizing like Quryatan was) choke-points like Khanassir and combine that with the capture of strategic areas of southern Aleppo like Jabal Azaan so it can become enough of a killing zone that Nayrab airbase and Safira can be over-run. 4) Rebels should not only use infiltration, they should also use the greed of the Assadists against them by not only placing land-mines under expensive goods like fridges in areas that rebels know regime fighters will loot rebels should also seriously consider bribing junior regime officers (especially if it helps captures senior SAA/IRGC/Hezbollah officers or enables special ops against them) also. Look at Palmyra, it got a regime officer to abandon a check-point so Daeesh can surprise regime fighters from the rear. 5) I’ve often mentioned the need for rebels to buy on the black-market professional (ie ones that western police forces use) jamming devices and have each battalion commander use (or his regiment/brigade superior?) use during the day of a surprise rebel offensive or a regime offensive. 6) Purchase on the black-market more advanced electronic surveillance equipment (e.g. buy 5 industrial imaging cameras, hire/buy a cessena plane [or use a aerostate – it’s a type of military balloon even the Russians/US use], attach at the bottom – facing north/east/west/south and directly below facing ground – of that cessna plane those camera, then use northern Aleppo as a base to fly into Aleppo province at night) also. 7) Start conscripting all males between 16-40 and order them to join a humanitarian corp (eg white helmets), labour corps (e.g. construction or farming or armament production) or train militarily with rebels. 8) Create a hit-list not only for senior regime officers but all the famous pro-Assad Sunni oligarchs that are still in Aleppo/Latakia/Hama province for special-ops. 9) Create a special behind the lines sabotage unit dedicated to economic warfare against regime (e.g. destroying regime infrastructure such as pipe-lines/airbases/communications-centres/dams/reservoirs/power-plants/refinery centres) so as to cripple it financially. 10) Make sure that in either defensive or offensive operations all provinces have a permanent military comittee who have the powers to create not only mobilisation plans (e.g. which areas to be fortified but powers to confiscate and create fuel/food/weapon storage centres) but who also has an annually elected chairman that has the power to appoint both the ‘general military commander’ (in charge of organising troops) of that province as well as a ‘general military secretary’ (who has the duty to supply food/fuel/ammo to all fighters in his province under him) in event of a rebel or regime offensive in the area.
    I suppose the Iranians right now where the Hapsburg were with their success during the 30 year war.That was before an Adolphus came along and taught the Hapsburgs a lesson they never forgot. But where is the Sunni Adolphus? A Khalid Bin Al Waleed or a Selim Yavuz?

  12. Here’s what former NSA member and intelligence analyst John Schindler has to say about the siege of Aleppo: “More people have died in the siege of Aleppo (108k) than in the entire Bosnian war of 92-95 (102k). And it’s not over yet.” – 20committee
    Let that number sink in – Aleppo is undergoing massacres (e.g. disappeared peoples, use of WP by Russians etc) worse then the massacres the Bosniak muslims faced at the hands of the Serbs.
    Mark my words he/Putin may even now (especially with Trump in power and now blase about defending the Baltic states) start consider doing Grozynifying the capitals of the Baltic states or Warsaw even (a second time for Russia if it’d Putin did decide to do this) after doing this to Aleppo. The world didn’t stop him when he did Grozny and Aleppo so what’s to stop him experimenting doing this inside the European continent?
    I definite recommend following John Schindler (not always likeable but he knows his counter-intelligence stuff – being a former CI spook) if you’re on twitter:

  13. Interesting 45mins lecture on the 30 years war for those who are interested:
    Fast forward to 24:00 mins and listen (especially 26:00 mins, the Austrian war in Bohemia against Protestants is very similar to what Assad is doing to the Syrian Sunni rebel areas) to the end. It was inevitable I suppose that the Protestant backlash would throw up a military figure like Adolphus.

  14. So, 250,000 new citizens bringing régime-change to Germany then … all according to Putin’s Masterplan, says mad JI-Ju:
    And, in another cruel twist, merciless Putin has hacked the recount in Wisconsin … to give Der Trumpenführer even more votes!
    Once El Puneador seizes Supreme Executive Power, Puppetmaster Vlad will instruct him to audit the whole vote, switching HillDawg’s vaunted ‘popular lead’ [ amongst illegal aliens given driving licences e.g. by California and then openly suborned to commit vote fraud by Obomber — ] into another solid gold EndSieg for El Presidente Donaldo.

    • Funny how a rabid anti-American loves Trump. You need to reset your ideology. It does not compute. You have gone out on a limb and soon to fall. It is amazing how wrong Marxists have been throughout history. Starting with their historical determinism. LMAO

      • What makes you think I love Dein Trumpenführer, my friend?
        In fact I enjoy the simple pleasure of rubbing his rank essence [mingled with a salty overdose of Darth Putin controlling everything by Jedi mind-tricks] up the nose of diehard régime-changers, while wearing some very thick nitrile gloves, a face mask and breathing apparatus.
        I believe this harsh but fair mind-bending to be the ultimate cure for NeoConnerie.

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