Syria’s second-largest city and part of humanity’s ancient heritage, Aleppo is the martyred center of the resistance to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, having been under constant bombardment by his forces since 2012. Now Aleppo is caught between the regime’s “barrel bombs” and Daesh’s [ISIL’s] cutthroats. . . .
For these two faces of barbarism share a common aim: to destroy the moderate opposition. Thus, their choice to target its bastion, Aleppo, which represents the only political alternative capable of preserving the prospect of an open, pluralistic, democratic Syria — the Syria that both the regime and Daesh reject.
Abandoning Aleppo would mean condemning Syria to years of violence. It would mean the death of any political future. It would mean exporting Syria’s chaos to its already vulnerable Iraqi, Lebanese and Jordanian neighbors. It would mean the breakup of the country to be delivered up to increasingly radicalized warlords. And make no mistake — Assad, one “warlord” among others — will not defeat these rivals, just as he is incapable of defeating Daesh today. . . .
France cannot resign itself to the breakup of Syria or to the abandonment of the Aleppans to this fate. That is why — together with our coalition partners — we must focus our efforts on Aleppo, with two clear objectives: strengthening our support for the moderate Syrian opposition, and protecting the civilian population from the twin crimes of the regime and Daesh. After Kobane, we must save Aleppo.
Laurent Fabius is France’s minister of foreign affairs and international development.