Syria Slams US Meddling in the Syrian Constitution Committee Talks

Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Damascus

Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Damascus

The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs slammed the regime of Donald Trump for its attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries after the US State Department issued a statement to interfere in the works of the Syrian Constitution Committees deliberations in Geneva.

A spokesperson for the ministry said to the Syrian official news agency SANA ‘the dialogue is a Syrian-Syrian one and no one has the right to interfere in it or support any party under any pretext.’

The spokesperson outlined that the role of the United Nations represented by its special envoy Geir Pederson is limited to facilitating the committees’ discussions only and does not interfere in the contents.

Earlier, the US State Department issued a statement accusing the Syrian delegation to the Geneva talks to discuss amendments to the Syrian constitution of impeding the talks by placing obstacles.

US state department statement interfering in Syrian constitution discussion committee
Trump Regime’s State Dept statement: https://twitter.com/statedeptspox/status/1200867358295941120

The Syrian delegation asked the Turkish delegation to set the principles on Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity before discussing less important details in the constitution, the delegation sent by the Turkish regime of the madman Erdogan rejected to set such a principle. Erdogan Regime Delegation threw a tantrum, refused to even enter the meeting hall, and issued its rejection via media, violating the agreed-upon Code of Conduct, similar to Erdogan-the-Guarantor consistent breach of the de-escalation zones in Syria.

Observers following the talks referred their rejections to the conflict of interest it would cause with their sponsor carrying out an illegal incursion of northern Syria.

Syrian constitution discussion committee meeting - Geneva

The condemnation by the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was expected, firstly, it’s a blatant attempt by the US to achieve in politics and diplomatic pressure what it failed by sponsoring terrorist groups in Syria and by direct invasion, secondly, it’s the same US regime that its officials have been crying non-stop for the past 3 years over alleged Russian interference in their own ‘democratical’ system claiming that some accounts from Russia bought Facebook ads worth of around US$ 3000(!) which placed Donald Trump as the president of the USA!

It’s the same regime that spent hundreds of billions of dollars directly and through its regional slaves to topple yet another legitimate government in the region and this time in Syria, and replace the elected officials with planted puppets.

The author of this post is trying to feel sorry for the US citizens and taxpayers whose government is dealing with double-face around the world, but to be honest, I’m failing to feel sorry. It’s been endless times their government interfered in every other country around the world and they spent hundreds of millions of dollars of their hard-earned tax money on investigations of alleged Russian interference worth of 3000 dollars. No one can be that simple, that dumb, and that naive for that long period of time and for those countless times their government on behalf of them and using their resources have committed such crimes and violations of international law abroad, it’s like the US citizens themselves support these heinous acts.

Rebuilding Syria – without Syria’s oil

November 01, 2019

Rebuilding Syria – without Syria’s oil

By Pepe Escobar – Posted with permission

Compare US pillaging with Russia-Iran-Turkey’s active involvement in a political solution to normalize Syria

What happened in Geneva this Wednesday, in terms of finally bringing peace to Syria, could not be more significant: the first session of the Syrian Constitutional Committee.

The Syrian Constitutional Committee sprang out of a resolution passed in January 2018 in Sochi, Russia, by a body called the Syrian National Dialogue Congress.

The 150-strong committee breaks down as 50 members of the Syrian opposition, 50 representing the government in Damascus and 50 representatives of civil society. Each group named 15 experts for the meetings in Geneva, held behind closed doors.

This development is a direct consequence of the laborious Astana process – articulated by Russia, Iran and Turkey. Essential initial input came from former UN Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. Now UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen is working as a sort of mediator.

The committee started its deliberations in Geneva in early 2019.

Crucially, there are no senior members of the administration in Damascus nor from the opposition – apart from Ahmed Farouk Arnus, who is a low-ranking diplomat with the Syrian Foreign Ministry.

Among the opposition, predictably, there are no former leaders of weaponized factions. And no “moderate rebels.” The delegates include several former and current parliament members, university rectors and journalists.

After this first round, significantly, the committee’s co-chair, Ahmad Kuzbari, said: “We hope that our next meeting could take place in our native land, in our beloved Damascus, the oldest continuously inhabited capital in history.”

Even the opposition, which is part of the committee, hopes that a political deal will be clinched next year. According to co-chair Hadi al-Bahra: “I hope that the 75th anniversary of the United Nations next year will be an opportunity to celebrate another achievement by the universal organization, namely the success of efforts under the auspices of a special envoy for political process, who will bring peace and justice to all Syrians.”

