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After Slaughter, a Deal for Rebels in Aleppo

Russia and the rebels both say a deal has been reached to allow rebels to leave Aleppo.


“If somebody refuses to leave Aleppo on good terms, he will be eliminated … there is no other way out.” So said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last Tuesday. And it is what seemed to be coming true Monday, as the Syrian government, with help from Russia and Iran, came close to retaking complete control of Aleppo. There were reports of organized killings as the regime of Bashar al-Assad retook parts of the city. Some 100 children were said to be trapped in a building. Tens of civilians were said to have been executed.

“Three member states of the U.N. contributing to a noose around civilians,” said American ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power at the U.N., addressing Syria, Iran, and Russia on Tuesday. “Are you truly incapable of shame?” she asked. “Is there literally nothing that can shame you?”

As if in response, Russian ambassador to the U.N. Vitaly Churkin said on Tuesday that a deal has been reached that will allow rebels to leave the city; rebels have apparently confirmed the deal. They are to begin leaving on Wednesday. “The agreement is for the fighters to leave,” Churkin said. “The civilians, they can stay, they can go to safe places, they can take advantage of the humanitarian arrangements that are on the ground. Nobody is going to harm the civilians.”

But somebody already had. According to the U.N., 82 civilians, including women and children, were executed in the fighting on Monday, adding another few score tragic digits to a death toll that’s approaching 450,000.

Photo credit: KARAM AL-MASRI/AFP/Getty Images

Emily Tamkin is the U.S. editor of the New Statesman and the author of The Influence of Soros, published July 2020. Twitter: @emilyctamkin