Citing its own sources, the pro-government newspaper al-Watan noted that the armed gangs holed-up in eastern Aleppo secretly sent representatives to negotiate terms of surrender with government forces. The article noted that differences arose amongst the radicals after a series of government victories in the eastern part of the city. Contrary to earlier statements that they refused to leave the areas under their control, now, many are ready to accept the ultimatum offered by the authorities. Israel Shamir, a noted Middle East expert, concurred with the reports. He thought that the media is “coddling” the militants, saying:
Now, the situation in Aleppo is very vague, it’s hard to speculate… but there’s a feeling that in the last two days of fighting in eastern Aleppo things went poorly for the militants. In the media, reports began to appear that Aleppo is about to fall… that is, it’s not the end, the loss of Aleppo… it isn’t hopeless, for the revolt exists elsewhere. In principle, such soothing messages are a sign that the militants are ready to surrender, to hand over Aleppo. However, this isn’t the end of the conflict in Syria. Action may continue in other militant-held areas, for Aleppo isn’t the only city still under their control. Therefore, by no means, does it signify the end of the war. Yet, the city’s liberation would be an important part of establishing peace in Syria. After all, at the same time that the battle in Aleppo raged, the process of reconciliation of individual leaders, of individual bands of militants, went forward… already, about a thousand combatants laid down their arms, and such agreements are for the best. Victory in Aleppo, which seems to be just around the corner, could affect the morale of those who still support the insurgency, leading them to realise that it’s time to wind it all up… the war’s gone on long enough.
5 December 2016