Join the patrol

The committee’s work in Geneva proceeds in parallel to ever-changing facts on the ground. These will certainly force more face-to-face negotiations between Presidents Putin and Erdogan, as Erdogan himself confirmed: “A conversation with Putin can take place any time. Everything depends on the course of events.”

“Events” seem not to be that incandescent, so far, even as Erdogan, predictably, releases the whiff of a threat in the air: “We reserve the right to resume military operation in Syria if terrorists approach at the distance of 30km to Turkey’s borders or continue attacks from any other Syrian area.”

Erdogan also said the de facto safe zone along the Turkish-Syrian border could be “expanded,” something that he would have to clear in minute detail with Moscow.

Those threats have already manifested on the ground. On Wednesday, Turkey and allied Islamist factions launched an attack against Tal Tamr, a historic Assyrian Christian enclave 50km deep inside Syrian territory – far beyond the scope of the 10km patrol zone or the 30km “safe” zone.

Poorly-armed Syrian troops pulled out under fierce attack, and with no apparent Russian cover. The Syrian military on the same day issued a public statement calling on the Syrian Democratic Forces to reintegrate under its command. The SDF has said a compromise must be reached first over semi-autonomy for the northeastern region. Thousands of residents in the meantime fled farther south to the more protected city of Hasakeh.

Two facts are absolutely crucial. The Syrian Kurds have completed their pull out ahead of schedule, as confirmed by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu. And, this Friday, Russia and Turkey start their joint military patrols to the depth of 7km away from the border, part of the de facto safe zone in northeast Syria.

The devil in the immense details is how Ankara is going to manage the territories that it now actually controls, and to which it plans to relocate as many as 2 million Syrian refugees.

Your oil? Mine

Then there’s the nagging issue that simply won’t go away: the American drive to “secure the oil” (Trump) and “protect” Syrian oilfields (the Pentagon), for all practical purposes from Syria.

In Geneva, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov – alongside Iran’s Javad Zarif and Turkey’s Mevlut Cavusoglu – could not have been more scathing. Lavrov said Washington’s plan is “arrogant,” and violates international law. The very American presence on Syrian soil is “illegal,” he said.

All across the Global South, especially among countries in the Non-Aligned Movement, this is being interpreted, stripped to the bone, for what it is: the United States government illegally taking possession of natural resources of a third country via a military occupation.

And the Pentagon is warning that anyone attempting to contest it will be shot on sight. It remains to be seen whether the US Deep State would be willing to engage in a hot war with Russia over a few Syrian oilfields.

Under international law, the whole “securing the oil” scam is a euphemism for pillaging, pure and simple. Every single takfiri or jihadi outfit operating across the “Greater Middle East” will converge, perversely, to the same conclusion: US “efforts” across the lands of Islam are all about the oil.

Now compare that with Russia-Iran-Turkey’s active involvement in a political solution and normalization of Syria – not to mention, behind the scenes, China, which quietly donates rice and aims for widespread investment in a pacified Syria positioned as a key Eastern Mediterranean node of the New Silk Roads.

 

الأميركيّون مع اللجنة الدستوريّة السوريّة غربي الفرات فقط!

سبتمبر 26, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

بدأ التفاؤل بتشكيل اللجنة الدستورية السورية يتراجع لسببين: رفض الأكراد في شرق الفرات والشمال لها، والتباينات الداخلية بين أطرافها حول المواضيع الأساسية للنقاش.

وكان أطراف مؤتمر أستانة روسيا وتركيا وايران توصلوا قبل ايام عدة بمشاركة هامة من الامم المتحدة على تحديد 150 شخصية سورية سياسية هم اعضاء اللجنة الدستورية، من الموالاة والمعارضة يتولون إنتاج صيغة سياسية لحل الازمة في سورية.

فاختارت الدولة 50 عضواً ومثلها المعارضة فيما تولّت الامم المتحدة اختيار 50 شخصية سورية بموافقة الدولة على أن تبدأ هذه اللجنة أعمالها أواخر تشرين الاول المقبل بهدف انتاج آليات سياسية تنهي الحرب على سورية التي اندلعت قبل ثماني سنوات.

للتذكير فقط فإن الأميركيين والخليجيين والاتراك دعموا بشكل عسكري مباشر حيناً وبالتمويل والتسليح والتدريب دائماً نحو مئة الف ارهابي ونيّف معظمهم من الأجانب الذين اخترقوا الحدود السورية بتغطية من مخابرات الدول المجاورة.

