SYRIAN ARMY LIBERATES MORE TOWNS AND VILLAGES IN ALEPPO; HOSTAGES FREED IN LATAKIA; SYRIAN ARMY CRUSHES ATTACK BY ALQAEDA IN LATAKIA

Ziad Fadel

الجيش السوري يسيطر على تلال استراتيجية بحلب بعد معارك عنيفة مع داعش

ALEPPO:

As the SAA continues its preparations to liberate Al-Baab from the stench of ISIS, it has to move in such a way so as to surround the terrorist group, blocking its supply routes and taking high ground.  We have already reported the liberation of ‘Arraan two days ago.  Here are the newest villages, towns and hills liberated as a prelude to the assault on Al-Baab: 

 

Al-‘Uwayshiyya and its hill

Hawwaarat Taadif

Al-Ma’zoola

Beerat Al-Baab 

Al-Beera Farms

Toomaan

Dayr Qaaq

Al-Shamaawiyya and its hills

 

As I write, the SAA’s engineers are dismantling whole networks of mines and IEDs planted by the terrorist group.  All evidence points to Turkish supply of the devices to the ISIS savages.

_________________________________________________

LATAKIA:

KInsibba:  An attack mounted by terrorists entering Syria from Hatay Province (now ruled by the oppressive Turks) came in 3 prongs.  The rats belonged to Nusra/Alqaeda, Liwaa` Ahraar Al-Saahil and Liwaa` Al-Sultaan ‘Abdul-Hameed.  The last group is totally controlled by Turkish MIT terrorism enablers as you can tell by their name which extols the incompetent Ottoman idiot ‘Abdul-Hameed II.  The attack, while vicious and well-planned, met with fierce resistance by the Syrian Army and its allies.  The foray, aimed at Kinsibba, Hussayn Al-Raa’iy and Al-Qal’ah, was blunted and the rodents slipped back to Turkey with scores of casualties.

_________________________________________________

NEWS AND COMMENT:

President Assad’s interview with Yahoo News with the usual Western spin analysis.  You get to see the entire interview on video also:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/exclusive-defiant-assad-tells-yahoo-news-torture-report-is-fake-news-100042667.html

Read about the suffering of Syrian hostages held for 3 and 1/2 years.  From Intibah Kadi:

http://intibahwakeup.blogspot.com/2013/10/ogarite-dandaches-august-2013.html
Read more 

Photo sent by Waf Halabi and Latif Mohammed

الرئيس الأسد والسيدة عقيلته يستقبلان عشرات النساء والأطفال الذين تم تحريرهم قبل مجموعات إرهابية

 

Hostages being greeted by family members in Latakia

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The end of the lie of the Syrian opposition نهاية كذبة المعارضة السورية

The end of the lie of the Syrian opposition

Written by Nasser Kandil,

فبراير 7, 2017

It is enough to compare the words of the UN Envoy Steffan De Mistura before the Security Council last night with his previous positions toward the war in Syria and what was entitled the Syrian opposition and the formulas of the political solution to announce the end of the lie. De Mistura who always refused any interference in forming the negotiating opposition delegation to Geneva leaving the task to Istanbul Council, and the coalition of Doha and later to Riyadh Conference according to the changes in the structure which is formed by the operators of the decision of the war on Syria said either the opposition will succeed in forming a delegation that represents all the formations, or I will myself form the unified delegation for representation, then he said that Iran is a partner in the political process and a guarantor of its success and the cease-fire, while Russia is a key player in political solution-making and terminating the fighting. But regarding the transitional body which was foreshadowed by Geneva I and was adopted by De Mistura against any speech about a unified national government, De Mistura said that the subject of the political solution is government, constitution, and elections.

De Mistura has not changed, but the circumstances, the countries, and the war changed. The formations of the armed opposition which were hiding under the name of the Free Army and have disguised the presence of Al Nusra front among them to enlarge their size and the area of their geographic dominance and to employ Al Nusra to impose political speech that meets the goals of the disintegration of Syria, weakening it and overthrowing its president and its army according to what was decided under the American, Turkish Saudi and Israeli consensus, were defeated in the most important battle which its operators were ready for it, it was the crucial battle of Aleppo which what came after it was not as what preceded it. Neither America not Turkey are partners in the bet of the war after it, neither Saudi Arabia nor Israel have an alternative for the US political and military cover and for the Turkish neighborhood and depth. The factions which were driven to Astana are the scandal of the hypocrite secular speech of the Supreme Commission for negotiation in which numbers of the speakers with ties and fabricated civil language were gathered. In Astana there were Muslim Brotherhood Wahhabi factions having the same breads like their leaders and their rhetoric, in addition to their concern about the relationship with Al Nusra. Now after Astana where there is no presence for the Free Army in any Syrian geography , and after the war in the northern of Syria has resolved the matter between Ahrar Al Sham and Al Nusra front, and where the factions are distributed between them, and where in the southern of Syria and its center there are settlements and reconciliations and the decay of the remnants of the Free Army, so where is the opposition , it is just a fantasy as was described one day by the Former US President Barack Obama.

The Syrian President and the Syrian army are from the axioms of the image of the new map of the Middle East in the war on terrorism and what is after it. The US Russian understanding which is expressed by raids on ISIS and Al Nusra in partnership is based on the return to the countries which the basis of their stability is the powerful armies in security, politics, and strategy especially the central countries as Egypt and Syria, where the democratic game is confined with their internal affairs in order to ensure the higher degree of the social peace among the ethnic, sectarian, class, social, and cultural components without exposing the unity of the countries to instability. The six years-war which was waged to change Syria, to destroy it and to dismantle it and perhaps to divide it ended and was replaced by a war of terminating the terrorism which brought by the first war as a partner and an ally, but has become a burden and a threat. The task of cease-fire and the political solution in Syria is the stage of the transition between the two wars not between two regimes or two presidents. The nature of the task has become known by De Mistura.

 Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

نهاية كذبة المعارضة السورية

فبراير 1, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– يكفي كلام المبعوث الأممي ستيفان دي ميستورا أمام مجلس الأمن ليل أمس، مقارنة بمواقفه السابقة من الحرب في سورية وعليها، وممّا سُمّي بالمعارضة السورية وصيغ الحل السياسي، لإعلان نهاية الكذبة. فقد قال دي ميتسورا الذي رفض دائماً أي تدخل في تشكيل وفد المعارضة التفاوضي إلى جنيف تاركاً المهمة لمجلس اسطنبول وائتلاف الدوحة ولاحقاً مؤتمر الرياض، طبقاً لتحوّلات الجسم الذي يشكله مشغلو قرار الحرب على سورية، ليقول إما تنجح المعارضة بتشكيل وفد يمثل كلّ الأطياف أو سأقوم أنا بتشكيل الوفد الموحّد، ثم يقول إنّ إيران شريك في العملية السياسية وضامن نجاحها وتثبيت وقف النار، وإنّ روسيا لاعب رئيس في صناعة الحلّ السياسي وإنهاء القتال، وعن الهيئة الانتقالية التي بشر بها بيان جنيف واحد وطالما نادى بها دي ميستورا بوجه أي كلام عن حكومة وحدة وطنية، يقول دي ميستورا الأمر في الحلّ السياسي عنوانه حكومة ودستور وانتخابات.

