#Endcovidsanctions: ‘80 Hours for 80 Million Campaign’ Pressing US to Ditch Iran Sanctions amid Outbreak

#Endcovidsanctions: ‘80 Hours for 80 Million Campaign’ Pressing US to Ditch Iran Sanctions amid Outbreak

By Staff, Agencies

Amid a worldwide outcry against the United States’ illegal and unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran, a popular campaign has been launched to pressure Washington into temporarily lifting the sanctions that are obstructing the Iranian people’s efforts to curtail the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

The ‘80 hours for 80 million campaign’ has been launched on the New/Mode advocacy platform to promote this cause.

The participants are required to enter their phone numbers on the campaign’s webpage which will then put them through to the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control so they can demand that OFAC enable the temporary sanctions relief.

“We’re making 80 hours of calls to OFAC on behalf of 80 million people,” reads the campaign’s manifesto.

The US reinstated its sanctions against Iran in May 2018 after leaving a United Nations-endorsed nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic and five other countries.

Tehran sued Washington at the International Court of Justice afterwards. The tribunal ruled that the US should lift its sanctions on humanitarian supplies.

Washington, however, claims that it has exempted foodstuffs and medicine from the bans, something that Tehran entirely disputes.

Iran has written to the United Nations and all international organizations, urging the removal of the vehicles of “economic terrorism” that have come in the way of its fight against the outbreak.

The organizers of the popular campaign have warned about the consequences that the Iranian nation has come to face as a result of the “deadly sanctions” amid its battle against the new virus that has already claimed the lives of more than 1,900 Iranians.

“Researchers predict that if sanctions aren’t lifted, at least 3.5 million Iranian lives will be lost to COVID-19,” the campaign statement reads, using the name given to the new coronavirus.

“Iranians can’t buy or make necessary supplies — such as paper for masks — if the US doesn’t lift sanctions,” says the manifesto, and cautions, “That’s 80 million. 80 million Iranians facing tragic consequences if US sanctions aren’t lifted.”

The organizers have also pointed out that the US slapped even more sanctions on Iran right after the viral outbreak as part of its “maximum pressure” policy against the Iranian nation.

The move, they note, came while China and the United Kingdom were calling for Washington to ease up the economic measures amid the global crisis.

“Join us in fighting to #EndCOVIDSanctions and give Iranians what experts say is critical to stopping COVID-19: 120 days of sanctions relief or face catastrophic loss of life,” the statement says.

Dubious Postponement of Netanyahu’s Trial

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, March 16, 2020

Hopefully delay isn’t an escape hatch for Netanyahu to avoid long overdue justice.

Notably, charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust he faces don’t remotely rise to the level of his crimes of war, against humanity, and slow motion genocide committed against the Palestinian people.

These high crimes are what’s most important to hold him accountable for in an international tribunal — followed by conviction on all counts and longterm imprisonment.

On Sunday, his trial scheduled to begin March 17 was postponed until May 24 on the same day his regime’s justice minister Amir Ohana, a Likudnik Netanyahu loyalist, invoked emergency measures to combat COVID-19 — both issues unrelated to each other.

In response, the Jerusalem District Court announced the following:

“In light of developments regarding the spread of the coronavirus, and taking into account the latest guidelines given and the declaration of a state of emergency in the courts, we have decided to cancel the scheduled hearing.”

Ohana declared a “state of emergency (to halt judicial proceedings except for largely undefined urgent ones) as part of the national effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.”

Until proceedings were ordered largely halted for public health reasons, this action was only taken before for security reasons. Ohana changed the rules.

Following his announcement, the Movement for Quality of Government in Israel urged AG Mendelblit to stay the ruling, saying:

“This is a temporary minister in a temporary government that has never received the public’s trust.”

Ohana’s ruling came days after the Jerusalem District Court rejected a request by Netanyahu’s defense team to delay his trial for 45 days on dubious grounds of more time needed to receive and review all investigative materials related to the case.

Ohana’s declaration means most, not all, judicial hearings are on hold. Some can go on at the discretion of courts, including issues “relating to the special emergency.”

Halting proceedings on Netanyahu’s case followed a recommendation by his health ministry that “there is a real fear of serious harm to public health” — a dubious judgment unrelated to continuing court business normally.

Coronavirus Outbreak, a Global Public Health Emergency?

On Sunday, Netanyahu’s health ministry said 200 Israelis tested positive for COVID-19, a minute percent of its population, showing no just cause for declaring a state of emergency.

Only two Israelis ill from the coronavirus are in serious condition, 11 in moderate condition, others with mild symptoms, according to the health ministry.

Around 40,000 Israelis are quarantined at home, including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists.

Tests for COVID-19 have been conducted on over 6,800 Israelis as of Sunday. The US with around 37-fold Israel’s population only tested about 11,000 people so far nationwide.

South Korea with around one-sixth the US population tests around 20,000 daily.

China through late February tested around 320,000 people, South Korea through March 13 nearly 250,000 people, Italy to date 86,000, Russia 77,000, Britain 30,000.

China’s Global Times cited the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, saying it provides 341,600 nucleic acid reagent test kits daily, enough to accommodate everyone in the country needing one with plenty available for export.

China’s BGI Group exported COVID-19 detection kits for testing around 310,000 people in 26 countries, including in Asia and Europe.

They’re available for export to the US in large numbers if permitted by the Trump regime — not so far.

He and his Health and Human Services Department (HHS) announced that tests will only be offered by his regime to individuals showing COVID-19 symptoms — instead of getting ahead of the curve to detect early and treat as needed, what’s vital in dealing with a highly contagious disease easily spread from person to person.

It’s unclear how many ill Americans were misdiagnosed with seasonal flu and treated accordingly.

