After four years of autonomy, East Aleppo, the rebellious city, has fallen. As I write this, buses full of evacuated people are arriving in areas controlled by non-Assadist armed groups in the Idlib area, to the south-west, and some ambulances carrying seriously injured people are crossing the border into Turkey. In the past few days, over a hundred thousand people had their homes, already destroyed by months of intensive bombardment, captured by the the Syrian military or (more likely) allied armed groups, such as Hezbollah. Some of these people have been killed in the streets, others divided up by sex and sent to internment camps or conscripted into the military to serve as canon fodder. The others wait, watching as more soldiers arrive and their neighbours be sorted, wondering what’s next.
What has been lost in these past few days, for those of us not directly touched by the violence? As I hide in the bathroom at work and flip through images of people burning their cars and furniture so that the army can’t loot it, what does it mean to me that Eastern Aleppo has been captured? These are some thoughts and reflections I have, as I watch the Aleppo revolutionaries be crushed, about the importance of this moment and what we, as anarchists based in Western countries, might learn from it.