– ليس دي ميستورا الذي تغيّر بل الظروف والدول والحرب، فتشكيلات المعارضة المسلحة التي كانت تختبئ تحت اسم الجيش الحر وتموّه وجود جبهة النصرة ضمنها لتضخيم حجمها، ومساحة سيطرتها الجغرافية، وتوظيف النصرة لفرض خطاب سياسي يلبّي أهداف تفكيك سورية وإضعافها وإسقاط رئيسها وجيشها، وفقاً لما كان مرسوماً بالتوافق الأميركي التركي السعودي «الإسرائيلي»، هُزمت في أم المعارك التي استعدّ لها كل مشغّليها وكانت موقعة حلب الفصل، الذي بعده ليس كما قبله، فلا أميركا ولا تركيا شريكان في رهان الحرب بعدها، ولا السعودية و«إسرائيل» تملكان بديلاً للتغطية السياسية والعسكرية الأميركية، وللجوار والعمق التركيين، والفصائل المسحوبة من شعر رأسها إلى أستانة فضيحة الخطاب العلماني المنافق للهيئة العليا للتفاوض التي جمع فيها عدد من المتحدثين بربطات عنق ولغة مدنية ملفّقة، ففي أستانة فصائل وهابية إخوانية بلحى قادتهم وخطابهم وقلقهم على العلاقة مع النصرة، وها هم بعد أستانة حيث لا بقعة من جغرافية سورية يوجد فيها شيء اسمه الجيش الحرّ، وحرب الشمال السوري حسمت الأمر بين أحرار الشام وجبهة النصرة وقسمت الفصائل بينهما ولا ثالث. وفي جنوب سورية ووسطها تسويات ومصالحات، واضمحلال لبقايا الجيش الحر. فأين هي المعارضة، غير الفانتازيا التي استعملها لوصفها بها ذات يوم صدق نادر تحدّث خلاله الرئيس الأميركي السابق باراك اوباما.

– الرئيس السوري والجيش السوري من مسلّمات صورة الخريطة الجديدة للشرق الأوسط في الحرب على الإرهاب وما بعدها، والتفاهم الروسي الأميركي الذي يترجم في غارات ستهداف داعش والنصرة بالتشارك، يقوم على العودة إلى دول قاعدة استقرارها الجيوش القوية في الأمن والسياسة والاستراتيجيا، خصوصاً في الدولتين المركزيتين مصر وسورية، وتنحصر اللعبة الديمقراطية فيها بالشؤون الداخلية، لتوفير أعلى قدر من السلم الاجتماعي بين المكوّنات الإتنية والعرقية والطبقية والاجتماعية والثقافية من دون تعريض وحدة الدول للاهتزاز، وحرب السنوات الست التي خيضت لتغيير سورية، وتدميرها وتفكيكها وربما تقسيمها، انتهت وحلّت مكانها حرب تصفية الإرهاب الذي جاءت به الحرب الأولى شريكاً وحليفاً وصار عبئاً وخطراً، ومهمة وقف النار والحل السياسي في سورية ليست إلا مرحلة الانتقال بين الحربين وليس بين نظامين، أو رئيسين، ودي ميستورا بات يعلم طبيعة المهمة.

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  • نهاية كذبة المعارضة السورية

    فبراير 1, 2017

    ناصر قنديل

    – يكفي كلام المبعوث الأممي ستيفان دي ميستورا أمام مجلس الأمن ليل أمس، مقارنة بمواقفه السابقة من الحرب في سورية وعليها، وممّا سُمّي بالمعارضة السورية وصيغ الحل السياسي، لإعلان نهاية الكذبة. فقد قال دي ميتسورا الذي رفض دائماً أي تدخل في تشكيل وفد المعارضة التفاوضي إلى جنيف تاركاً المهمة لمجلس اسطنبول وائتلاف الدوحة ولاحقاً مؤتمر الرياض، طبقاً لتحوّلات الجسم الذي يشكله مشغلو قرار الحرب على سورية، ليقول إما تنجح المعارضة بتشكيل وفد يمثل كلّ الأطياف أو سأقوم أنا بتشكيل الوفد الموحّد، ثم يقول إنّ إيران شريك في العملية السياسية وضامن نجاحها وتثبيت وقف النار، وإنّ روسيا لاعب رئيس في صناعة الحلّ السياسي وإنهاء القتال، وعن الهيئة الانتقالية التي بشر بها بيان جنيف واحد وطالما نادى بها دي ميستورا بوجه أي كلام عن حكومة وحدة وطنية، يقول دي ميستورا الأمر في الحلّ السياسي عنوانه حكومة ودستور وانتخابات.

    – ليس دي ميستورا الذي تغيّر بل الظروف والدول والحرب، فتشكيلات المعارضة المسلحة التي كانت تختبئ تحت اسم الجيش الحر وتموّه وجود جبهة النصرة ضمنها لتضخيم حجمها، ومساحة سيطرتها الجغرافية، وتوظيف النصرة لفرض خطاب سياسي يلبّي أهداف تفكيك سورية وإضعافها وإسقاط رئيسها وجيشها، وفقاً لما كان مرسوماً بالتوافق الأميركي التركي السعودي «الإسرائيلي»، هُزمت في أم المعارك التي استعدّ لها كل مشغّليها وكانت موقعة حلب الفصل، الذي بعده ليس كما قبله، فلا أميركا ولا تركيا شريكان في رهان الحرب بعدها، ولا السعودية و«إسرائيل» تملكان بديلاً للتغطية السياسية والعسكرية الأميركية، وللجوار والعمق التركيين، والفصائل المسحوبة من شعر رأسها إلى أستانة فضيحة الخطاب العلماني المنافق للهيئة العليا للتفاوض التي جمع فيها عدد من المتحدثين بربطات عنق ولغة مدنية ملفّقة، ففي أستانة فصائل وهابية إخوانية بلحى قادتهم وخطابهم وقلقهم على العلاقة مع النصرة، وها هم بعد أستانة حيث لا بقعة من جغرافية سورية يوجد فيها شيء اسمه الجيش الحرّ، وحرب الشمال السوري حسمت الأمر بين أحرار الشام وجبهة النصرة وقسمت الفصائل بينهما ولا ثالث. وفي جنوب سورية ووسطها تسويات ومصالحات، واضمحلال لبقايا الجيش الحر. فأين هي المعارضة، غير الفانتازيا التي استعملها لوصفها بها ذات يوم صدق نادر تحدّث خلاله الرئيس الأميركي السابق باراك اوباما.

    – الرئيس السوري والجيش السوري من مسلّمات صورة الخريطة الجديدة للشرق الأوسط في الحرب على الإرهاب وما بعدها، والتفاهم الروسي الأميركي الذي يترجم في غارات ستهداف داعش والنصرة بالتشارك، يقوم على العودة إلى دول قاعدة استقرارها الجيوش القوية في الأمن والسياسة والاستراتيجيا، خصوصاً في الدولتين المركزيتين مصر وسورية، وتنحصر اللعبة الديمقراطية فيها بالشؤون الداخلية، لتوفير أعلى قدر من السلم الاجتماعي بين المكوّنات الإتنية والعرقية والطبقية والاجتماعية والثقافية من دون تعريض وحدة الدول للاهتزاز، وحرب السنوات الست التي خيضت لتغيير سورية، وتدميرها وتفكيكها وربما تقسيمها، انتهت وحلّت مكانها حرب تصفية الإرهاب الذي جاءت به الحرب الأولى شريكاً وحليفاً وصار عبئاً وخطراً، ومهمة وقف النار والحل السياسي في سورية ليست إلا مرحلة الانتقال بين الحربين وليس بين نظامين، أو رئيسين، ودي ميستورا بات يعلم طبيعة المهمة.

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Coverage of Aleppo: a new low in the mainstream media’s integrity

A general view taken with a drone shows the Old City of Aleppo and Aleppo's historic citadel, Syria October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail/File Photo - RTSV11Y

Old City of Aleppo and Aleppo’s historic citadel, Syria October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail/


By Bas Spliet, Submitted by Bas Spliet
Scrutinised Minds, 3/2/2017

Remember Aleppo? Close to two months have now passed since the eastern part of Syria’s largest pre-war city was retaken by the government. Peace has returned to the ancient city, the jihadis and their sympathisers have been evacuated to rebel-held parts of the country, and negotiations between the government and the armed opposition under the auspices of Russia, Iran and Turkey are ongoing. The mainstream media, however, is suddenly relatively silent. Perhaps they don’t want you to know what life under rebel occupation must have been like. In this article, I offer a comprehensive analysis of the mass media’s war-time coverage of Aleppo, with emphasis on what they described as its “fall” in December 2016.

