Yes, don’t forget Aleppo, Syria

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WITH a rude shock, the world received the news of the gruesome murder of the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrea Karlov, on Monday, 19th December. It was an unexpected one considering the cooperation between Russia, which backs the Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad, and Turkey which supports the opposition forces who want the leader to step down in the evacuations of the residents of Aleppo. Besides, the gathering at the art gallery in Ankara was not a diplomatic one. Hence, such an incident could not be predicted.

The gunman, an off-duty police officer, Mevlut Mert Altintas, while carrying out his nefarious operation, threatened that all those responsible for what had happened in Syria and Aleppo would be held accountable. This was because, to him, Syrians, most especially in Aleppo, were being killed by some world powers. His voice in the video clips echoed, “Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria.” There is more to these imperative sentences, and understanding them better will help to avoid a repeat of the heartbreaking incident.

The assailant’s words remind one of the bloodshed, killings and turbulence in the Middle East country, Syria, where the world powers are flexing their muscles in a war of supremacy culminating from the political crisis in Syria. These powerful countries in the guise of either protecting the interest of Bshir Al-Assad or supporting the rebels are wiping the Syrians from the surface of the earth. Therefore, it should not be surprising when Altintas roared, “We die in Aleppo, you die here.” The gunman could be said to be on a vendetta mission. The activities and operations of Russia, Turkey, Iran and the US in the restive nation can endanger their own citizens, most especially their diplomats. Belgium and France are still healing their own wounds. Germany too was struck shortly after the ambassador was murdered. This shows that there are, and will always be, reprisal attacks by the radicalized individuals in the Arab world. These individuals are apologists, and oftentimes refugees who are fleeing wars. But they still feel allegiance to the plight of their people who do not have opportunity to escape the war.

The several airstrikes, launching of missiles and use of chemical weapons (as reported by the Syrian Observatory Watch) cannot solve the political crisis in Syria, but rather compound it, making it more complex even after dust might have been calmed at the battlefield. This is because it is then that some self-styled terrorists such as Altintas will begin another war in such a way that it will be difficult to end. The likes of Altintas will constitute a great and malignant security threat to the world. His action and operation at the art gallery can, perhaps, encourage more Arabians to carry arms against the powers, even on their own soil. So, the agonies, tears and suffering in Aleppo and Syria should not be forgotten

Hence, if truly these world powers are committed to restoring lasting peace to the weary world, it is pertinent not to forget Syria. Remembering Syria here does not mean helping the country, but considering the possible threat to the world as more of the Islamic State will emerge. After the attack in Germany, France began some preventive measures to check and nip in the bud any terrorist move. However, this can never last.

The residents of Aleppo and Syria should be remembered by ending the protracted war, they should be remembered as human beings who deserve to live peacefully, not amidst tension,  rubble and gunshots. All the gladiators in the upheavals should swallow their prides and drop their egos and diplomatic interests as they try to remember Aleppo. Military strength has failed to save in the country. Therefore, other strategies should be employed with serious minds.

Faboade wrote in from the Obafemi Awolowo Uiversity, Ile-Ife

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