Al-Jaafari: “Our ambition is the highest by focusing on combating terrorism… we would like to remind that state terrorism is being practiced against Syria”


Geneva, 19/5/2017 ~ Head of the Syrian Arab Republic delegation to Geneva Bashar al-Jaafari announced on Friday the end of the official meetings within the 6th round of the intra-Syrian dialogue held in the Swiss city with a final session of talks the delegation held with the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

“We have just concluded the last session with the UN Special Envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, within the framework of the current Geneva round, which we agreed to call it the 6th round of Geneva. For us, as the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic, the official meetings with the Special Envoy has ended at this moment and de Mistura as the special envoy will follow his contacts and meetings but this is another matter,” al-Jaffari said in a press statement following the end of the session.

“In this round, we discussed mainly one topic, which can be considered as the fruit that matured or resulted from this round. I mean expert meetings. One expert meeting was held yesterday between our experts and experts of the Special Envoy’s team and this is the only result that we came out with in this round,” he added.

In response to a question about the coincidence of the meeting with an American aggression and ISIS  massacre against Syrians in addition to the ambition of achieving better results in this round, al-Jaafari said that the delegation discussed during today’s session the U.S. attack on one of the Syrian Arab Army’s military points on al-Tanf road in the Syrian Badia, which took place Thursday evening.

“Minutes ago, we talked extensively about the massacre committed by the US aggression on Thursday in my country .The important thing is that our political ambition is the highest in terms of concerns within all parties involved. Our ambition is supreme because we want to constantly focus on the fight against terrorism“, he said.

Al-Jaafari pointed out that terrorism, represented by terrorist groups and the terrorism committed by countries and governments against Syria which includes the US, French and British aggression whether against civil or military targets, as what happened in Manbaj city when the French bombed the city and killed 200 civilians or as in Raqqa when the US raided the Deaf and Dumb school and as happened in al-Tharda Mountain in Deir Ezzor or as happened yesterday also.

“At every meeting, we would like to remind the attendees that state terrorism is being practiced against our country,” he added.

On setting a time limit for expert meetings and whether it would continue beyond the Geneva meetings, al-Jaafari noted that he did not say that, but, he added “I said that in this round there was only one meeting at the expert level, which was yesterday’s meeting. I mean between our experts and the experts of the Special Envoy, but the agreement is that these technical meetings take place during the rounds and not between or after them.”

“This is absolutely false,” al-Jaafari said in response to a question about some statements about the fallacies and that the meetings were focused on the issue of political transition and the nature of the government.

He clarified that Astana agreement on the de-escalation zones is about specific areas and not the entire Syrian territory, noting that the mechanisms of implementing the agreement have not been set yet.

“You should take into consideration that the main focus of the talks is the delegation as a whole. The expert meetings are detailed in a whole scene and therefore the important thing is the delegation’s meeting. The meetings of the experts are purely technical in order to find common points between the points related to the constitutional process, which are included in the paper of basic principles, and our political talks at the level of the delegation as a whole because the meeting of experts will be of a partial nature to take place within the framework of the meetings of the whole delegation,” he explained.

About US allegations about Sednaya prison, al-Jaafari said that this kind of allegation is not new and in every round of talks whether in Astana or in Geneva, and even before that, even in the Security Council, a massacre was carried out, adding that:

“only the nuclear weapon is left to hit us and they no longer have dangerous toys, but to use the nuclear and accuse us of using it.”

“The purpose of this fabricated story by the US intelligence is to increase the pressure on us politically as a government and secondly to prepare for the visit of US President Donald Trump to Riyadh because he talks about the establishment of a new Arab Islamic NATO, which is a funny story, funded by Saudi regime and Gulf countries who are ready to spend billions of dollars on the fabrication of wars in the region besides the existing wars,” he pointed out.

“This story is part of the general view of the pressure exerted on the Syrian government. It is no coincidence that this type of allegation appeared on the first day of our arrival in Geneva because it was intended to defame and exert pressure on us politically and to help the other extremist parties who reject the political solution in the escalation during the Geneva round,” he said.

Asked whether any of the four baskets were discussed, al-Jaafari said:

“in four days we did not discuss any basket of four baskets and we only talk about the subject of expert meetings.”

The  session of talks between the Syrian Arab Republic delegation and the UN Special Envoy for Syria was held earlier today at the headquarters of the United Nations in the Geneva.

Four sessions of talks were held between both sides over the past three days.

In a press conference following yesterday’s session, al-Jaafari said that the intensive consultations held between the UN Envoy and the Syrian Arab Republic delegation over the past two days resulted in reaching agreement to hold informal meetings between constitutional experts from both sides.