وكان الهدف اسقاط الدولة السورية او تفتيتها. لكن الانتصارات العسكرية لمحور الدولة وحلفائها الروس وحزب الله والايرانيين، أدى الى انكفاء الارهاب الى شرقي الفرات والشمال بموازاة احتلال تركي لعفرين وادلب بلبوس منظمات ارهابية.

ضمن هذه المعطيات بدأ محور أستانة الثلاثي محاولات لإطلاق تسوية سياسية منذ عامين ضمن معادلة الإصرار السوري الايراني على تحرير البلاد والمراوغة التركية الباحثة عن نفوذ عثماني لاردوغان وهندسة روسية تريد تحرير سورية مع جذب تركيا اليها وعدم فتح حرب كبيرة مع الاميركيين.

لقد بدا ان هناك ربطاً تركياً بين سحب «ارهابيي انقرة» من ادلب وبين تشكيل لجنة دستورية يحوز الترك فيها، على وجود سياسي من بين مناصريهم من الاخوان المسلمين السوريين.

فكان ان احتكرت تركيا وبشكل شبه كامل لائحة المشاركين على لوائح المعارضة وعلى رأسهم نصر الحريري رئيس ما يسمّى اللجنة العليا للمفاوضات وذلك على حساب إبعاد المعارضين من انصار السعودية واوروبا و»إسرائيل».

فأصبحت اللجنة الدستورية مؤلفة من موالين للدولة وآخرين للمعارضة المحسوبة على تركيا ومستقلين يحظون باهتمام مصري بموافقة الدولة وبدا ان شرط حيازة ثلثي الأعضاء لإصدار اي قرار يندرج في اطار عرقلة اعمال لجنة دستورية لا يزال التأثير الخارجي على اعضائها كبيراً، ففيما تستطيع الدولة اتخاذ أي قرار تراه لمصلحة شعبها، يعجز ممثلو المعارضة عن قبول أي اقتراح من دون موافقة تركية مسبقة وربما سعودية وأميركية وذلك لتأمين تأييد حولها من الاقليم والخارج.

هناك ما بدأ يلوح ايضاً كخلافات اكثر عمقاً، فالدولة ترى اللجنة الدستورية آلية لتعديلات دستورية من خلال الدولة الحالية، بما يجب ان يعكس برأيها مسألتين: دستورية الدولة ونظامها المغطى بأكثر من انتخابات داخلية، والتأييد الشعبي الواسع لها الذي تجب ترجمته بتعديلات في الدستور الحالي لتوفير مشاركات شعبية سورية وازنة.

بالمقابل عادت المعارضة الى اساليبها السابقة، بإطلاق شعارات قالت فيها اللجنة الدستورية انها تأسست لإلغاء الدستور الحالي وبناء دستور جديد وانتخابات رئاسية ونيابية يشارك فيها النازحون السوريون في أماكن نزوحهم في تركيا والأردن واوروبا وشمال سورية وشرقها وبعض انحاء لبنان، على ان يتولى مندوبون تابعون للامم المتحدة الاشراف على الانتخابات في مناطق الدولة، وللمعارضة شرطٌ آخر وهو إبعاد الدولة السورية ومقاتلي حزب الله والتنظيمات الاقليمية الموالية له والروس والمستشارين الايرانيين عن أماكن الاقتراع غربي سورية.

هذه بعضٌ من النقاط المختلف عليها، والتي لن تكون معالجتها سهلة، لانها بنيوية من داخل الوظائف الاساسية للجنة الدستورية.

لذلك فإن الذين يطرحونها منذ الآن انما يريدون افشال اللجنة الدستورية مسبقاً او في ما بعد.

لجهة المساعي الاميركية لنسف هذه اللجنة او دفعها لتكون اداة لصراع تركي سوري أو تركي روسي فتستعمل الأكراد في شرقي الفرات كآلية اساسية لعرقلة دورها، بشكل يبدو فيه الهدف الاميركي هو عرقلة الانسحاب التركي من ادلب وما عودة الأميركين الى جذب الترك عبر تنشيط موضوع المنطقة الآمنة معهم عند الحدود مع سورية إلا من هذه الوسائل الاضافية.

فليس هناك من يعتقد ان اكراد الشمال وبعض الشرق يستطيعون تبني موقف رافض للجنة الدستورية من دون طلب اميركي مباشر يستلهمونه او يأتمرون به.

لقد اعتصم حزب الاتحاد الديموقراطي الكردي وآلياته السياسية والعسكرية في الادارة الذاتية لمجلس سورية الديموقراطية وقوات سورية الديموقراطية بصمت وصولاً الى حدود التجاهل، اثناء مفاوضات ثلاثي أستانة حول اللجنة الدستورية مكتفين بمفاوضات سرية كانوا يجرونها في تلك المرحلة مع الدولة السورية.

