As we head towards thanksgiving, Syria’s second city of Aleppo is being ground down in a brutal government siege. Here are four things you need to know about the war in Syria this week.
The Syrian Regime Rejected a Ceasefire
The Assad regime rejected the terms of a U.N.-brokered truce in Aleppo, which would have recognized the rebel-held districts of east Aleppo as an “autonomous zone.”
Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said the country would not be held “hostage to 6,000 gunmen,” and called the reconquest of Aleppo a matter of “national security.”
“We agreed on the need that terrorists should get out of east Aleppo to end the suffering of the civilians in the city,” he said.
There are believed to be 275,000 people trapped in besieged east Aleppo.
Every Hospital in East Aleppo Is Damaged or Destroyed
Every hospital in rebel held East Aleppo has been destroyed or damaged to the point of closure. Five hospitals were hit in air raids on Friday and forced to close. Hospitals have been consistently targeted by Russian and Syrian jets since the siege began in July but over the last week the assault has become fiercer.
Médecins Sans Frontières said there was no possibility of sending help or more supplies.
Turkey Has Restarted Bombing
After a one week hiatus, Turkey has restarted bombing of Syria, targeting ISIS positions near the strategically important town Al-Bab in northern Syria. The operation took place one day after a Turkish soldier was killed by ISIS.
Turkish-backed militias fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) are advancing into ISIS-held territory. These latest airstrikes were conducted in support of that mission, dubbed Operation Euphrates Shield.
The mission took place after senior Turkish officials met with Russian representatives. Prior to the mission, the Syrian Air Force had threatened to shoot down any Turkish planes entering its air space.
President Obama Decried the Possibility of Peace
Obama said he is “not optimistic” about the possibility of peace in Syria and predicted that chaos would continue for “some time.”
"I am not optimistic about the short term prospects in Syria," he said at a summit of Pacific leaders in Lima, Peru.
"Once Russia and Iran made a decision to back Assad and a brutal air campaign and essentially a pacification of Aleppo regardless of civilian casualties, children being killed or wounded, schools or hospitals being destroyed, it was very hard to see a way in which even a trained and committed moderate opposition could hold its ground for long periods of time.”
He told Russian President Vladimir Putin he was deeply concerned about the ongoing bloodshed.
President Obama will be replaced by President-Elect Donald Trump on January 20.