He added that the purpose of these meetings is to discuss the paper of basic principles, which includes in its articles appropriate points that serve as constitutional principles, referring to the basic principles paper which consists of 12 points where the elements related to the constitutional process will be dealt with.


Manar/Ghossoun for Syrian Arab News Agency
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De Mistura has instigated the escalation to adjust the balance The answer will be in the field and through negotiation in Geneva دي ميستورا حرّض على التصعيد لتعديل التوازن والجواب سيكون خلال جنيف في الميدان والتفاوض

De Mistura has instigated the escalation to adjust the balance The answer will be in the field and through negotiation in Geneva

مارس 27, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

The bombing of the fighting fronts in Syria does not have mere a negotiating task, it has many equations that extend from Washington to Riyadh, Tel Aviv towards Ankara. It became a war of existence for Al Nusra front which leads the war and it is followed by the participants in the negotiation in its two parts; the security part in Astana and the political part in Geneva under the command of their masters. But it is certain that the escalation witnessed by Syria through the initiative of Al Nusra front and under the political and military coverage and partnership of the participants in Geneva for the seats of the opposition will be the first present issue in Geneva.

It is not a secret that the tripartite of the UN Envoy Steffan De Mistura for the negotiation has excluded the item of terrorism, which the Syrian official delegation has instated on its adding as an essential item, as it is not a secret that the success of the Syrian delegation under the Russian support in imposing this item, in addition to its accusing participants in Geneva of terrorism and its stipulation to resolve their fate between the two camps of terrorism and its enemies in order to join the serious negotiating track has been settled strongly, as what has been achieved in Aleppo’s battles which formed a resounding defeat to the project of the war on Syria.

De Mistura colluded as far as the balances of powers allow him to serve the group of Riyadh, he tried to act without affectation on the negotiation’s items which the UN resolution 2254 has restricted them with the Syrians, through promoting formulas for the internal part as negotiating solutions that serve the anti-Syria project, so he got the objection of Damascus of welcoming him, but De Mistura was not the only advisor of Riyadh’s group and the factions of the necessity to change the balances of powers before the new round of Geneva, because their negotiating position will be difficult. He told them that “the round will witness Russian Syrian pressures to make the representatives of Cairo and Moscow platforms include a unified delegation along with the representatives of the Kurds, and the negotiation on the item of terrorism will be harsh and exhausted and that the political ceiling which the Russians want from the negotiations is a unified government under the Syrian constitution and the Syrian President”  the advice of De Mistura was the same as the Saudi seeking and the US advice after the Syrian army and the resistance had restored Al Quseir city, where the words of the Secretary of State John Kerry from Doha  were that there is no return to negotiation before adjusting the military balance.

Damascus can get the message and it has the professionalism and the skill to send the appropriate answers as refusing welcoming De Mistura, and the completion is sequent, from the treatment of De Mistura in a dull unpleasant way in Geneva through checking his every point and comma according the UN resolution and the resolution of his mandate, mission, powers, and controls as a UN employee, towards going on in the schedule by resolving the identity of the negotiators and ensure their non-relation with terrorist identities through their  positions toward the terrorist organizations which were classified by the UN,  not according to the contradictory jurisprudences of the participant parties. There is no relation but the relation with Al Nusra front; so those who fight with it and who adopt its fighting have no place in the political solution, while those who disaffirmed of its wars and bombings deserve the negotiation alone.

In the fifth round of Geneva there will be a lot of talks, conditions, statements, and speeches, but the Syrian response in the field will be capable of changing the backgrounds and to put De Mistura and the negotiators of the nominations of the opposition in front of the deadlock and the difficult choices. As the reverse attack has succeeded in the entrances of Damascus with fast resolving, the reverse attack has started in the countryside of Hama and the forthcoming hours and days will prove the answer.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

دي ميستورا حرّض على التصعيد لتعديل التوازن والجواب سيكون خلال جنيف في الميدان والتفاوض

مارس 23, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– ليس لتفجير جبهات القتال في سورية مجرد وظيفة تفاوضية وقد وضعت لها معادلات ممتدة من واشنطن إلى الرياض وتل أبيب وصولاً إلى أنقرة، وصارت حرب وجود بالنسبة لجبهة النصرة التي تقود الحرب ويلتحق بها بإمرة أسيادهم المشاركون في التفاوض، بشقيه الأمني في أستانة والسياسي في جنيف، لكن الأكيد أن التصعيد الذي تشهده سورية بمبادرة من جبهة النصرة وبتغطية وشراكة سياسية وعسكرية من المشاركين في جنيف عن مقاعد المعارضة سيكون الحاضر الأول في جنيف.