Unreliable sources and undocumented allegations

When Cartman and Stan broke the world’s largest beaver dam in the ninth season of South Park, it caused the town of Beaverton to flood. Standing 10 miles outside of the destroyed city, unable to get in, reporter Mitch explained the situation inside the city to news anchor Tom:

Mitch: “We have not any reports of fatalities yet, but we believe that the death toll may be in the hundreds of millions; Beaverton only has a population of 8.000, Tom, so this would be quite devastating.”

Tom: “Any word on how the survivors in the town are doing, Mitch?”

Mitch: “We’re not sure what exactly is going on inside the town of Beaverton, Tom, but we’re reporting that there is looting, raping, and yes, even acts of cannibalism.”

Tom: “My god, you’ve actually seen people looting, raping and eating each other?”

Mitch: “No. No, we haven’t actually seen it, Tom, we’re just reporting it.”[1]

At first glance, it might seem odd and even perverse to link this South Park scene to the mass media’s coverage of the real-life war-torn city of Aleppo. The similarities, however, are striking. Just like in the above-mentioned clip, the mainstream media has almost no reporters on the ground in Aleppo, let alone in Syria, as its correspondents almost exclusively report from Lebanon or Turkey. The Western press therefore has to rely on their usual compromised sources, such as the White Helmets, an obscure Western-funded NGO infamous for being armed and partial contrary to their own claims, spokespeople from Nour al-Din al-Zinki – infamous for decapitating a 12-year-old Palestinian boy with a small knife – and other Western-backed “moderate rebel” groups, and a handful of other “journalists,” “activists” and “doctors” embedded with the insurgents (the primary sources of many documented fabrications)[2] who sent out their “final videos” when the Syrian army was closing in on east Aleppo, implying that they were awaiting an imminent genocide. The Daily Beast went as far as including allegations circulating in rebel chat forums in its reporting.[3]

Claims coming from these “reliable” sources that the Western press eagerly reported on without much scrutiny include the estimation of 100.000 trapped civilians in only “a few streets, a few blocks, maybe a neighbourhood,”[4] bombs falling at a ratio of 10 per minute,[5] more than 100 unattended children being trapped in a building amid attacks by the Syrian army,[6] the Syrian army and pro-government militias executing more than 180 people after taking over rebel-held neighbourhoods,[7] the streets lying “full of dead bodies,” government forces capturing the remaining food supplies, women and children being “cooked alive by barrel bombs,” and “the conquerors of Aleppo” raping in the course of their “Assadist blitzkrieg,” prompting numerous women to kill themselves in order to escape rape.[8] None of these claims were accompanied by evidence.[9]

The UN OHCHR High Commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, too, alleged from “reports” that pro-government forces might have killed 82 civilians. Again, it was the Western press that distorted Zeid’s words and presented the undocumented allegation as a fact, however. The BBC claimed that “Syrian pro-government forces in eastern Aleppo have been killing people, including women and children, on the spot in their homes and on the street, the United Nations says,”[10] while the UN never said such a thing. The only thing that Zeid (who, it should be noted, is a prince of the Jordanian monarchy, which is heavily involved in the war against Syria) said, was that he had “reports.” Furthermore, when Rupert Colville, the Commissioner’s spokesperson, was asked which forces would be involved in these executions, it became pretty clear how substantiated this claim is:

I can’t say who has done all of them, but we understand that at least one Iraqi militia was involved. We’ve heard of killings of civilians in this way in four different locations, so it may well be different forces involved.”[11] (emphasis added)

Compare this to the OHCHR-linked Commission of Inquiry on Syria, which also received “allegations” the next day of opposition groups, including Ahrar al-Sham, “preventing civilians from leaving as well as opposition fighters embedding themselves within the civilian population, thus heightening the risk to civilians of being killed or injured.”[12] While the Commissioner’s statement found its way to headlines across the world, these warnings have been swept under the rug by the mainstream media. The latter, however, follows an existing pattern,[13] while to date, no evidence or even a source of the former claim has been put forward.

Reminding us of the Iraqi and Libyan opposition’s numerous undocumented and later disproven allegations that the Western press uncritically reported on in concert at the time, the Independent’s Patrick Cockburn stated:

“Experience shows that foreign reporters are quite right not to trust their lives even to the most moderate of the armed opposition inside Syria. But, strangely enough, the same media organisations continue to put their trust in the veracity of information coming out of areas under the control of these same potential kidnappers and hostage takers. They would probably defend themselves by saying they rely on non-partisan activists, but all the evidence is that these can only operate in east Aleppo under license from the al-Qaeda-type groups. It is inevitable that an opposition movement fighting for its life in wartime will only produce, or allow to be produced by others, information that is essentially propaganda for its own side.”[14]

In another article, Cockburn reiterates:

“By kidnapping and killing [foreign journalists], it is easy to create a vacuum of information that is great in demand and will, in future, be supplied by informants sympathetic to or at the mercy of the very same people (in this case the jihadi rulers of east Aleppo) who have kept out the foreign journalists. Killing or abducting the latter turns out to have been a smart move by the jihadis because it enabled them to establish substantial control of news reaching the outside world.”[15]

Then again, as this situation plays right into the hands of the US-NATO interventionists, we have to ask ourselves to what extent this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. As the imperialists and their regional proxies (Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey in particular) continue to supply both Syrian and foreign jihadis with weapons, finances and training while knowing full well the nature of these insurgents, it would be naive to think that the jihadi media monopoly was not the intended outcome. Moreover, NATO has been able to exert considerable influence in the propaganda that is exported to the West, not only through funding but also by providing special “media training” to the very same “rebel activists” that are the primordial disinformation agents in sustaining the false narrative.[16] Most notably, the French government and the EU funded the notorious Aleppo Media Center,[17] and, in addition to George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, the US, the UK and some other countries have made large contributions to the White Helmets, an opposition-linked NGO established by a former British intelligence officer.[18] Not surprisingly, both organisations continuously blame the Syrian government for everything, just like NATO, and tirelessly call for a Libya-style no-fly zone, just like NATO.

The suppressed voices: Aleppo’s citizenry

Reaffirming its methodology of reporting on the war in Syria, the mass media is relying almost exclusively on the unverified accounts of a handful of obscure sources representing only a tiny minority of Aleppo’s population, implying that their view of seeing the Syrian government not just as the primary, but as the sole culprit of all the dead and devastation surrounding them is shared by most of Aleppo’s citizens. Yet, the two other parts of the Aleppo citizenry, both much greater in number, are ignored by the mainstream media.

First of all, we have to take into account that Aleppo has been artificially divided for the last four and a half years as a result of the war. The historical order of the city was restored by the reunification of its eastern and western parts. The population of the west – estimated at 1.5 million, several times higher than that of the east – is therefore significant to the story. Yet, while the Western press constantly quoted “activists” in east Aleppo, it failed to listen to what west Aleppans had to say about the situation in their city. Certainly the well-oiled propaganda machine would have brought demonstrations mourning the “fall” of east Aleppo to our attention, if there were any. Not only had opposition-linked social media none of the sort to offer their imperialist funders, but the absolute opposite happened when it became clear that the army’s seizure of east Aleppo was imminent. Indeed, many west Aleppo citizens took to the streets to celebrate, not decry, the government’s retaking of east Aleppo while waving not rebel-backed Free Syrian Army flags, but official ones.[19]

Second, and even more important, are the civilians that fled to government-controlled areas. According to UN[20] and Red Cross[21] estimates, 34.000 to 35.000 people have been evacuated to rebel-held Idlib. Take in mind that although these undoubtedly include some unarmed civilians, they are mostly made up of thousands of fighters and their families, as hinted by UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura.[22] As the media consistently claimed (and probably exaggerated to some extent) that there were at least 250.000 civilians trapped in east Aleppo for the last few months, this means that a much larger amount of east Aleppans have flocked to government-controlled areas. Indeed, according to the Russian Reconciliation Center,[23] more than 100.000 civilians (including over 40.000 children) had left the eastern part of the city by 12 December, when fighting was still ongoing. When we listen to the stories of these refugees, it becomes clear why the mass media chose to ignore what they had to say.

