No sign of end to horrors in Syria

Incessant bombing, destroyed hospitals, no water or food: the situation in Aleppo is becoming increasingly desperate. UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has warned that the rebel-held eastern part of the city could be completely destroyed by the end of the year. Putin's plan is ruthless, commentators write, and ask why no one is standing up to Moscow.

Open/close all quotes
Jutarnji list (HR) /

Putin's plan will pay off

The disastrous situation in Aleppo is part of Putin's ruthless plan, Jutarnji list believes:

“If Aleppo falls Assad will be in control of five big cities in Western Syria. .. That would give him a significant advantage in all future talks and peace negotiations. Meaning that Putin's policy of contempt for international norms is more than paying off. ... The attacks on Aleppo, the systematic destruction of hospitals and schools, the terrorising of women and children - all this seems so unnecessary. But according to some it is the expression of a carefully thought-out strategy. The rebels are being forced to join forces with the extremist jihadists in order to blur the differences between the various forces that oppose the regime. In this way the legitimacy of the moderate opposition is to be undermined.”

Ilta-Sanomat (FI) /

Where is the protest against Russia?

Why hasn't the anger voiced in social media led to political protests against Russia's operations in Syria, Ilta-Sanomat wonders:

“Clearly Russia wants to defeat the rebels once and for all, and that won't happen by employing high-tech weapons, targeted attacks or a gruelling urban war. Russia has precision weapons and drones. But they're too expensive and so they're not being used. Aleppo is being razed to the ground with traditional weapons and without the slightest regard for whether war crimes are being committed. These attacks have been criticised repeatedly, but that doesn't seem to stop Moscow. ... In Finland, too we should be sensitive to the suffering of civilians in Aleppo. One can only hope that at least a small part of the anger that is clicking its way through the social media will be directed at the Russian bombings - which already bear the hallmarks of war crimes.”

Avvenire (IT) /

West doesn't care about lives of innocent people

In a telephone call, Obama and Merkel have given Russia and the Syrian government particular responsibility for the continued violence. But the West can hardly wash its hands in innocence, the Catholic daily Avvenire admonishes:

“The Western powers, first and foremost the United States, are also moving outside the logic of dialogue and protecting innocent lives. They have encouraged the armed rebellion against Assad. They have stoked the war instead of ending it. Now they are unwilling to give Moscow free reign. That said, they're no longer even able to distinguish between the healthy components of the Free Syrian Army and those who have infiltrated it to fight for Islamic fundamentalism. Politicians can always (or almost always) stop a war if they really have the will to. But once they become embroiled in a logic that serves only to protect their own interests and is indifferent to the suffering of the population, this will can never surface.”

The Economist (GB) /

Obama's biggest geopolitical failure

Allowing Assad and Putin to wreak havoc in Syria is Obama's worst mistake, The Economist contends:

“Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s president, is destroying his country to cling to power. And Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, is exporting the scorched-earth methods that he once used to terrify the Chechen capital, Grozny, into submission. Such savagery will not halt jihadism, but stoke it. And American inaction makes it all worse. The agony of Syria is the biggest moral stain on Barack Obama’s presidency. And the chaos rippling from Syria - where many now turn to al-Qaeda, not the West, for salvation - is his greatest geopolitical failure.”

Star (TR) /

US wants to keep Nato out

The US's strategy in the Syrian war stands little chance of success, the pro-government Turkish daily Star also believes:

“Since the start of the crisis the US has been telling its allies what to do and what not to do. First it wants Turkey not to take sides, then it wants it to take sides but only in the fight against the IS. At the same time the US was totally against Nato intervention. It's clear that the US doesn't care about Turkey or the forces there. It doesn't want allies like Germany or the UK to intervene unilaterally in the Syrian war. It wants them to stay in the background so it remains Russia's only negotiating partner. This is what has put Russia in a position to negotiate with all sides. It has to be said that the US won't be very successful with this strategy.”

Kansan Uutiset (FI) /

People don't care about the war

The international community's indifference to the suffering caused by the war in Syria is astounding, writes Kansan Uutiset:

“Faced with the ruins of Nazi Germany, leaders vowed such a thing would never happen again. But the horrors of the war were quickly forgotten and the horrors of the wars that came after it are also being forgotten. In the civil war in Syria there are only bad guys. The government, propped up by Russia, appears to be meting out the severest punishment for the demonstrations and rebellions of the Arab Spring. Indifferent to the suffering of the civilian population, the so-called moderate rebels led by suit-wearers based abroad and backed by the US are perpetuating a war they cannot win. Humanity has become indifferent. In the 1960s there were major demonstrations across the world against the Vietnam War. But no one seems to care about the killing of the Syrians.”