While it’s highly unlikely that contagion in the US is anywhere near epidemic levels, in dealing with infectious diseases, widespread testing is important because it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Through mid-March, around 156,000 COVID-19 cases were reported worldwide, around 5,800 deaths from the disease — these numbers nowhere near suggesting a global pandemic.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 2,839,205 US deaths in 2019, including from the following diseases:

  • Heart disease: 647,457
  • Cancer: 599,108
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 146,383
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404
  • Diabetes: 83,564
  • Influenza and pneumonia: 55,672
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,633

Annual deaths from these diseases worldwide are at or near epidemic levels with no fear-mongering headlines blasted daily about them.

A few thousand COVID-19 infections in the US and a reported 59 deaths through Friday do not an epidemic make.

Around 40,000 Americans die in car crashes annually, around 36,000 from gun violence.

In 2019, there were 169,936 deaths by accidents and unintentional injuries, according to the CDC. There were 47,173 reported suicides.

All of the above numbers are far greater causes for concern in the US than COVID-19 — so far.

It doesn’t mean that the virus can be taken lightly or can’t rise to a much higher worrisome level.

It does mean that it hasn’t hasn’t so far and with proper steps taken at the federal, state and local levels, it should be controllable like other infectious diseases are handled.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

US Hypocrisy Reigns As War in Yemen Intensifies

By Staff, American Conservative

The US has spent five years helping Saudi Arabia commit war crimes and slaughter civilians in an aggressive war against Yemen. Washington’s subservience to the Saudi royal family, whose regime shares few interests and even fewer values with America, has made the US complicit in tens of thousands of needless deaths.

The Trump administration recently demonstrated a particularly toxic mix of hypocrisy and sanctimony regarding Yemen. The Pentagon complained that naval seizures by American patrols working on behalf of the Saudis had captured blasting caps for improvised explosive devices and components of anti-tank, anti-ship, and anti-aircraft missiles. The latter, called 358s, are known as “loitering” missiles, containing two different motors and avoiding normal defensive measures. An unnamed Pentagon official complained to the New York Times that the 358s could down American helicopters and tilt-wing Ospreys – though why that matters is unclear, since Washington supposedly is not running combat missions in Yemen.

Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman for US Central Command, charged: “They are illicitly smuggled for a purpose and that purpose is to spread lethal assistance to the Houthis…, there’s not a plausible explanation on how these weapons got on to a vessel in Yemen without the sanction of the Iranian government.”

With no hint of irony, he complained that Tehran had been arming the Houthi Ansarullah Revolutionaries since the war’s start – when Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen – and had thereby prolonged the fighting. That is, Iran’s assistance enabled the Yemenis to defend themselves from their much richer and better armed adversary, which was supplied and otherwise aided by the US.

For decades, Washington has allowed Saudi Arabia to essentially hire out the American military as royal bodyguard. The Kingdom is an absolute monarchy without even a hint of religious or political liberty – indeed, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman [MBS], to whom the president and administration officials routinely genuflect, has reduced to nothing the minimal space that previously existed in his country for dissent. His most brazen act, in October 2018, was the murder and dismemberment of Saudi journalist and US resident Jamal Khashoggi.

The United Arab Emirates is not quite so bad, at least if graded on a curve. Abu Dhabi, which has sharply downgraded its involvement in the conflict, has also long committed bombing carnage. Moreover, reports Amnesty International, the UAE imprisoned Yemenis and practiced “detention at gunpoint, torture with electric shocks, waterboarding, hanging from the ceiling, sexual humiliation, prolonged solitary confinement, squalid conditions, inadequate food and water.”

Washington has sold billions of dollars’ worth of aircraft and munitions to Riyadh and the UAE. The Pentagon also provides intelligence assistance to the Saudis in choosing their Yemeni targets, which itself raises serious questions since the royals appear to have intentionally struck civilians. For years, the US military has also refueled Saudi aircraft engaged in bombing Yemen sites, including apartments, hospitals, weddings, funerals, school buses, and commercial sites. 

Of course, Riyadh’s culpability and cant are greater than Washington’s. American officials are aiding and abetting murder; Saudi officials are engaging in it. Riyadh announced that it had recently intercepted missile attacks on Saudi cities. Saudi spokesman Turki al-Malki piously complained: “They were launched in a systematic, deliberate manner to target cities and civilians, which is a flagrant defiance of international humanitarian law…”

Unsurprisingly, Malki failed to mention that he represents one of the world’s richest nations, which attacked one of the poorest. Yemen has long been convulsed by internal conflict. The latest round of fighting had nothing to do with Saudi Arabia. They invaded to restore to power a ruler they believed they could control. To the Saudi royals, everything is about the Saudi royals, irrespective of the cost to anyone else.

As for Malki’s complaint about attacks on Saudi cities, humanitarian groups agree that Riyadh has killed thousands of Yemenis. Two thirds to three quarters of all civilian casualties and property damage have resulted from Saudi and Emirati air attacks. Almost the entire Yemeni population faces death, hunger, poverty, and/or disease, the nation’s commercial, health, residential, and transportation infrastructure having been intentionally destroyed.

Last year, the United Nations warned, “The humanitarian crisis in Yemen remains the worst in the world. Nearly four years of conflict and severe economic decline are driving the country to the brink of famine and exacerbating needs in all sectors.” The UN then estimated that some 24 million people, an astounding 80 percent of the population, needed international assistance. More than 14 million were in “acute need.” The cholera epidemic afflicted a million people. All of these resulted from Riyadh’s invasion.

Another perverse result of Washington’s support for Saudi tyranny has been the unintended transfer of US weapons to Islamist radicals. The Coalition, as the Saudi-Emirati axis styled itself in 2015, has allied with Islamists, including al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, long the most feared national affiliate of Osama bin Laden’s transnational group. According to the Associated Press, the Saudis and Emiratis “cut secret deals with al-Qaeda fighters, paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash.” Militias supported by the Coalition “actively recruit al-Qaeda militants, or those who were recently members, because they’re considered exceptional fighters.”