First and foremost, long-time Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk interviewed one of the very first Muslim families that fled eastern Aleppo during a ceasefire a couple of weeks before the final advance of the Syrian army:

“The father had just been told that his brother was to be executed by the rebels because he crossed the frontline with his wife and son. He condemned the rebels for closing the schools and putting weapons close to hospitals. And he was no pro-regime stooge; he even admired Isis for their good behaviour in the early days of the siege.”[24]

Andrew Ashdown, a British Anglican priest, visited east Aleppo and the centre for internally displaced persons at Jibreen on 14 December, emphasising that the Syrian authorities did not receive prior notice of his visit. I could not but cite a large chunk of his account:

“The sense of relief amongst the thousands of refugees is palpable. All were keen to talk [and] all said the same thing. They said that they had been living in fear. They reported that the fighters have been telling everyone that the Syrian Army would kill anyone who fled to the West, but had killed many themselves who tried to leave – men, women and children. One woman broke down in tears as she told how one of her sons was killed by the rebels a few days ago, and another kidnapped. They also killed anyone who showed signs of supporting the Government. The refugees said that the ‘rebels’ told them that only those who support them are ‘true Muslims’, and that everyone else are ‘infidels’ and deserve to die.

They told us they had been given very little food: that any aid that reached the area was mostly refused to them or sold at exorbitant prices. Likewise, most had been given no medical treatment. […] Most of the refugees said they had had members of their families killed by the rebels and consistently spoke of widespread murder, torture, rape and kidnap by the rebels. […] They all said they were glad to be out and to be free. All the refugees without exception were visibly without exception clearly profoundly relieved and happy to be free.”[25]

This may sound absurd if you consistently relied on the mainstream media for the last few months. None of the stories of other journalists and travellers that have visited Aleppo, including US congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, contradict Ashdown’s account, however.[26] All recorded testimonies of east Aleppo residents speak of the unimaginably barbaric behaviour of the insurgents, and no one relinquishes “moderates” from this inhumane activity. As a matter of fact, the residents themselves don’t seem to make a distinction between “extremist” terrorists and “moderate” rebels. The discrepancy between the narrative of the Western press and that of the people who are actually living through this is just mind-boggling. Vanessa Beeley, for instance, visited east Aleppo on 11 December and interviewed a woman from Hanano, who said, among other things, that one woman told the insurgents she wanted to leave, after which they shot her in the mouth.[27] Most tellingly, though, Bolivian-American actress and filmmaker Carla Ortiz, who spent eight months in Syria working on a documentary called Voice of Syria, somehow found her way to a CNN studio to share what east Aleppo residents told her:

“[They told me] how they were starved, how they were deprived from education, how, if they would dare to cross to the other side the terrorists would kill them, how little girls are […] sexually abused. […] They say for them it’s just Daesh [ISIS]; they don’t care if it’s a rebel or Free Syrian Army [fighter].”[28]

It should be noted that, contrary to the situation in rebel-held areas, the Syrian government does not have a full-scale monopoly on news in areas under its control. In a rare instance for the Western press, the BBC even had a correspondent on the ground during the final stages of fighting in Aleppo. As the BBC has been trying to demonise the Syrian government at every turn for the last five years (including manipulating, and most likely even fabricating, video evidence of alleged chemical warfare by the Syrian army),[29] you would expect its correspondent, Lyse Doucet, to find as many civilian accounts as possible to corroborate the undocumented allegations of government atrocities. Surely she could have easily countered all the above-mentioned stories if they would tell only half of the story, as she talked to many refugees from east Aleppo. When going through her reporting, however, none of the sort is to be found. Moreover, although she clearly tries to bend the issue as much as possible to the “both sides are equally bad” narrative, it looks like she only managed to find seemingly pro-government families to talk to. Indeed, in two separate videos, a woman and children are filmed praising Assad, the army and the government.[30]

In context: coverage of Aleppo during the war on Syria

By now, it has become quite clear that most media coverage of the reunification of Aleppo is the absolute antithesis of the reality on the ground. But what about the last four and a half years, was there ever any objectivity in the major news outlets’ reports?

Aleppo was Syria’s largest city before the war and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. According to the dominant narrative, Aleppo rose up against the dictatorial Syrian government in July-August 2012, paving the way for pro-democracy fighters to liberate the ancient city. Yet, by the end of August, when the “revolutionaries” had taken control of much of the city, a rebel commander admitted to the Guardian that the overwhelming majority of the Aleppo citizenry was pro-government:

“Around 70% of Aleppo city is with the regime. It has always been that way. The countryside is with us and the city is with them. We are saying that we will only be here as long as it takes to get the job done, to get rid of the Assads. After that, we will leave and they can build the city that they want.”[31]

Taking this into account, the word “uprising” seems inapplicable. Indeed, as acknowledged by India’s then ambassador to Syria, it was pretty clear that the people in Aleppo did not want to take part in the armed rebellion’s so-called revolution:

“Aleppo remained calm and this troubled the [armed] opposition greatly. The opposition couldn’t get the people in Aleppo to rise up against the regime so they sent bus loads of people to Aleppo. These people would burn something on the streets and leave. Journalists would then broadcast this saying Aleppo had risen.”[32]

Rather than an internal revolt, the armed opposition invaded the city in convoy trucks coming from the north.[33] The BBC’s Ian Pannell even rode in with the militants into Aleppo, admitting in his otherwise twisted report (the scenes of which look an awful lot like what the Indian diplomat described above) that “many fear what they are really seeing is an Islamic takeover.”[34]

And so the eastern part of Syria’s financial and industrial centre fell to the Islamist insurgents. In the next few years, media attention mainly moved to other parts of Syria, and Aleppo remained divided. Media hysteria stirred up again in 2016, conveniently around the time it became clear that the Syrian army was slowly gaining the upperhand. Opposition-linked social media often went into overdrive, making up countless false stories and producing a myriad of undocumented allegations of government atrocities, which were then eagerly adopted by the Western press.[35] In July temporarily, and in September permanently, the army finally managed to encircle rebel-held east Aleppo, thus imposing a siege. This provoked unilateral outrage among Western officials, totally neglecting the fact that they have either been directly responsible for or supportive of numerous other inhumane siege-like situations in the region – from the years-long devastating sieges of the al-Qaeda-affiliated militants on the villages of Foua, Kafraya, Nubl and Zahraa in Syria, to the vast humanitarian crises and hundreds of civilian deaths resulting from the US military campaigns to drive Daesh (ISIS) out of Mosul, Manbij, Fallujah and many other Iraqi and Syrian cities, to similar past and present sieges in the Middle East such as the US siege on Iraq that left 500.000 children dead according to UN estimates or the US Navy-backed blockade on Yemen’s ports, not to mention the crippling Israeli blockade on the Gaza strip, and last but not least, to the catastrophic economic sanctions imposed by the US and the EU on the whole of the Syrian people, some of which were installed well ahead of the eruption of violence in 2011.[36]

