The Daily Beast quotes Rafik Hariri Center Resident Fellow Faysal Itani on whether the Syrian city of Aleppo is likely to fall to the Assad regime:
Aleppo is Syria’s largest city (or was), its industrial and commercial center (or…was), and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s the kind of place that “did not indigenously rebel against the regime,” says Faysal Itani of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. “Rather, the revolution was brought there by certain elements of the insurgency.” So they’ve had to fight for every kilometer.
The fall of Aleppo will be hugely tragic—“psychologically and optically devastating,” says Itani. But he and Ford both emphasize that it won’t be the end. That’s probably what you’re going to hear on cable news when it happens, but it won’t be lights out, and the war will continue. The opposition is still strong in the south. And U.S. airstrikes have even done some good in some places, like Kobani, although critics question some of the strategic decisions that have been made about where to bomb. Ford, now with the Middle East Institute, says that in some ways the strikes have “undermined the moderates.” For example, the airstrikes in Deir Ezzor against the Islamic State reduced pressure on regime forces that had been under siege by ISIS and allowed the regime to reallocate scarce air resources to direct them against moderate opposition forces in the north.