The battle for Aleppo is almost over. Syrian government troops have captured almost 85 per cent of the eastern part of the city which fell into rebel hands in 2012 in one of the early setbacks to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in the civil war. Given the pace of the battlefield advances, it’s only a matter of weeks, if not days, before the Syrian army recaptures all of Aleppo, the country’s largest city and commercial capital before the conflict broke out. The regime will now have direct control over all the major cities and population centres in Syria, while for the army, which was on the brink of collapse a year ago before the Russian intervention, the victory is certainly a morale booster. But Mr. Assad has had to pay a heavy price for Aleppo. 
This military triumph is the result of a brutal strategy the regime and the Russians put in place earlier this year. Damascus knew that if Aleppo were to be recaptured, it would shift the balance of the civil war decisively. Eastern Aleppo was the priciest catch of the rebels where they built a parallel government. Their plan was to expand the “revolution” to other regime-held territories and they had the backing of regional powers such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The Syrian government, however, launched a relentless bombing campaign in July, imposing a siege on the rebel-held parts of the city. After months of bombing by Russian and Syrian jets broke the rebel supply lines, the army, backed by Hezbollah and Iran-trained militias, moved in to make quick gains. 

The battle for Aleppo has been a humanitarian disaster. The rebels accuse the regime of indiscriminate bombing and killing civilians, while the government says it had no option but to move in as the city was controlled by “terrorists”. Both are partially true. From the beginning of the Aleppo operation, both the regime and Russia adopted scorched earth tactics. But government troops frequently opened humanitarian corridors for the civilians to escape the war and the Russians had even negotiated a retreat deal with the rebels under Turkish mediation recently. But the rebels, including Fateh al-Sham that was al-Nusra Front till August, the al-Qaeda branch in Syria, refused to retreat; they also prevented residents from fleeing the city. Now that government troops have captured most of the city, the question is, what will President Assad do next? Will he move troops to Idlib, another rebel-held city, or kick off a long-awaited political process where he could negotiate from a position of strength? The latter option would avert more bloodshed, while the military’s resources could be rechannelled to fight the Islamic State.

Source : THE HINDU


1. Rebel (noun) (विद्रोही) – a person who rises in opposition or armed resistance against an established government or leader
Synonyms – insurgent, rebellious
Antonyms – obedient, compliant
Ex: The rebel army then dispersed.
2. Regime (noun) (शासन)– a government, especially an authoritarian one
Synonyms – administration, management
Ex: The social aspect of the military frontier regime is interesting.
3. Brink (noun) (किनारा)– the extreme edge of land before a steep slope or a body or water
Synonyms – fringe, verge
Antonyms – center, inside
Ex: This woman could bring me to the brink of insanity.
4. Intervention (noun) (हस्तक्षेप)– the action or process of intervening
Synonyms – interference, arbitration
Ex: It was a huge tragedy that no one tried to intervene and help the elderly woman when she was being attacked in the park.
5. Triumph (noun) (ट्राइंफ– a great victory or achievement
Synonyms – eletion, pride
Antonyms – disaster, sorrow
Ex: Earning a high school diploma was a huge triumph for the young man with a learning disability.
6. Relentless (adjective) (दयाहीन)– unceasingly intense
Synonyms – ruthless, determined
Antonyms – flexible, merciful
Ex: His voice was relentless.
7. Siege (noun) (घेराबंदी) – a military operation in which enemy forces surround a town or building, cutting off essential supplies, with the aim of compelling those inside to surrender
Synonyms – badger, annoy
Antonyms – aid, please
Ex: Verdun had withstood a siege of ten weeks.
8. Bombing (noun) (बमबारी) – an act or instance of dropping or detonating a bomb somewhere
Synonyms – shelling, air strike
Ex: A series of terrorist bombings.
9. Tactics (noun) (युक्ति) – an action or strategy carefully planned to achieve a specific end
Synonyms – approach, campaign
Ex: She had not the training for tactics or strategies.

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