Now that they are driven out of Aleppo, the true face of the insurgents is emerging, and the fake narrative propagated by the mainstream media is falling apart. Reports of Syrian and Russian troops finding mass graves with bodies showing signs of torture and mutilation confirms the accounts of civilians who have lived under the jihadi occupation.[37] This does not mean that the West’s leading news producers could not have known the real story of Aleppo prior to its seizure by the army, however. They downplayed as much as they could the fact that these Western- and Gulf-equipped so-called revolutionaries killed hundreds of civilians by indiscriminately shelling urban parts of west Aleppo on an almost daily basis during the whole of 2016, leaving UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura “appalled and shocked” of the rebels’ usage of disproportionate weapons.[38]

While the Western press seized every opportunity to smear pro-government forces by persistently giving a platform to undocumented claims of the same “rebel activists” known for their numerous lies, it remained silent when the jihadis shot at civilians trying to leave.[39] While the picture of Omran Daqneesh, the (supposedly) wounded toddler in the ambulance, made it to almost all front pages across the globe, the story of 12-year-old Abdullah Issa, who was beheaded by the US-backed “moderate rebels” of Nour al-Din al-Zinki, remains largely untold. While the mainstream media cried crocodile tears every time the jihadis claimed that Russian or Syrian air strikes leveled the “last hospital” in east Aleppo, it ignored refugee accounts that denounced the rebels for depriving them of education and medical treatment. While the press decried the alleged death of the “last pediatrician” in an attack on the makeshift al-Quds hospital (which did almost certainly not even happen), it ignored accounts of real doctors in Aleppo refuting the mainstream media lies.[40] Instead of listening to the few civilians that managed to flee east Aleppo prior to the final advance of the army in December,[41] the mainstream media kept relying solely on “activists” embedded with the Islamists, thereby prolonging the suffering of the Syrian people by convincing Western policy makers, and much of the world by extension, that rebel successes must be cheered upon. And thus, when the outside world mourned the fall of Aleppo, Syrians celebrated its liberation.

Conclusion

While the corporate press is now labelling everything not in accordance with its own coverage as “fake news,” this article has made it pretty clear who the chiefs of deception really are. One must not underestimate the power of the fourth branch of the government. If it serves not as a critical examinator of government policies but instead as its purveyor and mouthpiece and at the same time is still regarded as “pluralistic and free,” a very dangerous cocktail of propaganda emerges. The masses could then be convinced into supporting wars of aggression, which is exactly what happened in the lead up to the military campaigns against Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam. What makes you think this is any different?


RELATED BY THE SAME AUTHOR:

THE PROXY WAR ON SYRIA

the-proxy-war-on-syria

https://scrutinisedminds.com/category/the-proxy-war-on-syria/


Notes

[1] “Southpark – we are just reporting it,” Youtube channel of PeanutButterFingers, 26.05.2014, consulted on 15.12.2016, http://youtube.com/watch?v=Zd0p96miSK8.

[2] Many documented examples are mentioned in part 3 and 4 of my The proxy war on Syria series: Bas Spliet, “The proxy war on Syria – part 3: Does Assad ‘kill his own people?’ Deconstructing the ‘Assad must go’ narrative,” Scrutinised Minds, 13.12.2016, https://scrutinisedminds.com/2016/12/13/the-proxy-war-on-syria-part-3-does-assad-kill-his-own-people-deconstructing-the-assad-must-go-narrative/; Bas Spliet, “The proxy war on Syria – part 4: The export of disinformation,” Scrutinised Minds, 20.12.2016, https://scrutinisedminds.com/2016/12/20/the-proxy-war-on-syria-part-4-the-export-of-disinformation/.

[3] Michael Weiss, Roy Gutman and Alex Powell, “Women in Aleppo choose suicide over rape, rebels report,” The Daily Beast, 13.12.2016, http://.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/12/12/last-rebels-in-aleppo-say-assad-forces-are-burning-people-alive.html.

[4] “Estimated 100,000 civilians still trapped in  Aleppo,” CNN, 13.12.2016, http://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2016/12/13/crisis-as-syrian-troops-advance-pleitgen-lkl.cnn.

[5] “Aleppo resident: ‘nowhere to go’ as bombs interrupt interview,” BBC, 14.12.2016, http://bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38315465.

[6] May Bulman, “Aleppo: more than 100 children in building under heavy attack, says Unicef,” The Independent, 13.12.2016, http://independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/aleppo-children-trapped-syria-civil-war-unaccompanied-unicef-eastern-a7472506.html.

[7] Jack Khoury, “Aleppo: massacre reported as Syrian army presses assault on last rebel holdout,” Haaretz, 13.12.2016, http://haaretz.com/middle-east-news/syria/1.758513.

[8] Weis, Gutman and Powell, “Women in Aleppo choose suicide over rape.”

[9] Following a long pattern throughout this war, fake images and images falsely attributed to Aleppo have also circulated widely on social media. For the most part, however, the mainstream media was wise enough not to jump on that bandwagon. For some examples, see “Fake ‘Aleppo genocide’ pics spread online amid new calls for ‘humanitarian’ war on Syria,” Mintpress News, 20.12.2016, http://.mintpressnews.com/fake-aleppo-genocide-pics-spread-amid-new-calls-for-war-on-syria/223306/; “Fake images about Aleppo circulate on social media, France 24, 15.12.2016, http://observers.france24.com/en/20161215-fake-images-aleppo-social-media.

[10] “Aleppo battle: UN says civilians shot on the spot,” BBC, 13.12.2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38301629.

[11] “‘Assad tue des civils’: un responsable de l’ONU accuse, mais, penaud, ne peut rien prouver,” Youtube-channel of RT France, 16.12.2016, consulted on 21.12.2016, http://youtube.com/watch?v=Up3ZPoautDo.

[12] “Statement by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic on the situation of civilians affected by the capture of Aleppo,” UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 14.12.2016, http://ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21031&LangID=E.

[13] Bas Spliet, “The proxy war on Syria – part 2: The two myths about the armed opposition,” Scrutinised Minds, 06.12.2016, https://scrutinisedminds.com/2016/12/06/the-proxy-war-on-syria-part-2-the-two-myths-about-the-armed-opposition/; also acknowledged in the past by the pro-rebel Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: “Calls grow for Syrian government to end Aleppo siege,” The Daily Star, 29.07.2016, http://dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2016/Jul-29/364570-calls-grow-for-syria-government-to-end-aleppo-siege.ashx.

[14] Patrick Cockburn, “This is why everything you’ve read about the wars in Syria and Iraq could be wrong,” The Independent, 02.12.2016, http://.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-aleppo-iraq-mosul-isis-middle-east-conflict-assad-war-everything-youve-read-could-be-wrong-a7451656.html.

[15] Patrick Cockburn, “There’s more propaganda than news coming out of Aleppo this week,” The Independent, 17.12.2016, http://independent.co.uk/voices/aleppo-crisis-syrian-war-bashar-al-assad-isis-more-propaganda-than-news-a7479901.html.

[16] “Syria – killing journos enabled ‘media activist’ domination – intended effect?”, Moon of Alabama, 19.12.2016, http://moonofalabama.org/2016/12/unconventional-warfare-killing-journalists-creates-media-activist-domination.html#more.

[17] Vanessa Beeley, “‘Aleppo Media Center’ funded by French Foreign Office, EU and US,” 21st Century Wire, 20.09.2016, http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/09/20/exclusive-aleppo-media-centre-funded-by-french-foreign-office-eu-and-us/.

[18] Brandon Turbeville, “White Helmets NGO: a ‘rescue and assist’ operation under the guise of human rights,” Mintpress News, 11.05.2016, http://mintpressnews.com/white-helmets-ngo-rescue-assist-operation-guise-human-rights/216324/.

