11:50 GMT29 November 2020
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    Syrian government forces have al-Nusra militants surrounded in Aleppo. In cooperation with the Russian military, three humanitarian corridors have been established to let civilians and surrendered militants escape. Radio Sputnik’s Brian Becker talks the importance of the situation with political analyst Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich.


    Asked for her opinion of the strategic importance of these developments, Sepahpour-Ulrich called Aleppo a "terrorist stronghold," pointing out that, in her view, whomever engages in a fight that takes innocent lives is a terrorist, rather than the "opposition."

    "It would really be a game changer if… the Syrian government with its allies, which is Russia, should succeed in [taking the city]," she said.

    She noted that civilians in the city are being held captive, and are not only starving, but are also being used as human shields — a fact that prevents Syrian government forces from forming a massive assault.

    Sepahpour-Ulrich recalled that the US also created humanitarian corridors during its operations  in Iraq, and so any condemnation from Washington of the evacuation of civilians is, in her words, "hypocritical."

    US military presence is used to support local terrorists, Sepahpour-Ulrich argues, rather than governments, in order to create instability, which will allow the US to make its mark on the ground.

    At the same time, however, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is gaining in popularity among civilians, she said. This is likely to lead to the failure of terrorists. And if those terrorists, whom Sepahpour-Ulrich calls "the United States' mercenaries" fail, the US might resort to aerial bombings and try to turn Syria into a "failed state," despite it's being backed by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.

    "I don't think the United States will give up just because they were defeated in Aleppo," she said. "They will continue with [their plan of] regime change… They already invested too much time and money and their reputation."

    Sepahpour-Ulrich insists that, even though the retaking of Aleppo will be a "mile boost" for Assad, nobody should "for a moment" think that the worst of the war is behind us.

    "We should be even more on guard than before at that point against what may be coming," she told Sputnik.

    Sepahpour-Ulrich also commented on al-Nusra's recent "rebranding," as the group officially disaffiliated itself from Al-Qaeda. She said the move was motivated by the desire to stop being perceived as "terrorists" and to gain the right to officially receive direct aid from the United States and their allies fighting in Syria. She likened the al-Nusra front to Afghanistan's Taliban, which took the same tack of rebranding themselves to become involved in international relations.

    "If anybody believes that they've changed their philosophy of terrorism, that would be naïve," she said of al-Nusra.


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