Equally serious, the Saudis and Emiratis have armed militias, sometimes with American weapons. Amnesty International charged that “the UAE has become a major conduit for armored vehicles, mortar systems, rifles, pistols, and machine guns – which are being illicitly diverted to unaccountable militias accused of war crimes and other serious violations.” The Pentagon recently complained about Iran allegedly transferring missiles to the Ansarullah, yet Riyadh provided antitank missiles to local al-Qaeda forces. Explained CNN, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi “have used the US-manufactured weapons as a form of currency to buy the loyalties of militias or tribes, bolster chosen armed actors, and influence the complex political landscape.”

The Gulf matters much less to America these days: the “Israeli” entity is a regional superpower and the oil markets have diversified. The US has no intrinsic security interest in Yemen. AQAP is a concern, but it is the Saudis and Emiratis who have allied with Takfiri radicals. The conflict is a humanitarian tragedy, but on that score Washington is fighting on the wrong side, on behalf of the brutal aggressor.

The administration should end America’s participation in such an unjust, unnecessary war. That would encourage Riyadh to accelerate discussions with the Ansarullah in search of a diplomatic settlement. But America’s policy also shouldn’t depend on the Saudi position. The shock is not that Iran aided the Yemenis; it’s that Washington is supporting the corrupt, repressive Saudi

Israeli Forces Kill Palestinian, Drag His Body with a Bulldozer in Gaza (VIDEO)

February 23, 2020

Israeli forces killed one Palestinian near the fence separating besieged Gaza Strip from Israel, then used a bulldozer to extract the body and confiscate it.

The Israeli army said that the “soldiers opened fire at two Palestinians placing an explosive device next to the fence”, Reuters reported.Shehab Agency@ShehabAgencyEn

MUST BE RETWEETED WIDELY
Israeli occupation forces use a bulldozer to pull the body of Palestinian young man after killing him near the barbed fence in the south of Gaza.

Embedded video

However, a video, that is sparking outrage on social media, shows a bulldozer approaching the body as two unarmed men were trying to collect it. The two young men run away when the sound of gunfire is heard, and the Israeli military bulldozer confiscates the body. 

The Gaza health ministry said two civilians were wounded by Israeli gunfire at the scene.

(Palestine Chronicle, Shehab Agency, Social Media)

Health Minister Discusses Status of Syria’s Actual Hospitals

February 22, 2020 Miri Wood

US-sponsored terrorists bombed al-Kindi Hospital in Aleppo December 2013

Dr. Ahmed Damiry, Minister of Health held a press conference 16 February to inform the citizenry of the status of Syria’s actual hospitals including details of ongoing rehabilitation projects for the twenty-two hospitals that were closed due to terrorist atrocities of NATO-supported ‘moderate opposition.’

Syrian hospitals appear to have been the hysterical topic of conversation in NATO stenography media, a dominant theme at the ongoing emergency Security Council meetings called by the Three Pee’s, and emotional war pornography courtesy of the fifth column known as Hollywood.

The Hollywood elitists had nominated two fraudumentaries on fake hospitals, yearning to breathe free. One used a child to pimp war crimes, a child whose father is reported to have dropped out of med school, and who counts as his close friend the poisonous urchin who helped kidnap a 12-year-old boy from a hospital, who tormented him and then assisted in his beheading, by a kitchen knife. The other involved an illicit facility in which a Mengele-type pulled a Clockwork Orange, bragging about performing surgeries without anesthesia while playing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy in the background.

Alas, that non-stop Goebbels Big Lie on Syrian hospitals relates only to the imaginary ones, the fake ones that are reported to be bombed, 24/7, always the very last sixty-five million or so of the very last hospitals in al Qaeda occupied regions of Syria, currently Idlib. As there has been little to no reporting on actual hospitals and other medical facilities destroyed by moderate al Qaeda savages — bleached into protagonist status by criminal media and criminal politicians and criminal diplomats, albeit unindicted criminals — there was not a single report on Dr. Damiry’s press conference, by western sources.

NATO operatives continue to play a shell game with their Fake Hospitals of Syria. Despite the UN’s crying poor mouth, OCHA gives the audience of one of its derivative websites to NATO-supported NGOs that bray criminal lies about Syria, including the claim of apocryphal coordinates of illegitimate facilities that treat wounded terrorists to the UN. NATO media then reports these mysterious GPS things as gospel. The NATO klan bullies of the UN bleat about International Humanitarian Law, hospitals, & war crimes. They do not, however, confirm that such coordinates have been shared, as they know this would be in breach of that very IHL of which they too frequently chirp.

https://www.syrianews.cc/un-in-hospitals-bombing-psywar-to-save-natos-last-stronghold-in-idlib/

Dr. Damiry stated there are eighty-eight (88) hospitals in the Syrian Arab Republic. Fifty-eight (58) are general, sixteen (16) are specialized, and fourteen (14) are private. Twenty-six (26) hospitals are out of service, due to atrocities committed against the Syrian health care sector by the deranged psychopaths armed, funded, and drugged by NATO countries and their various underlings, and pimped by the lying, irredeemably corrupt ‘MSM.’

syria health minister
Dr. Ahmed Damiry, Minister of Health.

Despite the actual war criminal bombings of hospitals by takfiri filth, and the illicit, draconian, economic terrorism against Syria by the US and EU, in 2019, twenty-six million (26,000,000) health services were provided to the Syrian citizenry via hospitals and clinics, throughout the country.

On 22 September 2019, Syria’s Prime Minister Imad Khamis inaugurated the Children’s University Hospital in Tartous.

The General Authority of Children's Hospital in Tartous

On 21 October 2019, the Shaba National Hospital in Sweida was inaugurated, to serve a population of one hundred twenty-five thousand (125,000) persons in the city and surrounding villages.

In Damascus countryside, last year, restoration of the Kafr Batna Hospital, and the Harasta, Maliha, and Jaramana clinics was begun. Also recommenced was the construction of Al Rahiba and Kiswah Hospitals, whose completion rates of sixty percent (60%) had to be halted because of the foreign war of terror inflicted on Syria.