[19] Clearly visible in video’s presented by RT, Press TV and Reuters: “Street celebrations in Aleppo on news of Syrian  army retaking east of city – RT reporter,” RT, 12.12.2016, http://rt.com/news/370084-aleppo-liberation-reports-celebrations/; “Celebrations in Aleppo after its full liberation,” Youtube-channel of Press TV News Videos, 22.12.2016, consulted on 24.12.2016, http://youtube.com/watch?v=Cgh6wcqQamM; “Celebrating victory in Aleppo,” Reuters, 22.12.2016, http://reuters.com/video/2016/12/22/celebrating-victory-in-aleppo?videoId=370787914. Also acknowledged by the pro-rebel Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (according to which, celebrations erupted in several cities), al-Jazeera, the Daily Mail and International Business Times: “Celebrations of ‘Aleppo victory’ in cities and areas controlled by the regime forces,” Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 23.12.2016, http://syriahr.com/en/?p=57657; “Rebel-held east Aleppo nears collapse,” Al-Jazeera, 13.12.2016, http://aljazeera.com/news/2016/12/rebel-held-east-aleppo-nears-collapse-161212195346604.html; “Merry Christmas in Aleppo (if you’re on the winning side): dozens of Assad loyalists dress up as Santa and ‘celebrate’ in shattered city square,” The Daily Mail, 21.12.2016, http://dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4055526/Merry-Christmas-Aleppo-winning-Dozens-locals-dress-Santa-celebrate-square-enjoy-taste-normality.html; Tom O’Conner, “Christmas in Aleppo: photos, video show Christians celebrate Assad victory in Syria,” International Business Times, 22.12.2016, http://ibtimes.com/christmas-aleppo-photos-video-show-christians-celebrate-assad-victory-syria-2464372.

[20] Ellen Francis, “Syrian army announces victory in Aleppo in boost for Assad,” Reuters, 22.12.2016, http://reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-idUSKBN14B1NQ.

[21] “Syria: Aleppo evacuation completed,” Red Cross UK, 23.12.2016, http://redcross.org.uk/About-us/News/2016/December/Syria-Aleppo-evacuation-completed.

[22] John Irish and Alison Williams, “U.N. Syria envoy says rebel city Idlib risks Aleppo fate if no peace talks,” Reuters, 15.12.2016, http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-mideast-crisis-syria-demistura-idUKKBN1442N4.

[23] “Over 100,000 civilians left eastern Aleppo since operation against militants began,” Russian News Agency TASS, 12.12.2016, http://tass.com/world/918621. Note that no other world body or more neutral organisation bothered to estimated the amount of civilians that fled to government-controlled areas. Therefore, I had to resort to the estimation of the Russian Reconciliation Center.

[24] Robert Fisk, “There is more than one truth to tell in the terrible story of Aleppo,” Counterpunch, 14.12.2016, http://counterpunch.org/2016/12/14/there-is-more-than-one-truth-to-tell-in-the-terrible-story-of-aleppo/.

[25] Andrew Ashdown, “Aleppo: the truth that the Western media refuses to report,” Talfanzine, 15.12.2016, http://talfanzine.info/blog/2016/12/15/aleppo-the-truth-that-the-western-media-refuses-to-report/.

[26] Some other examples of testimonies and interviews: Jan Oberg, “The destruction of eastern Aleppo, Syria: December 2016,” Jan Oberg Exposure, 25.12.2016, http://janoberg.exposure.co/the-destruction-of-eastern-aleppo-syria; Jan Oberg, “Humans in liberated Aleppo: December 11-12, 2016,” Jan Oberg Exposure, 29.12.2016, http://janoberg.exposure.co/humans-in-liberated-aleppo; Charlotte d’Ornellas, “Alep Liberée: un reportage de Charlotte d’Ornellas,” Youtube channel of Boulevard Voltaire, 29.12.2016, consulted on 30.12.2016, http://youtube.com/watch?v=w8DJJDCGQ9g&app=desktop; Robert Fisk, “‘We were living a real tragedy in east Aleppo’: one family’s journey across the city amid the bloodshed,” The Independent, 01.11.2016, http://independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/thousands-of-civilian-families-forced-by-militias-to-remain-in-eastern-aleppo-a7389346.html.

[27] Vanessa Beeley, “East Aleppo video diaries: Hanano testimonies that shatter corporate media propaganda myths,” 21st Century Wire, 22.12.2016, http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/12/20/aleppo-diaries-bearing-witness-to-the-liberation-of-hanano-east-aleppo-a-personal-view-by-vanessa-beeley/. Other testimonies of east Aleppo residents can be found at the video section of her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/vanessa.beeley/videos?lst=100001241535936%3A667683867%3A1483038887.

[28] “Surprise: Carla Ortiz tells truth about Syria on CNN – fake news network,” Youtube-channel of Daily News TV, 22.12.2016, consulted on 25.12.2016, http://youtube.com/watch?v=uoL_Vu5Oqy0.

[29] Spliet, “The proxy war on Syria – part 4.”

[30] Lyse Doucet, “Aleppo siege: ‘we are crying and afraid’,” BBC, 03.12.2016, http://bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38194962; “Syria: celebrations as families return to homes in Aleppo,” BBC, 06.12.2016, http://bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38218086; Lyse Doucet, “Aleppo’s terrified residents flee rebel districts, dead and hunger,” Guardian, 10.12.2016, http://theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/10/aleppos-terrified-residents-tell-of-death-and-hunger-as-flee-rebel-districts.

[31] Martin Chulov, “Syrian rebels fight on for Aleppo despite local wariness,” Guardian, 21.08.2012, http://theguardian.com/world/2012/aug/21/syrian-rebels-aleppo-local-hostility.

[32] Alia Allana, “Gulf countries played a role in the Syrian uprising,” Fountain Ink, http://series.fountainink.in/gulf-countries-role-uprising/.

[33] Tony Cartalucci, “In Syria – how to ‘liberate’ a pro-army city? NATO terrorists come to overrun, not ‘liberate,’ Aleppo,” Land Destroyer, 25.06.2012, http://landdestroyer.blogspot.be/2012/07/in-syria-how-to-liberate-pro-army-city.html.

[34] Ian Pannell, “Aleppo: BBC journalist on Syria warplanes bombing city,” BBC, 24.07.2012, http://bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-18976690. For a critical review of Ian Pannell’s coverage, see Tony Cartalucci, “BBC rides with al Qaeda in Aleppo, Syria,” Land Destroyer, 25.06.2012, http://landdestroyer.blogspot.be/2012/07/bbc-rides-with-al-qaeda-in-aleppo-syria.html.

[35] The case of the alleged destruction of a Doctors Without Borders-supported hospital by a Syrian or Russian airstrike and the case of Omran Daqneesh, the boy in the ambulance, are discussed in part 3 and 4 of my The proxy war on Syria series, respectively. The amount of exposed false allegations, however, are too numerous to recount here.

[36] This unimaginable hypocrisy is explained perfectly in Stephen Gowans, “Our sieges and theirs,” What’s Left, 20.10.2016, http://gowans.wordpress.com/2016/10/20/our-sieges-and-theirs/.

[37] “Mass graves discovered in Aleppo, bodies showed signs of torture,” CBC News, 26.12.2016, http://cbc.ca/news/world/mass-graves-discovered-in-aleppo-bodies-showed-signs-of-torture-1.3912716.

[38] “Syrian rebels’ Aleppo offensive could amount to war crimes, UN envoy warns,” Guardian, 31.10.2016, http://theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/31/syrian-rebels-aleppo-offensive-could-amount-to-war-crimes-un-envoy-warns.

[39] “Gunfire intensifies in Aleppo despite ceasefire,” ITV News, 20.10.2016, http://itv.com/news/2016-10-20/itv-news-witnesses-fierce-gunfight-in-aleppo-despite-ceasefire/.

