Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Aleppo Prepares for Long Lasting Siege…Local Council Stockpiles a Month Worth of Food | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Syrian girls carry bags of bread as people queue up outisde a bakery in a rebel held neighbourhood in the northern city of Aleppo on Tuesday (AFP photo)

Beirut- Aleppo’s local council currently in preparation for long term besiegement underway as the Bashar al-Assad led regime seeks to shrink opposition-controlled foothold. The council is taking effective measures to mitigate the dangers entailed by the forecast blockade.

Bracing themselves for the worst scenario possible, Syrians are stockpiling on sustenance and resources.

Opposition authorities were seeking to ration consumption to prevent hoarding and prevent traders from overcharging.

Brita Hagi Hassan, president of the city council for opposition-held Aleppo, speaking to Reuters said that the Syrian Opposition is working its way through the rocketing price rates to guide consumption and inhibit building up stocks, manage rates and stop merchants from manipulating rates freely.

He said opposition authorities were also moving towards opening “alternative ways” into the rebel-held part of the city.

“We have the capability to open new ways because the situation is still under control,” Hassan told Reuters. The plans were secret, he added, speaking from a rural area west of Aleppo after twice failing to enter the city last week.

Prices of non-perishable staple foods have tripled and fresh produce has gone up by even more, if it can be found at all. A kilo of tomatoes, which are now in season, costs at least five times more than they did before the blockade.

The city council has stockpiled flour, wheat, fuel, sugar and rice, and residents were being urged to adapt to the new situation, Hassan said. “I reassured people on this matter … we can remain for several months without a problem.

“There are posters, pamphlets and there will be a press conference about this matter, so that the people are aware of the new situation, because the situation is very bad.”

Operators of generators had been told to cut back their use to two hours a day and the council had set aside fuel for essential uses such as bakeries.

Alternative to fears of cordon, the opposition’s Free Syrian Army (FSA) military board member reassured everyone that Aleppo is far too large of topography to be effectively put under siege. Moreover, he said that opposition factions will ambush regime forces and allies across many fronts, which will cross Aleppo off regime’s list of priorities.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, the FSA military commander, Abu Ahmad al-Asimi said that Aleppo will not be put under siege, however, might be subject to constringency.

Al-Asimi said that the large swaths of Aleppo land in addition to the droves of Syrian Opposition fighters covering it make the task of the regime landing an effective siege.