The 21st Century Stalingrad – Welcome To Syria’s Never Ending Battle

first published on October 2, 2016 by

Block by block, street by street, house by house. The never ending battle in the 21st century Stalingrad. Welcome to Aleppo.

Throughout history’s wars, their has always been tense urban combat. Most of these urban battles have become the stuff of legends. We often hear about the battles of Hue City, and Fallujah, where clearing operations where conducted in a swift and violent manner by a much larger and technologically superior force. While these battles tended to bloody the attackers, and are known as some of toughest fighting in their respective wars, they barely hold a candle to the type of fighting we see when two equal opponents duke it out inside of urban terrain.

Stalingrad is our first, and best example of this. Over the course of 5 months, 3 weeks, and one day, over 2.5 million men waged death against each other. City blocks became fluid battle grounds, with ever changing lines. Individual floors inside of buildings became objectives that changed sides 2 or 3 times per day. Entire command posts were picked up and moved daily as the lines shifted by just one street. It was an ugly affair, and men hoped to never see that type of fighting again.


Enter Aleppo, Syria, the Stalingrad of the 21st century. A battleground that erupted in 2012 as belligerent forces from around the country of Syria decided that it would be the location of their war. Today, it is rumored that over 50,000 men and women are fighting in Aleppo, represented by over 30 individual factions, fighting for one of three sides in the conflict.

In Aleppo, we can easily make comparisons to Stalingrad. The fighting has been raging since 2012, and no one side has really made any significant advances. Lines are ever shifting, and completely fluid. Forces are often caught flat-footed, and cut down by opposing factions as they move street to street. Individual floors inside of building have become objectives that change hands 2 and 3 times a day. Men live and die to secure street corners for just one day longer.


Four excruciating long years the battle in Aleppo has raged. Men and women fight to survive, and kill to achieve victory, while the rest of the world continues about their daily business. Even prospective presidential candidates in the United States, a primary player on the World’s stage, don’t fully grasp and understand the situation. Three fully untrained factions, represented by over 30 individual groups, using weapons that have been left over by a dozen proxy conflicts have been waging war against each other for four years in the same place, and no one has any idea on how we are going to stop it.

Note: Video related: Clashes between two rebel factions in Northern Aleppo. The video is taken from the perspective of Liwa al-Quds, a militia made up of Palestinian refugees, as they fight from a checkpoint on the outskirts of a block that they hold. They are firing approximately two blocks away at another faction of fighters as they have done every day for the past few months. Note the lackadaisical attitude they take towards the fight. This is their every day job, and no one even knows what it is they are fighting for.


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