Rehabilitative work on Ibn Al Walid Hospital and the Oncology Department at Homs Grand Hospital, continue. Additionally, there are two studies involving reconstruction work on the National Hospital, and whether to rehabilitate Al Rastan Hospital as a general facility, or to convert it to specialize in cardiac care.

In Lattakia, the Ministry of Health is rehabilitating the Martyr Ibrahim Naama Hospital, in addition to building a new hospital in Jableh. In May 2016, a suicide bomber blew up the Emergency Department of the Jableh National Hospital. It was part of seven coordinated bombings in the city and in Tartous, one of the bloodiest days in the NATO terrorist proxy war against Syria. More than one hundred eighty persons were murdered.

MSM that currently howls about the fraudulent hospitals did report on that attack, but barely, and in colonialist-racist fashion, described the areas of carnage as Assad strongholds or Alawite neighborhoods.

Minister Damiry also reported rehabilitation studies for the Children’s and Eye Hospitals in Aleppo, the National Hospital in Qamishli, the Nawa Hospital in Daraa, and all the hospitals in Deir Ezzor; those not destroyed by the terrorists were demolished by the terrorist Coalition.

syrian-democratic-forces
CNN cheers destruction as far as the eye can see. This is al Raqqa, courtesy of the US-led war criminal coalition.

As part of the imperial propaganda regarding Syria’s hospitals involves creating the inference that there is no Ministry of Health, Syria News repeats Dr. Damiry’s report that 26,000,000 health services were provided to Syrians in 2019.

Forty health centers, 8 hospitals rehabilitated and put into service in Aleppo, SANA reported.

Wahhabis Continue Destroying Syria’s Infrastructure – Al Kindi Hospital in Rubble Now

— Miri Wood

NETANYAHU “OPTIMISTIC” ISRAEL CAN USE POLITICAL PRESSURE TO SHUT DOWN ICC WAR CRIMES PROBE

 

Since the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced it would investigate war crimes committed by Israel in the Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank last December, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been attempting to rally Israel’s allies in a multilateral effort to stop the ICC’s probe.

Those efforts have now left Netanyahu “optimistic,” with the embattled Prime Minister reportedly telling members of his cabinet that Israel’s efforts to lobby other countries against the ICC case is paying off, according to a recent report published by Reuters. “We are struggling against this [proceeding] and, at our side, I must say, are many friends around the world [which] joined the U.S. in a steadfast stand alongside Israel,” Reuters quoted Netanyahu as saying.

Those other friendly countries aside from the United States include Brazil, Hungary, Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Australia, all of which have applied to file legal opinions with the ICC over its decision to investigate Israeli war crimes in occupied Palestine as part of an effort to prevent the ICC probe from proceeding as planned.

These legal opinions are likely to echo claims already made by both the U.S. and Israel that the court has no jurisdiction over Gaza or the West Bank due to the absence of a sovereign Palestinian state, as Palestine is currently subjected to Israeli military law in the West Bank and a crippling blockade in the case of the Gaza Strip. Neither Israel nor the U.S. are ICC member states while Palestine became a member state in 2015.

This legal argument has been directly disputed by the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which is comprised of 57 Muslim-majority countries and has argued that Palestinians do have sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza Strip. 

Another likely ally of Israel in opposing and sabotaging the ICC probe is the United Kingdom, as the recently-elected Conservative government has moved to strengthen the country’s ties to Israel even more by promoting anti-boycott laws targeting Palestinian rights activists, among other measures. One U.K. pro-Israel lobby group, the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), has close ties to the current U.K. government and has openly called for U.K. leadership to oppose the ICC investigation into Israel’s war crimes.

Weaponizing Antisemitism 

Netanyahu’s frenzied yet behind-the-scenes lobbying efforts to halt the ICC probe suggests that the probe greatly worries Israel at a time when Netanyahu has linked his reelection bid to the annexation of the vast majority of Palestine’s West Bank, an act that would be flagrantly illegal under international law. In fact, the move would be so illegal under international law that Israel’s Attorney General’s office warned Netanyahu that doing so would be “indefensible” in front of the ICC and would open up top Israeli officials to prosecution.

Since the probe was announced in December, Netanyahu has not only heavily lobbied allied countries to oppose the ICC’s efforts, but he has also used a stream of attacks against both the ICC and its chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, in an effort to discredit the probe by means of character assassination. 

For instance, Netanyahu claimed in late December that “new edicts are being cast against the Jewish people – anti-Semitic edicts by the International Criminal Court telling us that we, the Jews standing here next to this wall … in this city [Jerusalem], in this country, have no right to live here and that by doing so, we are committing a war crime (emphasis added).” 

However, what Netanyahu failed to note is that the ICC investigation is not related to Zionism or Israel’s “right to exist,” but instead its use of military force in Palestine in ways that violate international law as well as the growing presence of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, themselves illegal under international law. Fatou Bensouda responded to Netanyahu’s charges of anti-Semitism as “particularly regrettable” and “without merit” in a subsequent interview with The Times of Israel.

Netanyahu’s concern over the probe could also be found within the recent “Deal of the Century” that was created by the Trump administration in conjunction with Israel’s Netanyahu-led government, as that deal would require Palestinians to “dismiss all pending actions” before the ICC that are related to Israel. Surprisingly, that aspect of the so-called “peace deal” went largely unreported after the deal was revealed late last month.

The creation of the plan was largely overseen by President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who also boasts close personal ties to Netanyahu. Kushner told Palestinians to “take a cold shower” and accept the plan so they don’t “screw up,” he said, like with “every other opportunity that they’ve ever had in their existence.”


