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Aleppo liberation, major milestone in Syria war

14 December 2016 12:42

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Syrian forces are in full control of the northern city of Aleppo, nearly three weeks after Damascus and its allies launched a major offensive to recapture the militant-held part of the city. The residents of Aleppo have taken to the streets to celebrate the city’s full liberation from militants.

Press TV has spoken to James Jatras, former US Senate foreign policy analyst, as well as Michael Lane, founder of American Institute for Foreign Policy, to discuss the issue.

Jatras believes the liberation of Aleppo by Syrian forces is a “major milestone” in the strategic sorting out of the war in Syria.

The West and its regional allies, he said, continue with their regime change policy in Syria, adding they have to come to terms with the fact that President Bashar al-Assad is not going to go.

Those countries may want to try to preserve the terrorist groups in Syria in order to send them into the battle somewhere else, he added.

Jatras further said the United States has failed to separate the so-called moderate fighters from the terrorists in Syria because there are not any real moderate militants in the country.

The United States meanwhile does not have much influence over the terrorist groups in Syria, he said, predicting that Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey will keep sending weapons to them.

According to the analyst, there is going to be a “different game plan” when US President-elect Donald Trump takes office because he has made it clear that he wants to work with the Russians on what he considers to be a common enemy in the terrorists.

“If Trump is serious about following through with reaching some sort of a deal with the Russians to wrap this war up at some point, he is going to have a very stern talk with the people in Riyadh, in Doha and Ankara.”

The other panelist on Press TV’s program, Michael Lane, said the liberation of Aleppo is a double-edged sword, explaining that there are a certain segment of people who do feel liberated and there are others who want to get out of the city.

The terrorist groups, he said, are certainly making plans to continue the fight in Syria’s countryside but Syrian government forces can deal with them on a much different basis than they had to when they came to the urban warfare of retaking the city of Aleppo.

The analyst said under the presidency of Donald Trump, there is likely to be a “dramatic change” vis-à-vis Middle East policy and a lot more cooperation with Russia in the fight against terrorism.

“He [Trump] has already established his own dialog with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. He is already establishing dialog with other world leaders including countries in theater in the Middle East,” he said.

“And I think there is going to be a concentration of effort just against the terrorists which is going to create strained relations among the United States and some of its long-term allies as they adjust to and get to know a new Trump administration and what its policies are and how it is going to interact with those countries,” Lane added.

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