In what can be seen as two defeats for the West, the whole of Aleppo has now fallen into the hands of the Assad-Hezbollah-Iranian-Russian alliance. And in Mosul the Islamic State still resists the onslaught of the Iraqi Army, Shia militias and Kurdish Pesh Merga.
This is a great victory for Assad after five years of civil war in Syria, that his Syrian Army with his allies have been able to take back the second largest city in Syria, albeit a totally ruined city. Nevertheless, he still controls only ca. 25% of the country and it is unlikely that he will ever be able to regain control of the rest. To all intents, Syria no longer exists as a coherent country. The rest of the country is divided between the Islamic State, the al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Fatah al Sham, the democratic opposition of the Free Syrian Army and the Kurds in their northern entity of Rojava.
The elite commando forces of the Iraqi Army apparently spearheaded the campaign against Mosul from the south. They entered the city and made headway, but were forced to retreat by fierce IS resistance. It is estimated that there are now no more than 4,000 IS fighters in the city, but they are suicidal. Now there is a temporary stalemate. The US has committed more special forces units to the campaign, seeing that the Iraqi Army has faltered. Although apparently the Kurdish Pesh Merga forces are still making progress from the north and west.
Syrian and Hezbollah flags now fly over Aleppo. Many civilians have died in the assault, but international humanitarian agencies cannot help them. There is no water, food or medical supplies in eastern Aleppo. When the Western representatives, such as Samantha Powers, the US UN representative, calls on the Russians to show restraint and shame for their actions, you know the West is in trouble. Since when could we depend on the humanitarian impulses of dictators such as Putin and Assad. If there are extensive civilian casualties in Aleppo it is partly the fault of the cowardly policies of the Obama Administration.