وفجأة تعمدوا إعلان رفضهم للجنة الدستورية بعد تشكلها مباشرة وبذريعة أنها لا تضم اكراداً موالين لهم، علماً ان هناك عضوين كرديين من ممثلي المعارضة في اللجنة ينتمون الى المجلس الوطني الكردي.

وتبين أن «قسد» تطلب تمثيلاً كردياً مستقلاً داخل اللجنة الدستوري، لا علاقة له لا بالدولة ولا بالمعارضة، وهذا يعني انها تريد تمثيل شعب مستقل هم الأكراد مع جغرافيا خاصة بهم هي شمال وشرق سورية.

وهذا هدف اميركي يريد تفتيت سورية بواسطة الاكراد من جهة وتركيا من جهة ثانية. الامر الذي يوضح ان الاميركيين يؤيدون اللجنة الدستورية في غرب الفرات فقط، مقابل اعترافهم بدولة للكرد في الشمال والشرق.

اللجنة الدستورية الى اين؟

انها ذاهبة لعقد الكثير من اللقاءات بما يعزز من المرجعية الدولية لثلاثية أستانة، لكن التوصل الى حلول دستورية مسألة صعبة، لأن حل الازمة يحتاج الى تحرير إدلب وحشر الأتراك في زاوية ضيقة وهذا ما تعمل عليه الدولة السورية مع الروس، بعد استنفاد الوسائل السياسية لإقناع اردوغان بأن الدولة العثمانية سقطت الى الأبد منذ مئة عام واصبح من المستحيل إعادة إحيائها.

Bias, Lies and Videotape: Doubts Dog ‘Confirmed’ Syria Chemical Attacks

Disturbing new evidence suggests 2018 incident might’ve been staged, putting everything else, including U.S. retaliation, into question.

Global Research, June 21, 2019

Thanks to an explosive internal memo, there is no reason to believe the claims put forward by the Syrian opposition that President Bashar al-Assad’s government used chemical weapons against innocent civilians in Douma back in April. This is a scenario I have questioned from the beginning.

It also calls into question all the other conclusions and reports by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which was assigned in 2014 “to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic.”

As you recall, the Trump administration initiated a coordinated bombing of Syrian government facilities with the UK and France within days of the Douma incident and before a full investigation of the scene could be completed, charging Assad with the “barbaric act” of using “banned chemical weapons” to kill dozens of people on the scene. Bomb first, ask questions later.

The OPCW began their investigation days after the strikes. The group drew on witness testimonies, environmental and biomedical sample analysis results, and additional digital information from witnesses (i.e. video and still photography), as well as toxicological and ballistic analyses. In July 2018, the OPCW released an interim report on Douma that said “no organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products were detected, either in the environmental samples or in plasma samples from the alleged casualties,” but that chlorine, which is not a banned chemical weapon, was detected there.

The report cited ballistic tests that indicated that the canisters found at two locations on the scene were dropped from the air (witnesses blamed Assad’s forces), but investigations were ongoing. The final report in March reiterated the ballistics data, and the conclusions were just as underwhelming, saying that all of the evidence gathered there provides “reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon took place,” due in part to traces of chlorine and explosives at the impact sites.

Now, the leaked internal report apparently suppressed by the OPCW says there is a “high probability” that a pair of chlorine gas cylinders that had been claimed as the source of the toxic chemical had been planted there by hand and not dropped by aircraft. This was based on extensive engineering assessments and computer modeling as well as all of the evidence previously afforded to the OPCW.

What does this mean? To my mind, the canisters were planted by the opposition in an effort to frame the Syrian government.

The OPCW has confirmed with the validity of this shocking document and has offered statements to reporters, including Peter Hitchens, who published the organization’s response to him on May 16.

The ramifications of this turn of events extend far beyond simply disproving the allegations concerning the events in April 2018. The credibility of the OPCW itself and every report and conclusion it has released concerning allegations of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government are now suspect. The extent to which the OPCW has, almost exclusively, relied upon the same Syrian opposition sources who are now suspected of fabricating the Douma events raises serious questions about both the methodology and motivation of an organization that had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for “its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons.”

In a response to Agence France-Presse (AFP), OPCW director general Fernando Ariasacknowledged there is an internal probe into the memo leak but that he continues to “stand by the impartial and professional conclusions” of the group’s original report. He played down the role of the memo’s author, Ian Henderson, and said his alternative hypotheses were not included in the final OPCW report because they “pointed at possible attribution” and were therefore outside the scope of the OPCW’s fact finding mission in Syria.

