In just two days this Sunday and Monday the Syrian army spearheaded by the elite Tiger Forces recovered 30% of the rebel-held pocket in eastern Aleppo.
— watanisy (@watanisy) November 28, 2016
This allowed 16,000 civilians stuck in the encirclement to cross over to the government side and save themselves from the double government-rebel blockade of eastern Aleppo. (Government blocks it to restrict food supplies, the rebels to keep the civilians in.)
Rather than celebrate that the worst of the hardships are now over for 16,000 people western officials and the western media tried to paint the advance in the worst light and to suggest it was somehow aimed at civilians.
From the headlines in the large western media you would easily conclude that civilians were fleeing from the Syrian army rather than toward it:
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) November 27, 2016
— Lina Arabi (@LinaArabii) November 28, 2016
Syria’s Russian backers were understandably not too happy with such a reaction. Here they are helping to defeat al-Qaeda in Aleppo, just like the US is helping to defeat ISIS in Mosul, and the west pretends this is a “heartbreaking” situation that “no positive spin” can be applied to.
Russian Ministry of Defense responded by saying the key thing is that thousands of civilians will not have access to food and safe shelter:
Breakthrough in Aleppo saves 80,000 civilians, say Russian military
“The most important thing is that over 80,000 Syrians, including tens of thousands of children, have been freed. Many of them at long last were able to get water, food, medical assistance at humanitarian centers deployed by Russia. Those Syrians served as human shields in Aleppo for terrorists of all flavors,” the general stressed.
“Now it turned out that the release of over 80,000 Aleppo residents held hostage by gunmen was not part of the plans of the UK and French Foreign Ministries, the US Department of State and the German Bundestag. They even urged to impose new sanctions for that,” the spokesman said.”
This is all good and well, except it is not even remotely true that 80,000 civilians have been broken out from the blockade. Syrian government itself estimates there were never more than 60,000 civilians in the entire pocket.
The far more credible estimate is that “only” some 16,000 took advantage of the rebel implosion to make the trek across the frontline. Of course these 16,000 could easily represent a third of the population of the pocket before Sunday .
We can see what the Russians did here. West has been claiming all this time there are over 250,000 civilians living under Syrian and Russian bombs in eastern Aleppo.
So if the Syrians reduced the pocket by 30% it stands to reason that one-third of those civilians have now been freed.
Except there had never been 250,000 civilians in the east Aleppo cauldron to begin with as the great majority of its residents fled long before the pocket was carved out.
There is perhaps some tasty irony in Russians now using the west’s own inflated figures against it but a lie is still a lie. This is disinformation and you shouldn’t fall for it.