The civil war – or rebellion – in Syria continues to take its toll on those not involved in the fighting. The Syrian city of Aleppo has been one of the hardest hit. Like Homs, it has become the scene of a constant battle for strategic advantage. As they attempt to dislodge the Syrian army from areas of Aleppo, the Syrian rebels have been blamed for the food shortages that have resulted from their blockading of western parts of the city. The rebels are attempting to cut off supply lines to forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad.
The BBC has reported protests by what appear to be Syrian civilians. They say that the rebels’ blockade has prevented the delivery of essential food and medical supplies, resulting in steep increases in the price of basic items in the city.
the World Health Organization is attempting to facilitate the safe passage of a convoy into the city, which has been paralyzed by months of fighting. A number of humanitarian agencies have expressed concern over the deteriorating conditions in the city. During a recent protest against the rebel blockade, one man was shot dead, although it is unclear whether he was shot by rebels or by Syrian army snipers. It is reported that the civilian population is growing restless and weary of the rebel siege. The World Food Programme, a United Nations agency, has claimed that a recent convoy carrying humanitarian aid was held up by both sides.
It appears that the people of Syria will not see an end to the fighting any time soon; the city of Homs is under siege by the Syrian army, which is trying to drive out pockets of rebel resistance fighters who remain in areas close to the city center.
The unrest in Syria has claimed close to 200,000 lives since its beginning. After initially making progress against the Syrian army, the rebels lost their momentum to a regime aided by the Lebanese-based terror group Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
The international community has been unable to exert influence over either side in the conflict, thus far. Although it is not clear that the Syrian rebels, blamed for food shortages in Aleppo, are solely resposible, there appears to be little respite ahead for the people of Aleppo, or of Syria as a whole.
Graham J Noble