Following comments from Ambassador Power terming the Syrian-Russian offer of safe passage to get civilians out of al-Qaeda-held eastern Aleppo “chilling,” Secretary of State John Kerry today claimed that the US is investigating it, believing it to be a possible “ruse.”
If it is a ruse, Kerry warns that it would kill the joint US-Russia cooperation in Syria, one that is the ongoing subject of negotiation. Pentagon officials claim the offer to help civilians out of the war-torn city is a plot to “depopulate” it and allow the military to take it over, saying the displacement would be a “war crime.”
Which could itself be a Pentagon effort to position the battle over Aleppo as an excuse to kill the joint cooperation scheme they objected to. Clearly Syria intends to capture the al-Qaeda-held districts in Aleppo, and offering civilians a safe passage out is the exact same tactic the US has used time and again, with the US and Iraq doing literally the exact same thing in Fallujah and Ramadi.
Few civilians are actually fleeing eastern Aleppo so far, with early reports suggesting only a few hundred civilians have fled. The UN criticized the unilateral establishment of a humanitarian corridor out of the city, with Staffan de Mistura claiming “that’s our job.”