MASADA: Will The Battle For Aleppo Decide The Fate Of Assad ?


MASADA: Will The Battle For Aleppo Decide The Fate Of Assad ?
by Darius Kadivar

While the deemed « civilized » world will be treated at the Olympic Games with it’s share of « bread and circus », I cannot help but think of another far more dramatic spectacle in the making. The Syrian rebels under siege in the city of Aleppo known for it’s ancient archeological sites already heavily bombarded by the troops of Syrian President Assad are about to face their most Deadly challenge yet. (Source:

As  the siege of Aleppo continues, already dubbed by both sides as « the mother of all battles », I am sadly reminded of all the tragic and desperate acts of resistance against all odds and one in particular that of Masada (72 B.C.) in a region which has witnessed so many others in it’s long history.

Although the brave Syrian rebels are far from suicidal, their desperate situation as a poorly equipped rebellious lot facing a brutally professional killing machine led by Bachar Assad’s henchmen (including his own brother) will definitively be remembered as a tragic bloody milestone in this already year long confict.

As BBC War Correspondent Ian Pannel describes it : « It is almost inconceivable that President Assad could allow his government to lose control of the city, so it is reasonable to expect that they are going to throw everything they possibly can at the city.

And that is what they are preparing for here. One of the neighbourhoods is appealing for more blood supplies. We are hearing reports of hundreds, possibly thousands of families leaving some districts. Everybody is bracing themselves for an intensive campaign.

The way it has worked in other cities is that there is an intensive bombardment by artillery and mortars, and then when it starts to go calm, tanks begin to roll in. This is a very congested heavily populated area, so it will be bloody. » (Seerelated News).



Battle for Aleppo 'crucial' for Syria's future (Daily Telegraph, Jul 23, 2012):

Speaking from a village on the outskirts of Aleppo in Syria, the Telegraph's 
Foreign Affairs Correspondent says that the rebels "think they have 
nothing to lose" in the battle for the city.

Crac des Chevaliers holds out against Assad troops (AFP, Jul 4, 2012):

The Crac des Chevaliers, Syria's best preserved castle from the Crusades of the Middle Ages, is once again providing shelter for armed forces. The Free Syria Army have been holed up in and around the hilltop the fortress for over a year as they resist the advance of forces loyal the President Assad. An exclusive AFPTV report.

(NOTE : To Watch Double Click Here)  





The Mother of All Battles ?



The siege of Masada was among the final accords of the First Jewish-Roman War. The long siege by the troops of theRoman Empire led to the mass suicide of the Sicarii rebels and resident Jewish families of the Masada fortress. The siege has become a controversial event in Jewish history, marking radicalism on the one hand and heroic struggle on the other. (More Here)

The Siege of Massada:


Documentary revists the myth of Massada in the light of new archeological discoveries


Peter O'Toole and Peter Strauss star in the Emmy Award-winning mini-series about the Romans' siege of the Jewish fortress at Masada. 

In first century A.D., Flavius Silva (Peter O'Toole), commander in Roman Palestine, leads his forces in combat against the remaining Jewish Zealots who have taken refuge in the seemingly impregnable fortress of Masada. There, the engineering and military might of Rome faces the passion and ingenuity of Eleazar Ben Yair (Peter Strauss) and his people. 

Based on the novel "The Antagonists" by Ernest K. Gann, this 4-part mini-series was shot on location in Israel.


Retribution :


Masada "The Leaders Meet" :

Generals Meet before Assault :


Recommended Readings:

Conflict threatens Syria's archaeological heritage (France 24)

With its ancient fortresses, castles, mosques and markets, Syria bears the imprint of millennia of Middle Eastern history. But the current uprising is threatening some of the world’s most valuable heritage sites.


Profile of the City of Aleppo (bbc)

The Old Quarter of Aleppo is listed by Unesco as a World Heritage site. Its population of two million is made up mainly of Sunni Muslims, most of whom are Arabs but some of whom are Kurds. It also has the largest population of Christians in the country, and along with a mix of other religious and ethnic communities, the city's demographics largely mirror those of the country as a whole.

As one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world - along with the capital, Damascus - and coloured with the stories of the many ancient travellers and merchants who passed through on their journeys along the famous Silk Road, Aleppo's beauty is hard to compare.

The medieval citadel and covered souk are two of its famous landmarks - both listed by Unesco as world heritage sites, which said it mirrored the rich and diverse cultures of its successive occupants.

Related Photo Essay:


In pictures : the Battle of Aleppo (bbc)


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