By Heidi Welte:
Recent airstrikes in Aleppo have succeeded in irreparably damaging the city’s remaining hospitals, leaving the civilian populace without access to lifesaving medical care. The airstrikes were conducted by the Syrian government and its allies. Four hospitals were bombed in a forty-eight hour period, leaving them severely damaged or destroyed. The present US Administration condemned the attacks, but Russia and the Syrian government deny any deliberate targeting of hospitals or other civilian infrastructure.
With this development, the siege-like conditions within the city worsen. Life in a besieged city is a hard, cruel one, as the German 6th Panzer Army discovered when they found themselves surrounded by Soviet armed forces in the city of Stalingrad, later renamed Volgograd, in the dead of winter. Lacking proper equipment and unable to be properly resupplied by the Luftwaffe, many men were killed by cold and starvation as well as gritty urban battle. Those who were wounded usually died from their injuries but for the very few who were airlifted home to Germany. By contrast, the Russian soldiers had an excellent recovery rate with access to enough food, warm winter clothing, and most importantly, access to medical care.
The people of Aleppo, however, are not an invading army. Their situation holds more similarity to the siege of Leningrad during World War II. The city of Leningrad, renamed St. Petersburg after the fall of the Soviet Union, was besieged by the Germans for three years. The city was under constant bombardment from the Luftwaffe and from German artillery strikes. Most civilians couldn’t leave, or didn’t because they had family members who wouldn’t have been able to come with them. They had very little food, no heat or electricity, no running water, and very little access to medical care. Similarly, the people of Aleppo are living in conditions where they are under constant airstrikes, without enough food, shelter or medical care. Children do not have sufficient access to education. They either cannot leave the city, or are too frightened to do so.
The world must come together and find a solution to put an end to their suffering and the inhumane condition in which they are forced to live. President-elect Trump and Vladimir Putin seem to be more congenial with one another as of yet. I hope this relationship between the two countries becomes a positive one, for we cannot end this on our own. A lasting peace in the region will only be reached if we are willing to set aside our differences and work together. We worked together once before, during World War II, and defeated fascism in Europe. If we can unite in arms and bring peace to an entire continent, surely we can come together and formulate a plan to bring peace to Syria. A plan which all parties involved can live with, and one which will restore humane living conditions to the people of Syria.
Heidi Welte is an OpsLens Contributor and U.S. Navy Veteran.