– ليس خافياً أن ثلاثية المبعوث الأممي ستيفان دي ميستورا للتفاوض استثنت بند الإرهاب الذي أصرّ الوفد السوري الرسمي على إضافته بنداً رئيسياً، كما ليس خافياً أن نجاح الوفد السوري بدعم روسي في فرض هذا البند عطفاً على اتهامه مشاركين في جنيف بالإرهاب واشتراطه حسم مصيرهم بين معسكري الإرهاب وأعدائه للانضمام إلى المسار التفاوضي الجدي، قد تمّ بقوة ما تم إنجازه في معارك حلب التي شكلت هزيمة مدوية لمشروع الحرب على سورية.

– تواطأ دي ميستورا بقدر ما تتيح موازين القوى لتخديم جماعة الرياض، وحاول التمادي على بنود التفاوض التي حصرها القرار الأممي 2254 بالسوريين، عبر ترويج صيغ للشق الداخلي من حلول تفاوضية تخدم المشروع المعادي لسورية فاستحق رفض دمشق لاستقباله، لكن دي ميستورا لم يكن الوحيد صاحب النصيحة لجماعة الرياض والفصائل بضرورة تغيير موازين القوى قبل جولة جنيف الجديدة وإلا سيكون وضعهم التفاوضي صعباً، وهو مَن قال لهم ستشهد الجولة ضغوطاً روسية سورية لضم ممثلي منصات القاهرة وموسكو لوفد موحّد ومعهم ممثلون للأكراد، وسيكون التفاوض في بند الإرهاب قاسياً ومتعباً، وسيكون السقف السياسي الذي يريد الروس أن تخرج به المفاوضات هو حكومة موحّدة في ظل الدستور السوري والرئيس السوري ، ونصيحة دي ميستورا هي المسعى السعودي والنصيحة الأميركية ذاتهما منذ استرداد الجيش السوري والمقاومة مدينة القصير وكلمة وزير الخارجية الأميركية آنذاك جون كيري من الدوحة، لا عودة للتفاوض قبل تعديل التوازن العسكري.

– دمشق ليست بعيدة عن التقاط الرسالة ولا عن حرفية ومهارة إرسال الأجوبة المناسبة، وأولها رفض استقبال دي ميستورا، والتتمة بالتتابع، من معاملة دي ميستورا بصورة باهتة وجافة في جنيف بمحاسبته على النقطة والفاصلة وفقاً للقرار الأممي وقرار تفويضه ومهمته وصلاحياته وضوابطه كموظف أممي، وسيراً بجدول الأعمال بحسم هوية المفاوضين وتأكيد عدم تشابكها بهويات إرهابية، وفقاً لمواقفها من التنظيمات الإرهابية المصنفة أممياً، وليس لاجتهادات متناقضة للأطراف المشاركة. وهنا لا توجد إلا العلاقة بجبهة النصرة، فمن يقاتل معها ومن يتبنّى قتالها لا مكان له على مائدة الحل السياسي، ومَن يتبرأ من حروبها وتفجيراتها وحده الجدير بالتفاوض.

– ستطول جولة جنيف الخامسة بكلام كثير وشروط وبيانات وخطابات، لكن الرد السوري سيكون في الميدان كفيلاً بتغيير المناخ والأجواء، ووضع دي ميستورا ومفاوضي مسميات المعارضة أمام الحائط المسدود والخيارات الصعبة، ومثلما نجح الهجوم المعاكس في مداخل دمشق بحسم سريع، فقد بدأ الهجوم المعاكس في ريف حماة والساعات والأيام المقبلة تتكفّل بالجواب.

Manbej Agreement saved De Mistura اتفاق منبج أنقذ دي ميستورا

Manbej Agreement saved De Mistura

Written by Nasser Kandil,

مارس 7, 2017

All Geneva indicators and its talks head toward the deadlock through the refusal of Riyadh’s group under Turkish –Saudi support to insert the fourth item allocated to discuss the war on terrorism in parallel with the three items which are allocated to discuss the form of the rule, the constitution, and the elections, which did not meet the aspiration of Riyadh delegation to open the door of the search under the name of the transitional ruling body, and the future of the Syrian presidency. The consideration of Riyadh’s delegation supported by Turkey and Saudi Arabia was due to the linkage of the failure with the absence of the US presence and with what they called the Iranian escalation and the Russian inability, according to the equation of the common Turkish-Saudi speech after the winning of the US President Donald Trump and his submission to the calendar of the US institution to suspend the cooperation with Russia to another time. The repositioning of Turkey on that basis at a common position with Saudi Arabia disabled the endeavors of the settlements and escalated the situation against Iran waiting for the next US step to become clear. This led to the decline of Astana dash which was progressing.

