Russian aerial terror is again reported from Syria. At least 12 children and an adult were killed by a Russian air-strike at a school in Anjara, just outside Aleppo. Dozens more children and their teachers were injured in Jan. 11 strike, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Photos released on social media show toppled desks covered in dust and rubble lying below a gaping hole in the building. In video footage released on Twitter, one child recounted how her class was set to take an exam when the air-strike hit. (CSM) Schools in Douma, outside Damascus, are closed until further notice after cluster-bomb attacks by Russian warplanes last month Of the 60 civilians killed in Dec. 13 air-strikes on the town, eight were children. Another was the headmistress of a school that came under attack, who ran out into the playground to save try to save children as the bombs started falling. (The Telegraph)
Am World Food Programme aid convoy has meanwhile reached the besieged rebel-held town of Madaya, where 40,000 residents have been trapped for six months by a regime blockade. The UN and rights groups say they has received credible reports of people dying of starvation in the town. At least 28 people, including six babies, have died from hunger-related causes at a clinic in Madaya aided by Doctors Without Borders, medics there said. Aid was last delivered to the town in October 2015 and has since run out. A ceasefire arranged in September 2015 was meant to guarantee access for aid delivery and evacuation of injured civilians, but this was not implemented. (BBC News, Al Jazeera, NYT, AI)
Targeted attacks continue against Syria's civil resistance. On Jan. 10, Nusra Front militants raided the offices of the leftist Union of Revolutionary Bureaus and its associated Radio Fresh in Kafranbel and abducted two journalists, Raed Fares and Hadi Abdullah. The other staff members were only released after militants forced them to trample on the Syrian revolutionary flag, which was then burned. Computers and other equipment was confiscated by the militants. An urgent appeal has been released for the return alive of Fares and Abdullah. (Syria Freedom Forever, Jan. 10)
Amid all this the US State Department had the chutzpah to name "bringing peace" to Syria as one of its 2015 accomplishments. The claim was made in a Dec. 24 blog post written by John Kirby, the assistant secretary of State for the bureau of public affairs. Under fire for this perversity, the State Department is pathetically trying to cover its tracks. "Now look, the operative word there is bringing, not brought, so we're bringing peace and security to Syria," spokesman Mark Toner told reporters, calling it a "truthful claim," and adding that it's a "mistaken impression" to think that Kirby was implying that the country's conflict has been resolved. "We're not there yet, we recognize that, but we do believe through a lot of hard, diplomatic spade work we have made progress," he said. (The Hill, Dec. 28)
We said after last month's UN Security Council resolution supposedly charting a course to "peace" in Syria, that this was actually Great Power acquiesence in continued rule by the genocidal Assad dictatorship, which only empowers the jihadists and actually signaled an escalation in the conflict. Alas, we feel all too vindicated.
"Bringing peace," eh? Another one to file under #OrwellWouldShit.