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Alas, Aleppo
Terror - Islam
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Wendy Wippel

I have been trying to follow the Battle for Aleppo, I really have. But the sound-bite news coverage that both TV and online have reverted to (even on Fox News you hear way more about Brad and Angie then you do Al-Bashir) makes it hard, and the multiple factions involved only add to my confusion. One thing I know, Aleppo is a complete an unadulterated tragedy.

As I sat down to write this morning, the heart rending scenes of death and destruction were inescapable again, with the official Syrian forces against the rebels holed up in Aleppo. And, again, the Syrian forces were bombing orphanages. Thanks to social media, I and anyone else interested were getting updates from the front:

Radhwan Salem: Where are our supporters? "Believers in humanity, I don't understand how can the entire world watch this and do nothing. Oh, God, help us."

Abdulla Saleem, 39, a doctor who is living in the bombed out remains of a building, via WhatsApp, "They are killing everyone. ... My friends are doctors, who were providing the only possible medical care to the injured. Now they are butchered. Everyone is dying. I will soon die, too."

A 7-year old girl, Bana Alabed: "Under attack. Nowhere to go, every minute feels like death. Pray for Us.  Goodbye."

Rupert Colville, U.N. spokesman: “The reports we had are of people being shot in the street trying to flee and shot in their homes,". "There could be many more."

'Children burned alive and mass executions' as Aleppo falls to Putin and Assad. 'Aleppo is being destroyed by the silence of the world'  (ACNN news anchor.}

What was this war about?

In 2011, Aleppo- a UNESCO world heritage site, was Syria's largest city and commercial center, with a population of 2.5 million people. It was also a multi-cultural city, in which Kurds, Iranians, Turkmen, Armenian and Circassian minorities lived relatively peacefully with the Arab majority, with mosques and churches happily coexisting.

Then Arab Spring.  And its protests against President Bashar al-Assad.

Which turned into civil war, with Assad’s forces intent on squashing the rebellion.

Five years later, the fight was still going on.  And the problem was that Assad’s regime had a tendency to overreact to any signs of rebellion. Like indiscriminate bombings, including civilian targets like hospitals and schools. The rebel forces responded in kind, and Aleppo quickly became, well,  Hell on earth. 

And essentially found themselves without a friend in the world. Literally. Political expediency made world leaders look the other way.

Remember Obama’s line in the sand? The sands shift quickly over there, apparently.

Today Aleppo fell. And first reports would indicate that it was carnage. in fact, the situation in Aleppo was described by the United Nations as a “complete meltdown of humanity”. The UN confirmed massacre of civilians by pro-Assad forces, including children. Photographs show the corpses lying in the streets, with people too terrified to retrieve their loved ones’ bodies. For those that survived, despite gunshot wounds. burns, and other ravages of war, there is no longer any medical help to be had.

The U.N. said on Tuesday that it had evidence that pro-government militias massacred numerous  civilians as they tried to escape, and other as they hid in their houses. Abdulhafi Alhamdo, an activist said,  “We are facing one of the most difficult times or the most serious or the most horrible massacres that is in that new history."

British U.N. ambassador Matthew Rycroft agreed: "They have gone from siege to slaughter."

US. ambassador Samantha Power added this: "Aleppo will join the ranks of those events in world history that define modern evil, that stain our conscience decades later - Halabja, Rwanda, Srebrenica and now Aleppo."

The death toll as morning dawned today in Aleppo, after nearly 6 years of war, was roughly 150,000, with many more displaced. Who knows what it will be tomorrow. And many of the dead are children, a group seemingly targeted by Assad’s forces in order to force the Free Syrian rebels to lay down their own arms.

Apparently a cease-fire was agreed to this afternoon, with promises to evacuate the survivors.

Which begs the question. To where?

But I guess that’s a good thing. The bad thing is that this probably won’t be the last massacre we see.

What’s the answer?  How do we stop this?

One word: Jesus.

“And he shall judge among many people, he will rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: and nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Mic 4:3).

One fine day. In the meantime, pray for the people of Aleppo.

About Wendy Wippel

Last week: Eternity 2.0

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