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In Brussels recently, the American secretary of state placed much of the onus for the abomination that is Aleppo on the Syrian opposition.As a practical matter, Washington's leverage in Syria is so slight that the White House and State Department find it difficult to arrange even a conditional surrender in Aleppo to save civilian lives. Moscow's cold contempt for the Obama administration is palpable and understandable. He knows that the civilian-centric methodology of Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime in Aleppo and elsewhere makes the argument for Daesh (ISIS) as the alternative to Assad persuasive to some. But he has elected to continue fronting for a strategy that wages – if that is the correct word – a slow-motion war on Daesh in eastern Syria disconnected from mass homicide in western Syria; mass murder that breathes oxygen into the lungs of Islamist extremism everywhere. Imagine the position in which Syrian opposition leaders on the ground and in exile find themselves when presented with cease-fire proposals, whether by the United Nations special envoy or by a White House staffer. One may well argue that the armed Syrian opposition should have avoided urban combat altogether. Surely it is worth observing that the opposition should have come up with a plan of its own for Aleppo many months ago.
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