By Whitney Webb
Source: MintPress News

ALEPPO CITY’S COUNTRYSIDE FULLY SECURED, SYRIANS IN ALEPPO CELEBRATE THE END OF TERRORISM

Ibrahim Mohammadon Sunday

For the first time since 19-07-2012
#Aleppo city is free of terrorism

#Syriab_Arab_Army 🇸🇾✌🏻💪🏻❤️

Image may contain: sky, tree and outdoor
Image may contain: sky, cloud and outdoor

In December 2016, the Syrian Arab Army, Russia & allies liberated the northern Syrian city of Aleppo of the al-Qaeda and equally-heinous terrorists who had occupied and terrorized civilians in the city since 2012.

In the years subsequent, Aleppo to a large degree returned to peace, with rebuilding occurring in the hard-hit Old City, with displaced Syrians returning (contrary to the lies of UK Channel 4, among other war propagandizing media).

Yet, civilians since that Aleppo’s liberation continued to be terrorized by the presence of terrorists in the countryside of Aleppo.

Last year (January 2019), visiting Aleppo, I returned to the Lairamoun industrial district in the city’s west. I had been there in November 2016, had seen the nightmarish underground prison of the Free Syrian Army, used to hold Syrian soldiers and civilians alike, a true dungeon replete with suffocating solitary confinement cells.

In January 2019, I went to a factory 500 metres from al-Qaeda snipers. Aleppo MP Fares Shehabi explained to me how the factory owner and workers defied the existence of terrorists at close proximity and re-opened the textile factory.  As he spoke, he took me to a door which, when opening, exposed us to potential sniper fire–the sniper fire the courageous factory workers were exposed to.

53034464_2344911772185470_220652969874423808_n

Al-Qaeda stronghold near Lairamoun, Aleppo, 400 to 500 metres from textile factory

Shehabi’s powerful words include:

“This factory is on a front line in the war against terror. 400 to 500 metres away, the Tajik Brigades of the Islamic Turkistan Army, a branch of al-Qaeda in Syria.

This factory was rubble two years ago. We rehabilitated it. We are doing this as a message of defiance against all who conspired against the people of Aleppo, against the economy of Syria. The enemy was sniping at us , launching mortars, when we were fixing this factory to work again.

Show me one place in the world with a production situation like this, a factory being rehabilitated under these circumstances.

This is why they out us under sanctions, this is why they consider us enemies.

How can I be an enemy of freedom and democracy if I want our people to work, to make money, my country to have a production economy, and I don’t yield to al-Qaeda gangs in close proximity to me.

…imagine the difficult situation in which these heroes, the factory workers and owners, had to go through in order to defy al-Nusra and defy Turkey, and rise up again from the ashes. This is a real example of how you rise up, undefeated.”

Eva Karene Bartlettabout 12 months ago

After filming Fares Shehabi / Faris Shihabi speaking powerfully about the courage and resilience of a Lairamoun factory owner and its workers 100s metres from al Qaeda snipers,
[see: https://www.facebook.com/EvaBoBeeva/posts/2344877145522266 ]

Firas Darwish explained some terrorist graffiti left on the outside of the factory: a terrorist sniper nicknamed Abu Mohammed, proud of head shots. …See More

Image may contain: outdoor
Image may contain: outdoor

Fares Shehabion Sunday

هكذا كانت #حلب في أسوأ ايامها عام ٢٠١٣..!

عشنا في حصار كامل في كل شيء و فقدنا اكثر من ١١ الف شهيد مدني و ٦٠ الف جريح و لم نستسلم و لم نتخاذل و لم نفقد الامل للحظة لا في أنفسنا و لا في جيشنا و لا في قائدنا..!

اليوم نعيش حلم اصبح حقيقة..نعيش معجزة صنعها هذا الجيش الجبار و الذي لولاه لكنا جميعاً في خبر كان.. …See More

Image may contain: plant
Image may contain: outdoor
Image may contain: sky and outdoor
Image may contain: fire
Image may contain: one or more people and people sitting

In November 2016 I wrote of the terrorism Aleppo civilians experienced that month and in prior months:

My article on the November 3 terrorist attacks noted:

On the afternoon of Nov. 3, after meeting with Dr. Mohammed Batikh, director of Al-Razi Hospital, the victims of terror attacks which had begun a few hours prior began to arrive one after another, maimed and critically injured. The vehicle bombings and bombardment of Grad missiles, among other attacks, left 18 people dead and more than 200 injured, according to Dr. Zaher Hajo, the head of forensic medicine at Al-Razi Hospital.

The body of a civilian who was killed in the Nov. 3 attacks in Aleppo. Nov. 3, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

The corridors and emergency ward at Al-Razi Hospital, one of two state-run hospitals in Aleppo, quickly became clogged with the injured and grieving family members. In one crowded interior corridor, one of the wounded screamed out in pain: “Ya, Allah! Ya, Allah!”

In another corridor, a 15-year-old boy with a cast on one leg and bandages on his head, said the mortar attack which injured him had killed his 4-year-old cousin and left his 6-year-old cousin with critical injuries.

In a front room, a mother wailed for her son who had suffered severe injuries. She screamed and pleaded for someone to save him, her only son. Not long after, though, the news came in: the 26-year-old had died. Her son, a doctor, was not the first medical professional to die in terrorists’ routine bombings of Aleppo neighborhoods.

14976829_1341135292563128_2987037192082858624_o

Dr. Nabil Antaki, a gastroenterologist from Aleppo, with whom I met on my trips to Aleppo in July and August, messaged me in October about his friend and colleague, Dr. Omar, who was injured on Oct. 6 when terrorist factions unleashed an attack on Jamiliye Street, killing 10 people. Just a few days after the attack, Dr. Omar, too, died.

At the morgue behind Al-Razi Hospital on Nov. 3, inconsolable family members leaned against the wall or sat on the pavement, coming to grips with the deaths of loved ones.

One 14-year-old boy had been there on Nov. 2, when his father was killed. On Nov. 3, he returned when his mother was killed. Both of this boy’s parents are dead, both killed in terrorist attacks on the city’s New Aleppo district.