At a dramatic unexpected moment, the Turks found themselves in front of the need to take shelter with the equations of Astana instead of disabling them or abolishing them, because they want to avoid a confrontation with the Syrian army supported by Russia, and to accept considering the deployment which will be implemented by the Syrian army in the northern of Syria in the areas and the villages of the Kurds to isolate them from the Turks and their groups a part of the necessary understanding with Moscow and its sponsoring of Astana and its items, knowing that they moved to Al Bab because it is the gateway which leads them the Kurdish areas, the fighting of ISIS was not but a tax which they paid to achieve this goal, but they are in front of the difficult choices and the need to preserve the rules of the cooperation with Russia, so they accepted the matter with all its bitterness and the feeling of the loss after the high costs in the battle of Al-Bab.

Instead of abolishing Astana, the applying of Manbej agreement has required the applying of Astana and keeping it as a viable framework, entitled fighting against the terrorism. This title has become the fire escape of the Turks from the embarrassments of the defeat, so the instructions to Geneva have been changed, and instead of the refusal the of the fourth item about fighting against the terrorism they have accepted it, even after it was clarified in details that there is no place to insert factions that are not mentioned in the resolution 2254. As Riaydh delegation which tried in the beginning to talk about Hezbollah. Therefore the terrorism which its fighting will be discussed later is confined with Al Nusra and ISIS and who fight with them. There is no priority for Riyadh group In order to hide behind, as the metaphysical interpretations which it tries to grant to the political item, and showing it as an acceptance of its call for the political transition and a transitional ruling body.

The moving successfully of the Syrian army toward Palmyra in a successful timing, its progress in the northeast of Aleppo, and its persistence in Deir Al Zour have formed a triangle that besieged Raqqa and paved the way for forming a bilateral with the Kurdish groups that changes the strategic balances in the east of Syria. With reference to the Turkish-Kurdish deadlock and the inability of the Americans to resolve it despite the endeavors of the Head of the CIA in Ankara, all of that have made Manbej agreement between the Syrian army and the Kurds a qualitative shift that imposes itself strongly and puts Astana and the fighting against the terrorism as a title that cannot be ignored, till what is needed becomes that one of the two teams has to bear the defeat Turkey or the negotiating Riyadh’s group in Geneva. So the weakest has to bear the defeat, Riyadh’s group retreated in submission to the orders of Turkey to facilitate Manbej agreement, with a simple Turkish reminder to the negotiators “do not forget who is working for whom”.

This time the Syrian army saved De Mistura.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

اتفاق منبج أنقذ دي ميستورا

مارس 4, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– كانت كل مؤشرات جنيف ومحادثاتها تتجه نحو بلوغ الاستعصاء برفض جماعة الرياض بدعم تركي سعودي لإدراج السلة الرابعة المخصصة لمناقشة الحرب على الإرهاب، بالتوازي مع السلال الثلاث المخصصة لصيغة الحكم والدستور والانتخابات، التي لم تلبِّ في أيّ من بنودها تطلّع وفد الرياض لفتح باب البحث بمسمّى هيئة الحكم الانتقالي ومستقبل الرئاسة السورية. وكان حساب وفد الرياض ومن ورائه تركيا والسعودية، ربط الفشل بغياب الحضور الأميركي وبما يسمّونه التصعيد الإيراني والعجز الروسي، وفقاً لمعادلة الخطاب التركي السعودي المشترك ما بعد فوز الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب ورضوخه لروزنامة المؤسسة الأميركية بتجميد خطوات التعاون مع روسيا لوقت آخر، وتموضع تركيا على هذا الأساس عند موقف مشترك مع السعودية يجمّد مساعي التسويات ويصعّد بوجه إيران، تمهيداً لتبلور الخطوة الأميركية اللاحقة، وهذا ما ترتّب عليه تراجع اندفاعة أستانة التي كانت تتقدّم.

– في لحظة درامية غير متوقعة وجد الأتراك أنفسهم أمام الحاجة للاحتماء بمعادلات استانة بدلاً من تجميدها أو الإطاحة بها، وذلك لتفادي مواجهة مع الجيش السوري ومن ورائه روسيا، والقبول باعتبار الانتشار الذي سينفذه الجيش السوري شمال سورية في مناطق الأكراد وقراهم لعزلها عن الأتراك وجماعاتهم جزءاً من التفاهم الضروري مع موسكو ورعايتها لأستانة ومندرجاته، علماً أنهم ذهبوا إلى الباب بالأصل، لأنه باب يوصلهم لعنق المناطق الكردية ولم يكن قتال داعش بكل آلامه إلا ضريبة يدفعونها لبلوغ هذا الهدف، لكنهم أمام الخيارات الصعبة والحاجة للحفاظ على قواعد التعاون مع روسيا تقبّلوا الأمر بكل ما فيه من مرارة وشعور بالخسارة بعد أكلاف عالية في معركة الباب.

