Top of the Morning: Preparing for an Aleppo Massacre; Arms Trade Treaty Negotiations End

Top stories from DAWNS Digest.

Arms Trade Treaty Negotiations End in New York…With a Whimper

The month long negotiations at the UN to offer some regulation on the international sale of conventional arms and armaments formally concludes today. The resulting draft treaty is somewhat less ambitious than many had hoped. “The representatives have produced a text that has been watered down tremendously from the original draft that was produced in March by the Conference’s Preparatory Committee. In that first version, not only was ammunition covered by the Treaty, a provision that the United States has called a red-line and refused to accept, but also the components and materials that make up the weapons listed in the UN Register on Conventional Weapons. While the text expands the scope slightly beyond the Register, to include Small Arms and Light Weapons, it goes nowhere near as far as activists have been pushing for. Indeed, the draft treaty has already been compared to a “leaky bucket” by Oxfam’s Anna MacDonald, and panned as extremely weak and riddled with loopholes by NGOs and academics alike. (UN Dispatch

As Battle for Aleppo Intensifies, Turkey Hints at Intervention

By all measures, this is shaping up to be a terrible and bloody battle over control of Syria’s commercial hub. The city is also near the Turkish border, where Kurdish fighters hostile to both Turkey and Assad have gained control. This is shaping up to be a real mess. “The possibility of a major battle for Aleppo came as Turkey’s prime minister injected a new element of tension into the Syrian conflict, asserting that Syrian forces had abandoned territories close to the Turkish border that have since been occupied by Kurdish militants hostile to Turkey. The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told reporters in Turkey that his country’s armed forces would “take whatever steps are necessary against terrorism” in these areas, foreshadowing possible Turkish military incursions into Syria, similar to Turkey’s incursions into areas of northern Iraq where Kurdish militants have sought sanctuary. Mr. Erdogan’s warning came one day after Turkey sealed its entire 550-mile border with Syria to commercial trade, allowing only Syrian refugees to enter the country. The United Nations has said more than 43,000 Syrians have registered as refugees in Turkey because of the 17-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, more than any other country.” (NYT

Meanwhile…Preparing for a Massacre in Aleppo

From the USA: “The U.S. State Department said credible reports of tank columns moving on Aleppo, along with air strikes by helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, represented a serious escalation of Assad’s efforts to crush a rebellion that began 16 months ago. ‘This is the concern: that we will see a massacre in Aleppo, and that’s what the regime appears to be lining up for,’ State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. Troops stationed on the outskirts of the city unleashed barrages of heavy-calibre mortar rounds on the western neighbourhoods of Saladin, al-Sukkari and al-Fardos, while Russian-built MI-25 helicopter gunships struck al-Sakhour in the east with rockets, opposition activists in the city said.” (AlterNet