Eastern Aleppo is gradually returning to Syrian government control. Advancements over the last few days have pushed the rebel held area to the brink of being regained by forces of the government. It’s believed that the heavy offensive has helped the regime regain 85% of the neighborhoods in the Eastern part of the city.
The area is currently not being attacked for a short period as Russian backed Syrian regime fighters allow civilians who wish to leave the area to do so. It’s believed that large numbers have taken up this offer, as the situation for the rebels is now seen as hopeless in the area.
Many will hope that this is the beginning of the end of an extremely bloody conflict in Syria’s history, as five years of civil war and millions of displaced peoples hopefully comes to an end. But what of the future of the country? Let alone a regime that is no longer supported by much of the world’s political classes. Or President Bashar Al-Assad, who many interested viewers will insist should go to the Hague for war crimes that have been reported within the country.
It seems that with each passing day the likelihood of Al-Assad being tried for war crimes deteriorates. Especially as Russian President Vladimir Putin has backed the regime with fighters and technology. Also as America changes presidents, the outgoing one has been a large detractor of Al-Assad and his support from Russia, whilst incoming President elect Donald Trump has a rather more cordial relationship with Moscow. It’s this future relationship which may be the heaviest deciding factor in what happens to the regime after hostilities cease.
What is for certain is that a cessation of hostilities is the first step in a very slow and potentially highly troubled long road back to normality for the country. If even some of what has been reported to have happened in the country is true, then deep fractures that exist today may never heal. Indeed the world may need to come to a realization that the removal and punishment of Al-Assad may be the only stepping stone which allows any chance of the country being rebuilt. This all seems very unlikely now, and the games between the world’s great powers will certainly have a large bearing on the future of a country that has been taken from grace, and thrown in to despair.
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.