[40] Eva Bartlett, “Western corporate media ‘disappears’ over 1.5 million Syrians and 4,000 doctors,” Signs of the Times, 14.08.2016, http://sott.net/article/325238-Western-corporate-media-disappears-over-1-5-million-Syrians-and-4000-doctors; Patrik Paulov, “‘Aleppo has been under fire by terrorists for four years.’ Interview with Aleppo doctor about life in Syria’s largest city.” Protetarën, 25.05.2016, http://proletaren.se/utrikes-mellanostern/aleppo-has-been-under-fire-terrorists-four-years; “A Syrian physician demolishes the propaganda put out by politicians and the media,” Ora Pro Siria, 26.07.2016, http://oraprosiria.blogspot.be/2016/07/a-syrian-physician-demolishes.html?m=1.

[41] Christoph Germann, “The world’s biggest hostage crisis is coming to an end,” Newsbud, 08.12.2016, http://newsbud.com/2016/12/08/newsbud-exclusive-the-worlds-biggest-hostage-crisis-comes-to-an-end/.


SOURCES:
By Bas Spliet, Scrutinised Minds
Submitted by Bas Spliet
War Press Info Network at :
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What’s Happening in Syria? The Media “Kills the Truth”, “Terrorism” is Described as “Moderate Opposition”: Eva Bartlett

By Eva Bartlett
February 05, 2017
Eva Bartlett

Canadian independent journalist Eva Bartlett is the object of a smear campaign by Canada’s mainstream media.

Listen to what she has to say and then decide who is telling the truth.

The mainstream media denies the existence of terrorists linked to Al Qaeda.

According to mainstream sources, there were no terrorists in Aleppo. 

Al Qaeda and the Islamic State are supported by US-NATO, Saudi Arabia and Israel. They are the state-sponsors of terrorism. We are dealing with a war of aggression. Eva Bartlett provides detailed evidence of  war crimes. (M.Ch, GR Editor)

Montreal Event, January 28, 2017

Russia, America, and the turn of the image in Syria روسيا وأميركا وانقلاب الصورة في سورية

Russia, America, and the turn of the image in Syria

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Since the beginning of the crisis in Syria and the impossibility of overthrowing the country and its President as in Tunisia and Egypt, Russia was a partner in the international decision concerning the politics and the war in Syria, starting with the veto that disabled the international cover which America needs to make the war directly, and ending with the Russian military deployment and positioning in Syria and in the Mediterranean Sea.

Practically five years ago was the date of the first veto on the Arab project to overthrow Syria according to Chapter VII, and its fall by the Russian Chinese veto. And the aggravated international dimension of the war on Syria which dominated over the local dimension.

The status of Russia and America as two partners was present till the moving of the US fleets towards targeting Syria which was disabled due to the field veto of the Russian missiles which said that all the possibilities are open, so the fleets returned back after face-saving by the Russians through a political solution that ends with the abandonment of Syria of its chemical weapons.

At the end of the mutual discovering of the limits of the mutual readiness for going to the war in Syria defending the visions, interests, and the considerations which means for more than a year after the positioning of the Russians militarily and the start of the attack to restore the initiative by the Syrian army and its allies, the Americans were behaving on a basis of an equation of hiding behind the war on ISIS to establish influence bases in Syria most notably is the Kurdish gate, and to make use of the remaining of ISIS in order to prolong the time of exhausting Syria and the resistance axis, as once Jeffrey Feltman said to the Lebanese Deputy Walid Jumblatt. After having control of the rules of the war on ISIS as the US exclusive specialization through playing under the table with Al Nusra front directly and through the armed factions which were nominated as moderate by Washington, and which were described by the Former US President Barack Obama as fantasy that has no existence, but where the extremism and Al-Qaeda is a common background for these factions. This dual containment which experienced by Washington in the field is the same which it did in the negotiations which led to an understanding that did not emerge to light, because it depends on the decision of the transition to the US confrontation against Al Nusra front and the participation with the Russians in the war on it, in exchange of the partnership of the Russians in the war on ISIS. This partnership in the two confrontations will mean the acceleration of the elimination of the two organizations by mobilizing the allies of each of Washington and Moscow in a war on two common fronts that ensures the swift end of the two organizations.

During more than a year Moscow has followed a plan in which it has combined between the war on Al Nusra and the war on the associated factions towards exerting pressure on the regional sponsor of the armed groups represented by Turkey and which forms the first ally in the campaign led by Washington, because it has the ability to affect the war on Syria. It has put Turkey between two choices either to lose everything with the end of these factions militarily or to accept the political path that ensures a role for Turkey and for the factions which it sponsored under the ceiling of dismantling their relation with Al Nusra. Despite the skepticism of many of the feasibility of this plan which was disabled once at the gates of Aleppo nearly a year ago and then resumed towards the liberation of Aleppo, Turkey has reached the difficult choice and has entered the planned path till Astana. Moscow was not in need of a decision taken by Turkey and its factions for the war on Al Nusra but for a statement that foreshadows of that war, to pave the way for Al Nusra to wage the war in anticipation and thus to recall the Turkish US intervention to protect what is left of these factions after the decision of Al Nusra of getting rid of them.

On the other bank, Turkey and its formations stumble in the war on ISIS in Al Bab city, while ISIS’s units attack the Syrian army in Deir Al Zour, after Al Raqqa and Mosul became threatened of fall during this year. So moving away to the south from the gate of Deir Al Zour became the available withdrawal plan for ISIS. Therefore, the real scene became a literal translation for what was desired by the Russian from the beginning. A scene in which the US aircraft is attacking sites of Al Nusra front and targeting its leaders, while the Russian strategic bombers attack ISIS’s sites and target its leaders. This field military exchange happens along with strategic military exchange, where the departure of the US fleets from the Mediterranean Sea coincides with the coming and the positioning of the Russian fleets. This scene is culminated by an exchange in the political position in the Syrian crisis. The importance moved from US sponsorship that was at the front lines and then followed by Moscow as a second partner, to become Russian sponsorship and the partnership is American as an observer or a little more, Iran which was waiting to be invited to Geneva becomes at the first places of the sponsors, while Saudi Arabia which put veto on the Iranian presence is now waiting.

The speech of the US President Donald Trump about safe zones in Syria will not change anything but it will end with a talk about an understanding with the Syrian government on areas to accommodate the displaced returnees.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

روسيا وأميركا وانقلاب الصورة في سورية

ناصر قنديل

– منذ بداية الأزمة في سورية واستعصاء إسقاط الدولة ورئيسها على الطريقة التونسية أو المصرية، وروسيا شريك في القرار الدولي الصانع للسياسة والحرب في سورية، بداية بالفيتو المعطّل للغطاء الدولي الذي يحتاجه الأميركي لجعل الحرب مباشرة، ونهاية بالانتشار والتموضع العسكري الروسي في سورية والبحر المتوسط. ومنذ خمس سنوات عملياً تاريخ أول تصويت على المشروع العربي لإسقاط سورية بالفصل السابع وسقوطه بالفيتو الروسي الصيني، والبعد الدولي المتعاظم للحرب في سورية وعليها يكبر ويسبق ويطغى على البعد المحلي فيها، ومكانة روسيا وأميركا كشريكين قائمة، لحدّ أن تحرك الأساطيل الأميركية نحو توجيه ضربة لسورية لم يكمل طريقه بسبب الفيتو الميداني لصواريخ روسية قالت إن الاحتمالات كلها مفتوحة، فعادت الأساطيل لكن محملة بماء وجه مَن أرسلها بعدما حفظه له الروس بحلّ سياسي ينتهي بتخلي سورية عن سلاحها الكيميائي.

