A group of Syrian and international cultural heritage scholars issued a statement condemning the participation of European and American colleagues in a conference hosted recently in Damascus by the Syrian Ministries of Culture and Tourism. The signatories of the statement criticised what they believed constituted support and participation in the “propaganda victory for the regime in Damascus” at a time when much of Aleppo’s historical heart is reduced to rubble and Palmyra is lost to ISIS again.
Aleppo is likely to fall into government hands soon. Russian jets and Iranian fighters have crushed the hopes of many for a better life and greater freedom. Now the Syrian forces, skilled at little but the killing of unarmed civilians, are setting to work rounding up young men. Many will never be seen again. Meanwhile, ISIS has retaken Palmyra, showing how Assad and his allies have never been interested in fighting that enemy, only the threat of democracy and progress.
This morning two additional districts of eastern Aleppo fell. Other besieged districts were under continued bombing that is draining life out of those who have survived. Dentist Salem Abualnaser made what might be his last cry for the protection of civilians in those areas:
Aleppo has been under siege for about a hundred days. Food stocks are running out. Price are up 20-fold. Medical and civil defence equipment destroyed by regime and Russian bombing cannot be replaced. The injured are sent home without even painkillers and the dead are carried to graveyards on food carts.
Parachutes have been used by the Russian and Syrian air forces to drop bombs, such as the parachute-retarded ODAB-500PM, on civilian areas of the besieged city. Parachutes could be used to send urgently needed food and medical aid instead.