Slate (FR) /

Moscow doesn't care about human suffering

The indifference with which Russia is pushing through its objectives at the people's expense is unbearable, Slate criticises:

“A 'victory' in Aleppo, part of which is in rebel hands, would strengthen Moscow's hand in negotiations with the Americans. The human toll is high, but the Russian leaders have already made it clear in other situations that that is not their principal concern. Recall for instance how the Chechen rebellion was crushed. ... Vladimir Putin knows that the American president needs a diplomatic success, but not at any price. By letting his airforce and that of his Syrian protégé bomb civilians, he is raising the human cost to an unacceptable limit. In the meantime it's the inhabitants of Aleppo who are paying the price.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Images from Aleppo must shock us into action

Dagens Nyheter voices dismay at the indifference vis-à-vis the suffering in Syria:

“Barely a year has passed since thousands of people wandered through Europe, most of them heading for Germany or Sweden. Now, a year later, we see no more images of children walking along train tracks. Instead we see images directly from Syria. Images that show an inferno. … Europe may have temporarily resolved its refugee crisis with the help of walls, barbed wire and dubious agreements. But the suffering in Syria is incessant. … The next time the talk turns to Syria, think about these images [from Aleppo]. They aren't archive photos from the last century.”

Iltalehti (FI) /

Moscow has ruled out political solution

Diplomacy is no longer an option for ending the Syrian war as far Russia is concerned, Iltalehti laments:

“The laborious negotiations between the US and Russia for a ceasefire in Syria have not led to an improvement in the situation. Civilians in Aleppo haven't received the aid they urgently need. On the contrary, the UN aid convoy was destroyed. … Russia seems to have opted to resolve the situation in Syria militarily. This decision could prove fatal because there can hardly be lasting peace in Syria if political solutions are ignored. The number of civilian victims is growing and Russia is increasingly sealing itself off from the West. It is to be feared that Russia will experience its own Vietnam in Syria. Afghanistan is a deterrent example from the times of the Soviet Union. But nations can be very quick to erase such experiences from their memory.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Only Europe can save Syria

Europe must launch a military operation in Syria, French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy writes in a guest commentary for Corriere della Sera:

“We must do this because we can. We can do it because there is no doubt about who is to blame for these probable crimes against humanity. The culprits themselves are doing nothing to hide this. We are talking of course about the regime in Damascus, which we should have subjected long ago to the same treatment administered to Gaddafi's regime. We are facing a dilemma. Either we take action and define a red line. ... Or we do nothing and accept a new Sarajevo, as the French ambassador to the UN François Delattre has called Syria. … In the meantime Aleppo is dying and cursing us.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

West landed itself on the sidelines

The US's harsh criticism of Russia and the Syrian government after the bombings in Aleppo is just hot air, De Volkskrant surmises:

“Russia's intervention has drastically reduced the West's options in Syria, including its military options. This is the price of non-intervention. … Syria is good for big speeches about moral failure but little suited to practical solutions. So even under the current circumstances there is no alternative to an agreement negotiated by the US and Russia. … Obama may have had good reason to want to stay out of Syria but other countries like Iran and Russia jumped greedily into the gaps this left. … The conflict seems to be coming down to a de facto division of Syria. This is a bitter scenario but there are now hardly any alternatives to seeking a deal with the leaders who have incendiary bombs dropped on city districts.”

Die Welt (DE) /

Putin and Assad have nothing to fear

Once again the violation of the ceasefire will go unpunished, Die Welt complains:

“The reasons for the failure of the ceasefire are simple. The Syrians and the Russians believe they can take control of Aleppo and other parts of the country militarily. This is why we have been watching the same old game for almost a year. Moscow starts out by pretending to show good will. Then it looks for and finds pretexts for resuming the fighting. Damascus and Moscow are doing this because they can, because they don't care about the international outcry this provokes - and because they know there won't be any consequences. … Syria is not just the biggest moral failure for the West since Rwanda, it is a realpolitik disaster.”

Al-Araby Al-Jadid (QA) /

Big players don't want peace

The London-based daily Al-Arabi Al-Jadid believes the US and Russia have no intention of ending the war:

“The course the Syrian revolution has taken to date admits only one conclusion. The opposition is being prevented from defeating the regime militarily. The weapons it receives or doesn't receive tie in with this plan. … In the same way the regime is being prevented from inflicting a crushing defeat on the opposition. … The regime's policy of starving out thousands of civilians has elicited nothing but verbal protests from the international community. All this confirms that there is an agreement between Russia and the US - with the following goal: Syria is to become a 'soft' state, perpetually kept on the verge of collapse. … This strengthens Israel. The Syrians are being driven to despair so that in the end they will be willing to accept any solution. And the country serves as a deterrent for anyone in the region who might consider rebelling against a dictatorship.”

More opinions

Daily Sabah (TR) / 27 September 2016
  Set up security zone instead of seeking solution with Assad