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Battle of Aleppo and The Future of Syria

Aleppo has been recaptured. This is probably the greatest victory of Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria, in the almost six-year-old Syrian civil war. One of the early and biggest losses in this civil war was capturing of Aleppo by the rebels. After recapturing Aleppo and other rebel-held parts of the city, the major population centres in Syria are now under control of Assad regime.

This should give a major boost to the morale of the regime forces. It will be difficult for opposition militants to sustain the fight in the long run unless supported by some foreign intervention. But recapturing of Aleppo hasn’t been seen all in positive light. There are serious allegations of human rights violations against the regime. The Assad regime in Syria has been accused of war crimes by U.S. and France. Civilians have been massacred in millions in the cross fire between government led forces and militants outfits. It was only in September 2015 when Russia intervened that the balance of the conflict changed in favour of the regime. Assisted by the Russian air force, Iran-trained militias and fighters from Hezbollah, government forces have launched a massive operation against the Islamic State.

The Islamic State and al-Nusra are acting as two competing jihadist movements in Syria. While al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham want to turn Syria into a theocratic state, Islamic State wants to establish a caliphate across the borders. But as far as women, non-Sunni sects and the future of the Syrian society are concerned, they share common views.

Negotiations need to happen on Syria’s future with the non-jihadist opposition groups, external proxy powers that are involved in Syria’s civil war and considering the unpopularity of Mr. Assad perhaps other more acceptable political alternatives to him.

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