Fact-Check: No, Aleppo Has Not ‘Fallen’

A member of Syria's pro-government forces guards a look out point as they advance Aleppo's rebel-held Bustan al-Basha neighbourhood on October 6, 2016
AFP

During Wednesday night’s presidential debate, Republican nominee Donald Trump refuted moderator Chris Wallace’s assertion that Trump’s claim that the Syrian city of Aleppo had “fallen.”

Fact-Check: MOSTLY FALSE

Wallace corrected Trump, stating that Aleppo had not fallen to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and his Russian allies. Trump rejected that correction, stating once again that Aleppo had “fallen” and repeatedly asking Wallace of the city, “have you seen it?”

While Trump may have meant to use the term “fallen” to describe the state of affairs in the city – its crumbling buildings, near total lack of functional infrastructure, and a serious medical crisis as hospitals have become the targets of Russian airstrikes – politically, the rebels controlling Aleppo have not surrendered. Aleppo has not “fallen” to Assad.

The anti-Assad rebels fighting in the city had their latest chance to surrender earlier this week, when Russia and Damascus announced a short-term ceasefire to allow rebels who no longer want to fight to abandon the city.

“When we took up arms at the start of the revolution to defend our abandoned people we promised God that we would not lay them down until the downfall of this criminal regime,” Syrian rebel militia leader Al-Farouk Abu Bakr said Tuesday in response to the ceasefire.

Another rebel leader, Zakaria Malahifji, put it more plainly: “he factions completely reject any exit – this is surrender.”

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