– بدلاً من الإطاحة بأستانة صار تسويق تفاهم منبج يستدعي تسويق أستانة، والحفاظ عليه كإطار قابل للحياة، وعنوانه مكافحة الإرهاب. وصار هذا العنوان سلّم النجاة للأتراك من إحراجات الهزيمة، فتغيّرت التعليمات إلى جنيف، وصارت بدلاً من الرفض، القبول بالسلة الرابعة وبند مكافحة الإرهاب، حتى بعدما توضح بالتفصيل أن لا مكان فيه لحشو أسماء فصائل لم يذكرها القرار 2254، كما حاول وفد الرياض بداية بالحديث عن حزب الله، فالإرهاب الذي ستناقش مكافحته محصور بالنصرة وداعش ومَن يقاتل معهما، وليس ثمة أولوية لورقة توت تتغطّى بها جماعة الرياض، كالتفسيرات الماورائية التي تحاول منحها للبند السياسي وتصويره قبولاً بدعوتها للانتقال السياسي وهيئة حكم انتقالي.

– حركة الجيش السوري نحو تدمر بنجاح، وتوقيت ناجح، وتقدّمه شمال شرق حلب، وثباته في دير الزور، أنشأ مثلث قوة يحاصر الرقة، ويتيح تشكيل ثنائية مع الجماعات الكردية، تغيّر الموازين الاستراتيجية في شرق سورية، وبالاستناد للاستعصاء التركي الكردي وعجز الأميركيين عن حلّه، رغم مساعي مدير المخابرات الأميركية في أنقرة، مشهد للجغرافيا العسكرية جعل تفاهم منبج بين الجيش السوري والأكراد تحوّلاً نوعيّاً يفرض نفسه بقوة على الجميع، ونقل أستانة ومكافحة الإرهاب كعنوان إلى مرتبة لا يسهل التملّص منها، حتى صار المطلوب أن يحمل الهزيمة أحد فريقين، تركيا أو جماعة التفاوض «الرياضية» في جنيف، فرُمي حمل الهزيمة على الأضعف، وتراجع وفد الرياض بأوامر الباب العالي، تسهيلاً لتفاهم منبج، مع تذكير تركي بسيط للمفاوضين، لا تنسَوا مَن الذي يشتغل عند الآخر!

– جاءت المعونة لدي ميستورا من الجيش السوري هذه المرّة.

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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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De Mistura between Lavrov, Al-Jubeir, and Guterres دي ميستورا بين لافروف والجبير وغوتيريس

De Mistura between Lavrov, Al-Jubeir, and Guterres

Written by Nasser Kandil,

فبراير 7, 2017

Since his assuming the mission of the UN Envoy in Syria Steffan De Mistura was a mediator in promoting the sectarian formula to reorganize the state in Syria by the force of the war waged by the alliance extends from Washington to Al-Qaeda organization including Turkey, France, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, but he determined to make Syria surrounded by a region that feels hostility toward it starting from Al-Qaeda organization represented by Al Nusra front towards which he was keen on creating formulas to improve its position as money laundering returning from the sale of drugs, and the Saudi Israeli bilateral with which he has relations starting from the money and ending with the intelligence work with Israel, since he was an envoy in Lebanon sponsoring the hostility toward the resistance. De Mistura is the owner of the theory of the inspiring Lebanese example for the political solution in Syria in a call for a settlement that ensures the presidency of the President Bashar Al-Assad but by making the presidential position for his sect without powers and making the position of the Prime Minister belong to a sect that is controlled by Saudi Arabia with powers that drive Syria to a path similar to the path of Lebanon after Taif Agreement but without an  auspices as provided by Syria to Lebanon.

