Walid Moallem, Syria’s foreign minister, is known both for his ability to almost lazily parry a deluge of questions as well as his trademark languid pace of delivery.
But in a recent meeting in Damascus with a roomful of journalists and analysts, he seemed even more relaxed than usual and began by posing a question, smiling as he delivered each word.
“I will open my first question to you,” Moallem said.
“Who can tell me, why this hysteria in the West because of Aleppo?”
In the past month, pro-government troops have launched a ground invasion to retake the rebel-held enclave in Aleppo, a city divided between the state and the...