A man spoke of a 10-year-old nephew who was shot in the head by a terrorist sniper while the boy was on his roof.

A woman and her children leaned against an iron rail next to the door to the morgue, weeping over the death of her husband, their father, who was killed while parking a car. When the man’s mother arrived, she collapsed, shrieking in grief.

The body of a civilian who was killed in the Nov. 3 attacks in Aleppo.

And in the midst of all of this, all these women and children, a car arrived at the morgue with the body of yet another victim of the day’s terror attacks, Mohammed Majd Darwish, 74. His upper body was so bloody that it was unclear whether he had been decapitated.

Near the morgue, Bashir Shehadeh, a man in his forties, said his family had been displaced already from Jisr al-Shughour, a city in Idlib. His mother, some of his friends, and his cousin have been killed by terrorist factions’ shellings. He said enough was enough, and called on the SAA to eliminate the terrorist threat.

Al-Razi’s Dr. Batikh said a private hospital, Al-Rajaa, was hit by a mortar attack. “They cannot do operations now, the operating room is out of service.”

One of the most notable attacks on hospitals was the December 2013 double truck bombing of Al-Kindi Hospital, the largest and best cancer treatment hospital in the Middle East. I have previously reported on other attacks on hospitals in Aleppo, including the May 3 rocket attack which gutted Al-Dabeet, a maternity hospital, killing three women. On Sept. 10, Dr. Antaki messaged me:

Yesterday, a rocket, sent by the terrorists, hit a maternity hospital in Aleppo in Muhafazat Street. Two persons working in the hospital were injured. No death. But the point is that it is a hospital and it was hit by a rocket.”

Dr. Batikh and Dr. Mazen Rahmoun, deputy director of Al-Razi, said the hospital once had 68 ambulances, but now there are only six. The rest, they said, were either stolen by terrorist factions or destroyed.

Aleppo’s doctors continue to treat the daily influx of injured and ill patients in spite of the dearth of ambulances and effects of Western sanctions which mean a lack of medical equipment, replacement parts, and medicine for critical illnesses like cancer.

According to the hospital’s head forensic medicine, Dr. Hajo, in the last five years, 10,750 civilians have been killed in Aleppo, 40 percent of whom were women and children. In the past year alone, 328 children have been killed by terrorist shelling in Aleppo, and 45 children were killed by terrorist snipers.

Humanitarian Crossings: Shelling of Castello Road

Less than 100 metres away, the second of two mortars fired by terrorist factions less than 1 km from Castello Road on Nov. 4. The road and humanitarian corridor were targeted at least six times that day by terrorist factions. Nov. 4, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

On Nov. 4, prior to our 9:30 a.m. arrival at the Bustan al-Qasr crossing and until our departure an hour later, no one had been able to cross from the area just beyond crossing, which is occupied by Jaysh al-Fatah militants.

Two weeks prior to our arrival, journalists had reported that terrorist factions heavily shelled the crossing and areas around it starting in the early morning.

A Syrian general at the crossing confirmed that shelling had taken place on Oct. 20, adding that three police officers had been wounded. A journalist in the delegation asked the general what he would say to Syrian civilians like Bashir Shehadeh, who demanded that the SAA eliminate the terrorist factions.

“We need to be patient, because the civilians there are not able to leave, they are not guilty,” the general replied. “We don’t work the way that the terrorists work.”

Regarding the amnesty decree issued by President Bashar Assad in late July, the general explained that terrorists who want to be granted amnesty could lay down their arms. Those who choose to go on to Idlib would be granted safe passage by the Syrian government and army, in coordination with the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

According to the general, when two militants arrived at the Bustan al-Qasr crossing about two months ago, they surrendered their arms and proceeded under amnesty.

Five months ago, he said, 12 civilians crossed there, were treated in Aleppo’s hospitals, and returned to their homes in terrorist-held eastern Aleppo.  

At the Castello Road humanitarian crossing, the large green buses which were said to be evacuating militants from areas of eastern Aleppo in recent weeks were there again, waiting to ferry away more. Ten ambulances, three buses, and 14 minivans were lined up in anticipation of any civilians or militants trying to leave terrorist-occupied areas, whether for safe passage elsewhere or to settle in government-secured areas of Aleppo.

Ten ambulances wait at the Castello Road crossing to treat anyone exiting via the humanitarian corridors established by the Syrian government and Russia, including militants who lay down their arms. Nov. 4, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

George Sire, 25, an anesthesiologist at Salloum Hospital in Aleppo, was one of the volunteers who arrived at the crossing with five of the private hospital’s ambulances, at the request of the Syrian government.

When speaking with a Syrian commander about permitting men who had used arms against Syrian civilians and soldiers to lay down their arms and reconcile, he said they are sons of the country and urged them to reconcile.

At around 1:30 p.m. the first shell struck, hitting near Castello Road. About 10 minutes later, while I was being interviewed, a second hit, this time considerably closer, within 100 meters — close enough, in fact, to create a cloud of dark smoke over the road. It prompted security to usher me away from the road and move our delegation away from the crossing.

I later learned that another five shells targeted the crossing, injuring a Syrian journalist and two Russian soldiers.

No one passed through this or any of the other seven humanitarian corridors that day.

And:

“Last Friday, I visited one of Aleppo’s main public parks, a once-beautiful park where fountains danced to the songs of Arab greats like Oum Kalthoum, and simple cafes were full.

Now the fountains are dry, the main one littered with rubble from one of many terrorist shellings of the park, and one of the main cafes out of commission after being hit by a terrorist shell roughly a year and a half ago.

While people do continue to frequent the park, the risk of being killed by a mortar or rocket remains, as pretty much everywhere in greater Aleppo.

I had read about the July 22, 2016, terrorist rocket on the park which killed civilians while they were in the park on a summer Friday.