The balances of the ruling powers of the first stages of De Mistura’s mission were providing his project the prosperity, so it was an opportunity to reveal his cards which were no longer hidden for each one who dealt with the issue entitled the political solution in Syria, and because Moscow before its military involvement in Syria was dealing with the political endeavors and preventing the employment of  the decision of the war in the philosophy of politics, it was witnessing De Mistura’s plots and clashing with them, towards the stages when the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who was concerned in following up the political issue of Syria was forced to talk about De Mistura in a language that beholds him the responsibilities of supporting the terrorism and the postponement in doing what is needed, being away from accomplishing his duties and mobilizing his position as a UN envoy unfairly. Many times De Mistura has disabled Russian initiatives as the attempt of expanding the delegation of the opposition, or neglecting the talk about a ruling transitional body in order to go to a political ceiling for a solution that stems from the Syrian constitution and includes its modification and holding the elections on its basis. Lavrov does not forget the interferences of De Mistura in the Security Council in which he did not hesitate to accuse Russia of committing war crimes. Syria as well cannot forget all the collisions with De Mistura and his malignant behavior, as well as his conspiracies in the essence and in the details.

The coincidence between the victory of the Syrian army supported by its allies in Aleppo and the election of Antonio Guterres as a new Secretary-General of the United Nations has formed a change in the destination of the surrounding circumstances with the work of De Mistura whose his task will end in Spring unless renewed by Guterres. The information says that the understanding which enabled Guterres to occupy the position includes an agreement with Russia to exempt De Mistura from his tasks and nominating an alternative that is agreed upon with Moscow. In the beginning of the year, De Mistura has been notified by the Secretary- General the ending of his tasks in spring, so he assumed to coordinate with Russia and through the withdrawal of the veto on the continuation of his tasks. It seems that this has happened with the positions which expressed by De Mistura recently, that includes the formation of a delegation that gathers the formations of the opposition by consensus or by force, and a political ceiling that includes the government, constitution and elections. The campaign organized by the opposition that lives in Riyadh against him was just the echo of the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir to restore the changeable UN envoy, while the interference of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to support him was just the echo of the understanding between Gutterres and Lavrov.

Once again after the victory of Aleppo and Astana Path the role of the UN envoy in the United Nations has moved to be under the test, to see his concordance with the variables, will De Mistura succeed or fail?

Translated By Lina Shehadeh,

دي ميستورا بين لافروف والجبير وغوتيريس

فبراير 3, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– منذ توليه مهمته كمبعوث أممي في سورية كان ستيفان دي ميستورا وسيط تسويق الصيغة الطائفية لإعادة تنظيم الدولة في سورية، بقوة الحرب التي يشنها الحلف الممتد من واشنطن إلى تنظيم القاعدة وبينهما تركيا وفرنسا والسعودية و«إسرائيل»، لكنه عقد العزم ليكون لسان حال منطقة وسط هي الأشد عداء لسورية، بين تنظيم القاعدة ممثلاً بجبهة النصرة التي كان يحرص على ابتكار صيغ تبييضها، كما يتم تبييض الأموال العائدة من بيع المخدرات، ومن جهة مقابلة الثنائي السعودي «الإسرائيلي» الذي تربطه به علاقات تبدأ من المال وتنتهي بالعمل الاستخباري مع «إسرائيل» منذ كان مبعوثاً في لبنان يرعى العداء للمقاومة. ودي ميستورا هو صاحب نظرية انموذج اللبناني الملهم للحل السياسي في سورية، بدعوة لتسوية تثبت رئاسة الرئيس بشار الأسد، ولكن وفقاً لجعل المنصب الرئاسي لطائفته ونزع صلاحياتها، وجعل رئاسة الحكومة من موقع طائفي تتحكّم به السعودية وبصلاحيات تأخذ سورية لمسار شبيه بمسار لبنان بعد الطائف، ولكن من دون رعاية كالتي وفرتها سورية للبنان.

– كانت موازين القوى الحاكمة للمراحل الأولى من مهمة دي ميستورا تتيح لمشروعه فرص الحياة، ولذلك كانت فرصة ليكشف أوراقه التي لم تعد خافية على كل من تعاطى عن كثب بالملف المسمّى الحل السياسي في سورية، ولأن موسكو منذ ما قبل انخراطها العسكري في سورية تقف على بعض المساعي السياسية وتوظيف منع قرار الحرب في فلسفة السياسة، كانت تشهد مؤامرات دي ميستورا وتشتبك معها، وصولاً لمراحل كان وزير الخارجية الروسية سيرغي لافروف المعني بمتابعة الملف السياسي لسورية، يضطر للحديث عن دي ميتسورا بلغة تحميله مسؤوليات الدعم للإرهاب والمماطلة بالقيام بالواجب والانحراف عن المهمة، وتوظيف صفته كمبعوث أممي بصورة غير نزيهة، وكثيراً ما عطّل دي ميستورا مبادرات روسية من نوع توسيع وفد المعارضة أو تخطّي الحديث عن هيئة حكم انتقالي للذهاب إلى سقف سياسي واقعي للحل ينطلق من الدستور السوري ويتضمّن تعديله وإجراء انتخابات على اساسه. ولم ينسَ لافروف مداخلات دي ميستورا في مجلس الأمن التي لم يتورّع خلالها عن اتهام روسيا بارتكاب جرائم حرب، أما سورية فلا يمكن أن تنسى كل محطات التصادم مع دي ميستورا وسلوكه الخبيث ولا مؤامراته في الجوهر وفي التفاصيل.