– في منتصف الطريق ونهاية الاستكشاف المتبادل لحدود الاستعداد المتبادل في الذهاب للحرب في سورية دفاعاً عن الرؤى والمصالح والحسابات، أي منذ عام ونيّف بعد تموضع الروس عسكرياً وبدء هجوم استرداد زمام المبادرة للجيش السوري وحلفائه، والأميركيون يتصرفون على قاعدة معادلة قوامها، الاختباء وراء الحرب على داعش لتكوين قواعد نفوذ في سورية أبرزها عبر البوابة الكردية، واستخدام بقاء داعش وإطالة أمد استنزاف التنظيم لسورية ومحور المقاومة، كما قال ذات مرة جيفري فيلتمان للنائب اللبناني وليد جنبلاط، وبالمقابل بعد التحكم بقواعد الحرب على داعش كاختصاص حصري أميركي، اللعب تحت الطاولة مع جبهة النصرة مباشرة وعبر الفصائل المسلحة التي تسميها واشنطن بـ«المعتدلة»، وهي ذاتها التي وصفها الرئيس الأميركي السابق باراك اوباما بالفانتازيا التي لا وجود لها، حيث التطرف والقاعدة خلفية جامعة لهذه الفصائل كلها. وهذا الاحتواء المزدوج الذي مارسته واشنطن في الميدان هو ما فعلته ذاته في المفاوضات التي أنتجت تفاهماً لم يبصر نور التطبيق، لأنه يتوقف على قرار بالانتقال للمواجهة الأميركية مع جبهة النصرة والتشارك مع الروس في الحرب عليها، مقابل شراكة الروس معهم في الحرب على داعش، وهي شراكة في البعدين ستعني تسريع ساعة القضاء على التنظيمين بحشد حلفاء كل من واشنطن وموسكو في حرب على جبهتين مشتركتين تكفل نهاية سريعة للتنظيمين.

– خاضت موسكو خطة مقابلة خلال عام ونيف جمعت بين الحرب على النصرة والفصائل المتموضعة معها، وصولاً للضغط على الراعي الإقليمي للفصائل المسلحة الذي تمثله تركيا، ويشكل الحليف الأول في المعكسر الذي تقوده واشتطن لجهة القدرة على التأثير في الحرب على سورية، ووضع تركيا بالحصيلة بين خياري خسارة كل شيء بنهاية هذه الفصائل عسكرياً، أو القبول بمسار سياسي يحفظ دوراً لتركيا وللفصائل التي ترعاها تحت سقف الانفصال عن النصرة، ورغم تشكيك الكثيرين بجدوى هذه الخطة، التي توقفت مرة عند أبواب حلب قبل عام تقريباً، وعادت فأكملت طريقها لتحرير حلب، وصلت تركيا إلى الخيار الصعب ودخلت المسار المرسوم حتى استانة، ولم تكن موسكو بحاجة لقرار حرب تتخذه تركيا وفصائلها للحرب على النصرة، بل لبيان يبشر بهذه الحرب، حتى تتكفل النصرة بخوض الحرب استباقاً، وتستدعي تدخلاً تركياً وأميركياً لحماية ما تبقى من هذه الفصائل بعد قرار النصرة بتصفيتها.

– على ضفة مقابلة تتعثر تركيا وفصائلها في الحرب على داعش في مدينة الباب وتهاجم وحدات داعش الجيش السوري في دير الزور، بعدما صارت الرقة والموصل خطوطاً مهدّدة بالسقوط خلال هذا العام، وصار النزوح جنوباً من بوابة دير الزور خطة الانسحاب المتاحة لداعش، فصار المشهد الواقعي ترجمة حرفية لما أراده الروس منذ البداية، مشهد تغير فيه الطائرات الأميركية على مواقع جبهة النصرة وتستهدف قادتها فيما تغير القاذفات الاستراتيجية الروسية على مواقع داعش وتستهدف قياداتها. ويحدث هذا التبادل العسكري الميداني جنباً إلى جنب مع تبادل عسكري استراتيجي، حيث يتزامن رحيل الأساطيل الأميركية من المتوسط مع قدوم وتمركز الأساطيل الروسية فيه، ويتوّج المشهد تبادل في الموقع السياسي في الأزمة السورية فينتقل الثقل من رعاية أميركية تتقدم الصفوف وتليها موسكو شريكاً ثانياً، لتصير الرعاية روسية والشراكة أميركية بصفة مراقب أو أكثر قليلاً، وتصير إيران في الصفوف الأولى للرعاة، بينما كانت تقف على باب انتظار دعوة إلى جنيف، لتبادلها السعودية التي وضعت الفيتو على الحضور الإيراني الجلوس في قاعة الانتظار.

– لا يغيّر من هذا بشيء حديث الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب عن مناطق آمنة في سورية، ستنتهي بالحديث عن تفاهم مع الحكومة السورية على مناطق لإيواء النازحين العائدين.

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The End Of Mingling – “Moderate Rebels” Join Al-Qaeda In Syria

The End Of Mingling -

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 30.01.2017

The End Of Mingling – “Moderate Rebels” Join Al-Qaeda In Syria

Moon of Alabama

Lots of confusion about the infighting in the “rebel” held Idleb governate in Syria, the situation is now clearing up. After other tricks, like renaming the group, did not work to deceive al-Qaeda finally pulled back the veil. It is no longer hiding between the “moderate rebels” but is now (again) a clearly identifiable groups. Groups near to al-Qaeda integrated with it, other groups split with significant parts joining the al-Qaeda organization.

Qalaat Al Mudiq @QalaatAlMudiq
N. #Syria: Tahrir Al-Sham Corps is born. Zinki, #JFS, Jaish Al-Sunna, Ansar Al-Din & Liwa Al-Haq merged under unified leadership (Abu Jaber)

The Zinki (Zengi) group had CIA support and received anti-tank weapons from the U.S. and its Gulf proxies. JFS is the short form of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the official al-Qaeda group in Syria. It is the strongest “rebel” group on the ground. Abu Jabar is a former Ahrar al-Sham leader who had long argued for integrating both groups. The Turkish and U.S. supported Ahrar al Sham has now officially split. The probably larger part under Abu Jabar is now joining al-Qaeda.

The “new” Tahrir Al-Sham is not a coalition of the various groups but THE new al-Qaeda group on the ground with a unified command and ideological structure. The operative military leader is Abu Jabar while the founder of al-Qaeda in Syria, Abu Mohammad al-Julani, will stay in the background as the overall emir of the group. Tahrir Al-Sham has a military alliance in Idleb with the smaller local ISIS group Jund al-Aqsa. Joining with them is not (yet) convenient.

The now further enlarged al-Qaeda formation under the new name Tahrir Al-Sham is by far the biggest “rebel” dog in the Idleb-region town with now many more than its previous 10,000 active fighters. Of all other groups the “moderate” side of the split Ahrar al-Sham is the biggest one. Left beside it are just splinters of those groups (like Zinki) that mainly crossed over to al-Qaeda. Some local warlords and their small gangs are also still around. These groups will probably continue to receive Turkish and U.S. support. But they will have no chance against the much more powerful al-Qaeda collective.

The leader of al-Qaeda in Syria al-Julani made a huge mistake by initiating this open split from the “moderates”. The group can now no longer hide by “mingling” with the CIA supported “moderates”. When it is attacked by the Syrian government it can no longer claim to be a victim. As it is a UN designated terrorist group it will receive no significant outside support. It can not even go into guerrilla mode because the “fish” (the guerrilla) will have no “water” (a sympathetic local population) to swim in.

This plays well into the Russian hands which initiated the Astana peace conference exactly for this purpose. The U.S. under Obama and Kerry had declared it impossible to separate al-Qaeda in Syria from the “moderate rebels” it supported. The Astana conference and in its consequence the now open al-Qaeda conflict with the “moderates” achieved the separation. The “moderates” left now can only join al-Qaeda, make peace with the Syrian government and its allies or flee the country to survive.

* * *

In other news the Syrian government forces have finally recaptured the Ayn al-Feejah in Wadi Barada that supplies Damascus with drinking water. 5.5 million people were cut off from tap water when the Takfiris captured, poisoned and blocked the spring 44 days ago. After three earlier deals had failed the now defeated Takfirs agreed to being transported to Idleb.

moonofalabama.org

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