15032056_10157783506420301_5591484153448794835_n

Photo via Pierre Le Corf

SANA news reported on that day that: “Eleven civilians were killed, among them a child and two women, while 44 others were injured in terrorist attacks with rocket shells and sniper bullets on neighborhoods and the public facilities in Aleppo city on Friday.

…eight civilians were killed and 34 others injured in a rocket shell fired by terrorist groups on the public park.”

In November, a local took me to the area where the murdered woman was sitting when the rocket’s shrapnel killed she, another woman, a child, and injured nearby civilians.

The park was busy this Friday, not as busy as a hot summer day would have seen it, but still had people sitting on such benches or on the plastic chairs of the cafe behind where the murdered women had been sitting.

Walking around the large park, we saw evidence of shelling…on the pavement and in the small plots of grass. Some were like the small holes in the pavement that I’m used to seeing in the Old City of Damascus, ravaged by terrorists’ mortars. Others were mini-craters in the grass, including one near a cafe which was hit apparently about a year and a half ago.

86697175_307211110236778_8631484930255224832_n

Speaking with local security there, they estimated that between 40-50 shells have hit the park in the past few years. The number could be greater, or less, but the fact is the park has been targeted, as have public places around the city of over 1.5 million people, who on a daily basis facethis mortar/rocket/Grad missile/explosive bullet/gas canister terrorism.

This park in summer would have not only been a spot to try to briefly escape the hell of 6 years of foreign war on Syria, but would also have had many displaced Syrians who have fled terrorist-occupied areas to government-secured areas, many of whom during the day sought refuge in the shade from blistering heat.

Without electricity for years, thanks to the terrorist factions who control the area where the power plant is, Aleppo residents who can afford it buy power by the ampere. Many can only afford the basics–some light bulbs and power for their fridge.

From a photo essay I published in mid-2016, after my second Aleppo visit:

The power plant lies in areas controlled by terrorist factions. For years, Aleppo residents have suffered from a lack of power, and compensate by purchasing generator-supplied electricity. Not cheap, some opt to buy just 1 ampere worth, which according to Aleppo resident Nabil Antaki costs around 4000 Syrian pounds a month (roughly US$8) . Two amperes will run a small television. Four amperes, a fridge, small television and a few bulbs.

10

Many others can’t afford that, period. I remember the suffocating heat even on an August visit to Aleppo, staying in a friend’s place without electricity or water…the desire to be out in an open place where one could breathe, sweat less, was strong…

In the canal running through the park, a boy around 14 years old stripped to his underwear and dove in, swept down river by the quick current, scrambling out and up the wall to dive in anew. When we passed the river a little later, a girl had joined in. I asked whether this would be frowned upon and my friend laughed at me, “We are not al-Qaeda here.” (I remembered the words of a man who I’d spoken with the night before, who spoke of al-Nusra in occupied eastern areas forcing women and girls to cover even their wrists and hands. This girl would have no freedom in areas occupied by the West’s “rebels”.)

Scenes like these, of seeming normalcy, can be shattered in an instant, with the fall of a mortar or shell fired by terrorists which the West deems as “moderates” and whose crimes Western leaders continue to ignore.

Eva Karene Bartlettabout 3 years ago

Last Friday, I visited one of Aleppo’s main public parks, a once-beautiful park where fountains danced to the songs of Arab greats like Oum Kalthoum, and simple cafes were full.

Now the fountains are dry, the main one littered with rubble from one of many terrorist shellings of the park, and one of the main cafes out of commission after being hit by a terrorist shell roughly a year and a half ago.

While people do continue to frequent the park, the risk of being killed by a …See More

No photo description available.
No photo description available.
Image may contain: one or more people, tree, grass, outdoor and nature
No photo description available.
Image may contain: 1 person
32

Small public park in Aziziya. People who are displaced frequent such parks, to get out of the small apartments or government-supplied shelters they live in.12

From Aziziya district, on July 4, half a kilometer away, the explosion of a terrorist-fired bomb. Around 5 pm, this is a busy time when streets are packed with cars and pedestrians; terrorists know they can kill and maim more civilians when attacking at these busy hours. Minutes later, an anti-aircraft explosive bullet landed roughly 15 metres away from my Aziziya venue. Had it landed on one of the parked cars, there would have been many casualties. A day later, such an explosive bullet killed the mother of an Aleppo friend, at her home. Photo: Eva Bartlett

In that 2016 photo essay, I wrote also about the villages of Nubl and Zahra’a, north of Aleppo:

Hell Cannon-fired gas canister bombs litter the countryside around Aleppo and on the route to Nubl and Zahra’a. These, and larger variations, are what Western-backed terrorists have rained down on the city of Aleppo, as well as besieged Foua and Kafarya in Idlib governorate. Manufactured locally, fired upon civilians daily, gas canister bombs get virtually no mention in corporate media, although their impact is deadly.

14

The roughly 65,000 people of Nubl and Zahra’a villages, under siege from terrorist factions of the so-called FSA, al-Nusra, and affiliated factions for three and a half years, were on February 3, 2016, liberated from the choke-hold which strangled them. Zeinab Sharbo, 25, and Mounthaher Khatib, 26, each have young children who suffered for want of food and basic elements of life, and who were traumatized by the terrorists’ bombing of the villages. Although corporate media, when deigning to mention the villages, usually focused on their predominately Shia composition, Sunnis also live in the villages. According to Zeinab, “Sectarianism wasn’t a problem before, we were brothers and sisters, we intermarried with neighbouring villages.”

15

Abdul Karim Assad, 7, has painful face disfiguration from a terrorist-fired mortar which burned his face. Under siege at the time, the boy was only treated with basic medical care in a barebones hospital in Zahra’a. The boy is not originally from Nubl, but from Idlib, from which his grandfather fled when terrorists invaded. He is another poster child for the terrorism inflicted upon Syria.

