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You're reading: Syria’s Ilovaisk
Earlier this week Kremlin-backed Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad effectively won the battle of Aleppo, with rebels fleeing their last major urban stronghold. Assad and Russia offered a “safe corridor” to militants and civilians leaving Aleppo. The agreement was immediately disrupted by pro-Assad Shia militias who fired on a Red Crescent ambulance, according to pro-rebel media. In 2014 the Kremlin proposed a similar “safe corridor” to Ukrainian soldiers leaving the city of Ilovaisk in Donetsk Oblast. Later hundreds of those soldiers were massacred by Russian regular troops. In 2000, Russia offered a “safe corridor” to residents of the village of Katyr Yurt in Chechnya. As a result, 363 people were slaughtered. The similarities do not end there. In February, Russia, Assad’s regime and anti-Assad rebels reached a cease-fire deal. But the fighting continued, and by December Assad, Iran and Russia’s air force had pounded the rebel enclave in eastern Aleppo to rubble, massacring thousands of civilians and bombing hospitals – a war crime. Just a year before that, Ukraine and Russian-separatist forces also struck a cease-fire deal. The agreement did not prevent Russia from taking over the Ukrainian city of Debaltseve and killing hundreds of soldiers and civilians. And in 2000, Russia carpet-bombed and captured Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, with the United Nations calling it “the most destroyed city on Earth.” Again, thousands of civilians were killed. The West’s failure to stop Russia’s war in Chechnya, Ukraine and Syria shows its impotence. Other than spouting meaningless platitudes about “deep concerns,” token gestures and mild sanctions, Western countries have done little to stop Russian despot Vladimir Putin. Western leaders’ inaction about the fall of Aleppo, as well as the fall of Ilovaisk and Grozny, will go down in history as shameful deeds on the scale of the bombing of Guernica, the crushing of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and the massacres in Rwanda and Srebrenica. Ukraine can draw one lesson from this: it has to rely on its own forces to defeat both the domestic hydra of corrupt and lawless politicians, and the foreign hydra of Russian aggression

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