Middle East

Syria’s Al-Watan paper criticizes government inaction in Aleppo

Children run after a tank driven by fighters from the Tawhid Brigade, which operates under the Free Syrian Army, near the 80th Brigade base in Aleppo, which is controlled by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad November 11, 2013. (REUTERS/Molhem Barakat)

DAMASCUS: Syria’s Al-Watan newspaper, considered close to the regime, criticized the government Tuesday for failing to better address the devastation in the country’s second city of Aleppo.

The rare criticism comes as government troops make progress in Aleppo province, retaking the town of Safira, southeast of Aleppo city, and discussing the possibility of reopening Aleppo’s airport after nearly a year of closure.

The newspaper said the government of Prime Minister Wael Halqi had failed to dispatch its economic team to Aleppo city “despite the invitation of the governor and the improvement in the security situation, thanks to the sacrifices made by the Syrian army and resistance of the residents in the face of terrorists.”

The regime and its media outlets use the term “terrorists” for the opposition.

Al-Watan said Electricity Minister Imad Khamis, who visited Aleppo Monday, “finally returned to the city a year after the last visit by a minister.”

“The people want the government to show more interest in their city. They are waiting for visits from the prime minister and other ministers to examine the situation, which has improved somewhat,” it added.

Once Syria’s economic powerhouse, the city of Aleppo in the north of the country has been devastated by more than a year of fighting between rebel forces and regime troops.

Both the opposition and the regime control parts of the city, with neither side able to make much progress despite months of fighting.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on November 13, 2013, on page 8.




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