17

Aleppo’s over 1.5 million residents are depending on trucks from outside of the city to bring in the basics of life. Unable to use the main highway, and now unable to use the paved Ramouseh road, trucks travel an extended distance over many rough dirt roads to enter Aleppo from its north.

Dabbit

The Dabeet maternity hospital, the inside destroyed and outside badly damaged on May 3, 2016, by terrorist rocket fire, is one of numerous hospitals targeted by terrorists in Syria. The May 3 attack killed three women. A week later, the hospital was hit by terrorist mortar fire. Aleppo’s Kindi hospital, destroyed by terrorists, was one of the largest cancer hospitals in the region.

*

Back to the present.

The Press Office of President Assad on February 17, 2020 published his latest speech, addressing this restoration of peace to Aleppo and the need to do so in Idlib. Syriana Analysis has subtitled this speech:

Partial transcript of recent speech by President Assad:

“When Aleppo city was liberated at the end of 2016, I said that what was before the liberation of Aleppo city will not be the same as what will be after that, and I based that on my knowledge of where the members of our Armed Forces are aiming with their hearts and minds. I based that on my conviction that the patriotism of the people of Aleppo and their fealty to their homeland and the homeland’s army will overturn the calculations of the enemies.

“This is what happened, but Aleppo had to pay a great price equal to the greatness of its people and the patriotism of its position; years of violent and barbaric shelling that affected most neighborhoods, tens of thousands of martyrs, injured people, orphans, people who lost children, and widows. Years of siege without water or electricity or other life necessities, all for Aleppo to kneel and for her people to surrender.

“With every treacherous shell that had fallen, the enemies’ hopes would grow that Aleppo would become another Aleppo, one that never existed throughout history, an Aleppo that does not constitute with its twin Damascus the wings by which the homeland soars; rather an Aleppo whose people would stand with traitors in front of masters, kneeling and prostrating themselves before them, beginning for a few dollars and much disgrace.

“That was in their dreams; but in our real world, with every shell that fell, fear fell and the will to challenge grew. With every martyr, nationalist spirit grew and faith in the homeland became stronger. In our real world, it remained the real Aleppo, the Aleppo of history, nobility, and authenticity. And because it is so, its people did not settle for steadfastness just in the sense of bearing of pain and suffering and acceptance of the status quo; but rather in the sense of work and production that persisted throughout the years of the siege despite the conditions that contradict any economic sense.

“Despite that, this city kept contributing – even if at a bare minimum – to national economy, and I am confident that this type of steadfastness which reflects a concrete will and a deep-rooted sense of belonging is what will raise Aleppo from the ashes of war and restore its natural and leading position in Syria’s economy,” President al-Assad said.

President al-Assad added “It is true that liberating the city in 2016 did not achieve the desired safety for the city at the time, and it remained under the threat of treacherous and cowardly shells, and it is also true today that victory in one battle does not mean victory in the war, but that is by the abstract military logic which is based on endings and results; however, by national logic, victory begins with the beginning of steadfastness even if it was at day one, and by that logic, Aleppo is victorious, and Syria is victorious. We are all victorious over the fear they had tried to instill in our hearts, victorious over the delusions they tried to instill in our minds, victorious over fragmentation, hatred, betrayal, and all those who represent or bear or practice these qualities.

“However, we are fully aware that this liberation does not mean the end of the war, or the failure of schemes, or the disappearance of terrorism, or the surrender of enemies, but it certainly means rubbing their noses in the dirt as a prelude for complete defeat, sooner or later,” the President affirmed.

“It also means that we must not relax; rather we must prepare for the coming battles. Therefore, the battle to liberate the countryside of Aleppo and Idleb will continue regardless of some empty sound bubbles coming from the north, and the battle for liberating all Syrian soil, crushing terrorism, and achieving stability will also continue.”

His Excellency went on to say “Our Syrian Arab Army will never hesitate to carry out its national duties, and it will be as it always has been: an army from the people and for the people. Throughout history, no army has emerged victorious unless the people are united with it in its battle, and when it is united with the people in their vision and cause, and this is what we have witnessed in Aleppo and other Syrian cities, where you embraced the army it protected you, defended you, and made sacrifices for you.

“While we are experiencing times of joy, we must remember that these moments have been made possible by years of pain, heartache, and sadness, for the loss of a dear one that gave their life for the lives and happiness of others. As we bow in honor of the greatness of our martyrs and injured people, it is also our duty to stand in honor of the greatness of their mighty families. If victory is to be dedicated, then it is dedicated to them, and if anyone should receive credit for it, then they deserve the credit. I salute them for the children their raised, and salute their children for their sacrifices. I salute every one of the heroes of our great army and the allied forces begin them. I salute the strength of their bodies in the cold and frost as we bask in warmth and safety.”

President al-Assad went on to salute “our brothers, friends, and allies who stood shoulder to shoulder with the army on the ground and were guardian eagles in the sky, their blood intermingling with the blood of our army that was spilled in Aleppo, Aleppo the faithful to its homeland and history, which will never forget the blood of those who made sacrifices for it, and which will return as it was and stronger.

“Our beloved people in Aleppo, I congratulate you on the victory of your will, the will by which we will wage the greater battle: the battle to build Aleppo. By the will of all the Syrian people we will build Syria, and we will continue liberation, God willing.”

If you haven’t already read it, consider reading my January 2019 compilation:

Turns Out President Assad Was Right About Terrorism in Syria; Turns Out He Has Massive Popular Support in Syria

Eva Karene Bartlett about a year agoTurns Out President Assad Was Right About Terrorism in Syria; Turns Out He Has Massive Popular Support in SyriaIn the workshop of a Sunni Syrian, with his Christmas tree, Imam Ali photo, Quranic calligraphy, and photo of President Bashar al-Assad .See More

because corporate media has been lying to you, not Syria’s president, not Russia.

-Related: US to grant $35 million to promote its fake news bubble in Syria & control local media

%d bloggers like this: