Everyone connected with the abomination in Aleppo will pay a heavy price

Some 70 months ago, unarmed, ordinary Syrians rose peacefully against a regime whose incompetence and corruption they had come grudgingly to accept. It was their rulers’ detention and beating of children that provided the tipping point. The same regime seeks now to capitalize on a bloody victory in Aleppo, where children again have been targeted. But the actual and prospective costs associated with the deliberate slaughter of civilians in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria are steep, and everyone connected with this abomination will pay, especially those who have stood by and watched.

For Syrians hoping for a future free of the Assad family and entourage, the price of Aleppo is bitter. Prodded by a violent regime into armed resistance it did not want, undermined by regime-facilitated extremists and abandoned by pseudo-friends unwilling to match words with deeds, Syrian nationalists must now acknowledge that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s survival strategy is working.

That strategy is rooted in collective punishment. The regime, with the enthusiastic support of Russia and Iran, does not hesitate to kill, maim, terrorize and displace civilians in areas where rebel forces are present. Indeed, the Russian air force has demonstrated a special aptitude for destroying hospitals. For Assad and his allies, no atrocity is unthinkable.

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