History has a bad habit of repeating – and some of the darkest days in the Syrian civil war bear a stark resemblance to the murderous regime of Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia.
Remember war lords armed to the teeth raiding the country, massacring hapless civilians caught in the fighting.
Meanwhile, western governments carried out air strikes but failed to move in and tackle the ruthless gangs.
Little seems to have changed as the decades pass except a reluctance of the West to go to war in the Middle East when they were spoiling for a fight in the Balkans.
And while the political showboating changes nothing, innocent men, women and children are dying for no good reason either trying to flee the carnage on the refugee exodus to Europe or in their homes hiding from the killers.
How many have to die?
But Aleppo is no Sarajevo. Government forces may surround the city and bombard the population with artillery, mortars, barrel bombs and air strikes, but the world has turned away from the crisis.
Tens of thousands of civilians have already died in the five-year struggle, but no side has gained an advantage and an end to hostilities looks just as far off today as at any time in the past.
President Assad is still clinging to power with the help of the Russians and refuses to leave Damascus.
So how many people have to die for no reason before the US and Russia step in to end the horror?
No heroes and a lot of villains
Everyone is a villain and there are no good guys in this war.
Government forces, ISIS, the Kurds and various other political groups are all as bad as each other.
If Assad goes, which he must do eventually, Syria will be left with a power vacuum that someone needs to fill.
This is not likely to go well for the civilians if the grab for government goes like the aftermath of civil war in Libya and Iraq.
The civilians probably don’t care who wins as long as the fighting stops.
And without pressure from outside, the chance of a ceasefire that will hold does not appear that likely.