Ghouta is the Syrian region east of the capital Damascus. Damascus is obviously controlled by the forces of the regime of Pres. Assad, while Ghouta is a rebel stronghold just east of the city. As such it is a major embarrassment to the regime. Just as with Aleppo that was a rebel outpost for several years, the regime forces surrounded it and bombarded it into submission with extensive loss of Syrian civilian lives. Now the aerial and ground bombardment of Ghouta has resulted in ca. 500 deaths in the past few days mainly from the bombing by Syrian and Russian air force planes. The humanitarian situation in Ghouta, where 10 hospitals have been hit, has been described by UN representatives as “appalling.”
The UN Security Council is meeting to try to bring about a cease-fire in Ghouta to allow basic humanitarian supplies to reach the ca. 400,000 people trapped there. But, the Russians are holding up agreement on a draft resolution. This is highly hypocritical since they say they want to avoid civilian casualties while at the same time bombing the population to hell. To all the good liberals out there I say this is what happens when you trust a country like Russia with a leader like Putin. All these casualties must be laid at the feet of former Pres. Obama.
He drew a red line in Syria when it came to the use of chemical weapons, but then be backed down and allowed Russia/Putin to come in and resolve the problem. But, give them an inch and they take a mile. Putin not only sent his forces in to protect his military bases, but he started to support his ally Assad, who up to then was losing. From that point Assad has gone from controlling ca. 25% of Syria now to ca. 60%. This results from the defeat of the Islamic State as well as the democratic opposition supported by the US. The Russians make no distinction between them, and the US is definitely on the back-foot in Syria, with no real option of getting rid of Assad, which was one of Obama’s main aims, and the Russians are very much on the offensive.
Whatever happens at the UNSC, Russia will delay any vote until their side has taken as much territory and killed as many people as they want to. Then in the final analysis, although some lives will be saved, the position of Assad and the Russians will be enhanced, and that of the US and its allies will deteriorate. This will also leave the way open for the Iranians to expand their role in Syria. But the outcome will depend on what Israel will do and how far the Russians will tolerate that. The future of Israel could well depend on the result of Obama’s mistake of leadership in the first place.