Long after both sides had predicted an overwhelming victory, Syria’s Aleppo Province remains heavily contested by the Syrian military and rebel fighters. It’s been hard on the combatants, but even harder on the civilians, who remain a constant target.
The Shi’ite villages of Nubi and Zahra are the latest parts of Aleppo to find a target painted on their backs, as rebels announced in a video today that the villagers need to unconditionally surrender to the rebels’ rule or be crushed.
Across Syria, but nowhere moreso than Aleppo Province, the rebellion is dominated by Sunni Islamist fighters. With regards to many of those fighters, the choice of surrender or death is a distinction without a difference for Shi’ites.
The sectarian nature of the fighting has obliged small towns and villages to embrace one side or the other simply to survive, and rebel claims of Hezbollah shoring up the defenses of those villages are likely either true at the moment or soon will be, while the civilians will be left scrambling out of another combat zone.