– شكّل التزامن بين انتصار الجيش السوري مدعوماً من حلفائه في حلب، مع انتخاب أنطونيو غوتيريس كأمين عام جديد للأمم المتحدة، متغيّراً في وجهة الظروف المحيطة بعمل دي ميستورا، الذي تنتهي مهمته في الربيع ما لم يجدّدها غوتيريس. والمعلومات تقول إن التفاهم الذي سمح لغوتيريس بالفوز بالمنصب تضمّن اتفاقاً مع روسيا بإعفاء دي ميستورا من مهامه، وتسمية بديل عنه يتفق عليه مع موسكو. وفي مطلع العام تبلّغ دي ميستورا من الأمين العام إنهاء مهامه في الربيع، فتعهد بالتنسيق مع روسيا وسحب الفيتو عن مواصلة مهامه، ويبدو أن شيئاً من هذا قد حصل مع المواقف التي عبّر عنها دي ميستورا مؤخراً، وما تتضمّنه من تشكيل وفد جامع للمعارضة بالتراضي أو بالإكراه، ومن سقف سياسي يتضمّن حكومة ودستوراً وانتخابات. وما الحملة التي نظّمتها المعارضة المقيمة في الرياض عليه إلا صدى لصوت وزير الخارجية السعودية عادل الجبير لاستعادة المبعوث الأممي المتبدّل، بينما تدخل الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة لدعمه ليس إلا صدى التفاهم بين غوتيريس ولافروف.

– انتقل مجدداً مع انتصار حلب ومسار أستانة، دور المبعوث الأممي والأمم المتحدة ليكون تحت الاختبار لدرجة ملاءمته للمتغيرات، ينجح دي ميستورا أو يفشل!

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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.


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?





[1] “Southpark – we are just reporting it,” Youtube channel of PeanutButterFingers, 26.05.2014, consulted on 15.12.2016,

[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,; Bas Spliet, “The proxy war on Syria – part 4: The export of disinformation,” Scrutinised Minds, 20.12.2016,

[3] Michael Weiss, Roy Gutman and Alex Powell, “Women in Aleppo choose suicide over rape, rebels report,” The Daily Beast, 13.12.2016,

[4] “Estimated 100,000 civilians still trapped in  Aleppo,” CNN, 13.12.2016,

[5] “Aleppo resident: ‘nowhere to go’ as bombs interrupt interview,” BBC, 14.12.2016,

[6] May Bulman, “Aleppo: more than 100 children in building under heavy attack, says Unicef,” The Independent, 13.12.2016,

[7] Jack Khoury, “Aleppo: massacre reported as Syrian army presses assault on last rebel holdout,” Haaretz, 13.12.2016,

[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,; “Fake images about Aleppo circulate on social media, France 24, 15.12.2016,

[10] “Aleppo battle: UN says civilians shot on the spot,” BBC, 13.12.2016,

[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,

[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,

[13] Bas Spliet, “The proxy war on Syria – part 2: The two myths about the armed opposition,” Scrutinised Minds, 06.12.2016,; 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,

[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,

[15] Patrick Cockburn, “There’s more propaganda than news coming out of Aleppo this week,” The Independent, 17.12.2016,

[16] “Syria – killing journos enabled ‘media activist’ domination – intended effect?”, Moon of Alabama, 19.12.2016,

[17] Vanessa Beeley, “‘Aleppo Media Center’ funded by French Foreign Office, EU and US,” 21st Century Wire, 20.09.2016,

[18] Brandon Turbeville, “White Helmets NGO: a ‘rescue and assist’ operation under the guise of human rights,” Mintpress News, 11.05.2016,

[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,; “Celebrations in Aleppo after its full liberation,” Youtube-channel of Press TV News Videos, 22.12.2016, consulted on 24.12.2016,; “Celebrating victory in Aleppo,” Reuters, 22.12.2016, 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,; “Rebel-held east Aleppo nears collapse,” Al-Jazeera, 13.12.2016,; “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,; Tom O’Conner, “Christmas in Aleppo: photos, video show Christians celebrate Assad victory in Syria,” International Business Times, 22.12.2016,

[20] Ellen Francis, “Syrian army announces victory in Aleppo in boost for Assad,” Reuters, 22.12.2016,

[21] “Syria: Aleppo evacuation completed,” Red Cross UK, 23.12.2016,

[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,

[23] “Over 100,000 civilians left eastern Aleppo since operation against militants began,” Russian News Agency TASS, 12.12.2016, 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,

[25] Andrew Ashdown, “Aleppo: the truth that the Western media refuses to report,” Talfanzine, 15.12.2016,

[26] Some other examples of testimonies and interviews: Jan Oberg, “The destruction of eastern Aleppo, Syria: December 2016,” Jan Oberg Exposure, 25.12.2016,; Jan Oberg, “Humans in liberated Aleppo: December 11-12, 2016,” Jan Oberg Exposure, 29.12.2016,; Charlotte d’Ornellas, “Alep Liberée: un reportage de Charlotte d’Ornellas,” Youtube channel of Boulevard Voltaire, 29.12.2016, consulted on 30.12.2016,; 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,

[27] Vanessa Beeley, “East Aleppo video diaries: Hanano testimonies that shatter corporate media propaganda myths,” 21st Century Wire, 22.12.2016, Other testimonies of east Aleppo residents can be found at the video section of her Facebook page:

[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,

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

[30] Lyse Doucet, “Aleppo siege: ‘we are crying and afraid’,” BBC, 03.12.2016,; “Syria: celebrations as families return to homes in Aleppo,” BBC, 06.12.2016,; Lyse Doucet, “Aleppo’s terrified residents flee rebel districts, dead and hunger,” Guardian, 10.12.2016,

[31] Martin Chulov, “Syrian rebels fight on for Aleppo despite local wariness,” Guardian, 21.08.2012,

[32] Alia Allana, “Gulf countries played a role in the Syrian uprising,” Fountain Ink,

[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,

[34] Ian Pannell, “Aleppo: BBC journalist on Syria warplanes bombing city,” BBC, 24.07.2012, 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,

[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,

[37] “Mass graves discovered in Aleppo, bodies showed signs of torture,” CBC News, 26.12.2016,

[38] “Syrian rebels’ Aleppo offensive could amount to war crimes, UN envoy warns,” Guardian, 31.10.2016,

[39] “Gunfire intensifies in Aleppo despite ceasefire,” ITV News, 20.10.2016,

[40] Eva Bartlett, “Western corporate media ‘disappears’ over 1.5 million Syrians and 4,000 doctors,” Signs of the Times, 14.08.2016,; 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,; “A Syrian physician demolishes the propaganda put out by politicians and the media,” Ora Pro Siria, 26.07.2016,

[41] Christoph Germann, “The world’s biggest hostage crisis is coming to an end,” Newsbud, 08.12.2016,

By Bas Spliet, Scrutinised Minds
Submitted by Bas Spliet
War Press Info Network at :

Al-Assad: Aleppo Win Huge Step toward Ending War

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said victory in the battle for the city of Aleppo will be “a huge step” in bringing the war in Syria to an end.


Al-Assad: Aleppo Win Huge Step toward Ending War

Al-Assad said the full liberation of Aleppo in northwestern Syria would deal a huge blow to the regional and international supporters of militant groups, al-Mayadeen television station said, citing an interview with al-Watan newspaper published on Thursday.

“It’s true that Aleppo will be a win for us, but let’s be realistic, it won’t mean the end of the war in Syria,” Assad said.

“But it will be a huge step towards this end.”

The Syrian president further said in response to a question about the possibility of a ceasefire in Aleppo that such a possibility was “practically non-existent, of course.”

“The Americans in particular are insisting on demanding a truce, because their terrorist agents are now in a difficult situation,” he said.

Washington would have no more trump cards to show if Aleppo is liberated, the Syrian president added.

Al-Assad said Aleppo was the “last hope” of militants and their supporters, “after their failure in the battles of Damascus and Homs.”

The Syrian president said the militants’ defeat in Aleppo would fully change the course of battle in Syria.

“The decision to liberate all of Syria is taken and Aleppo is part of it,” al-Mayadeen quoted the president as saying.

Al-Assad also stated that Turkey had done its best to protect the militant stronghold in Aleppo, but it has failed.

The Syrian government has been making advances in militant-held areas in eastern Aleppo, with recent reports saying that the military and its allies have managed to retake two-thirds of the territory that used to be under the control of the militants.

The conflict in Syria, which flared up in March 2011, has claimed the lives of more than 400,000 people, according to an estimate by UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

08-12-2016 | 08:47
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