Robert Fisk is an extraordinary journalist, mostly retired these days, who is extremely knowledgeable about matters in the Middle East which he has covered so extensively over his career as a journalist. In this piece he reports on conversations he had with Syrian government officers and ordinary citizens of the besieged city of Aleppo, and other pertinent observations such as this:
At least a dozen civilians emerged from their homes, retirees in their 70s, shopkeepers and local businessmen with their families and, unaware that a foreign journalist was watching, put their arms round Syrian troops. One told me he had stayed in his home as "foreign" fighters used his courtyard to fire on government soldiers. "I speak Turkish and most were speaking Turkish but some of the men had long beards and short trousers like the Saudis wear, and had strange Arab accents."