Self-produced videos and witness statements provided by the pro-opposition Violations Documentation Center, Syrian Civil Defense (also known as the White Helmets), and the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), a non-profit organization that operates hospitals in opposition-controlled Syria, represented the heart and soul of the case against the Syrian government regarding the events in Douma. To my mind, the internal memo now suggests that these actors were engaging in a systemic effort to disseminate disinformation that would facilitate Western military intervention with the goal of removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power.

This theory has been advanced by pro-Assad forces and their Russian partners for some time. But independent reporting on the ground since the Douma incident has sussed out many of the same concerns. From James Harkin, director of the Center for Investigative Journalism and a fellow at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center, who traveled to the site of the attacks and reported for The Intercept in February of this year:

The imperative to grab the fleeting attention of an international audience certainly seems to have influenced the presentation of the evidence. In the videos and photos that appeared that evening, most analysts and observers agree that there were some signs that the bodies and gas canisters had been moved or tampered with after the event for maximum impact. The Syrian media activists who’d arrived at the apartment block with the dead people weren’t the first to arrive on the scene; they’d heard about the deaths from White Helmet workers and doctors at the hospital.

The relationship between the OPCW and the Syrian opposition can be traced back to 2013. That was when the OPCW was given the responsibility of eliminating Syria’s declared arsenal of chemical weapons; this task was largely completed by 2014. However, the Syrian opposition began making persistent allegations of chemical weapon attacks by the Syrian government in which chlorine, a substance not covered by Syria’s obligation to be disarmed of chemical weapons, was used. In response, the OPCW established the Fact Finding Mission (FFM) in 2014 “to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic.”

The priority of effort for the FFM early on was to investigate allegations of the use of chlorine as a weapon. Since, according to its May 2014 summary, “all reported incidents took place at locations that the Syrian Government considers to be outside its effective control,” the FFM determined that the success of its mission was contingent upon “identification of key actors, such as local authorities and/or representatives of armed opposition groups in charge of the territories in which these locations are situated; the establishment of contacts with these groups in an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence that allows the mandate and objectives of the FFM to be communicated.”

So from its very inception, the FFM had to rely on the anti-Assad opposition and its supporters for nearly everything. The document that governed the conduct of the FFM’s work in Syria was premised on the fact that the mission would be dependent in part upon “opposition representatives” to coordinate, along with the United Nations, the “security, logistical and operational aspects of the OPCW FFM,” including liaising “for the purposes of making available persons for interviews.”

One could sense the bias resulting from such an arrangement when, acting on information provided to it by the opposition regarding an “alleged attack with chlorine” on the towns of Kafr Zeyta and Al-Lataminah, the FFM changed its original plans to investigate an alleged chlorine attack on the town of Harasta. This decision, the FFM reported, “was welcomed by the opposition.” When the FFM attempted to inspect Kafr Zeyta, however, it was attacked by opposition forces, with one of its vehicles destroyed by a roadside bomb, one inspector wounded, and several inspectors detained by opposition fighters.

The inability to go to Kafr Zeyta precluded the group from “presenting definitive conclusions,” according to the report. But that did not stop the FFM from saying that the information given to them from these opposition sources, “including treating physicians with whom the FFM was able to establish contact,” and public domain material, “lends credence to the view that toxic chemicals, most likely pulmonary irritating agents such as chlorine, have been used in a systematic manner in a number of attacks” against Kafr Zeyta.

So the conclusion/non-conclusion was based not on any onsite investigation, but rather videos produced by the opposition and subsequently released via social media and interviews also likely set up by opposition groups (White Helmets, SAMS, etc.), which we know, according to their own documents, served as the key liaisons for the FFM on the ground.

All of this is worrisome. It is unclear at this point how many Syrian chemical attacks have been truly confirmed since the start of the war. In February of this year, the Global Policy Institute released a report saying there were 336 such reports, but they were broken down into “confirmed,” “credibly substantiated,” and “comprehensively confirmed.” Out of the total, 111 were given the rigorous “comprehensively confirmed” tag, which, according to the group, meant the incidents were “were investigated and confirmed by competent international bodies or backed up by at least three highly reliable independent sources of evidence.”

They do not go into further detail about those bodies and sources, but are sure to thank the White Helmets and their “implementing partner” Mayday Rescue and Violations Documentation Center, among other groups, as “friends and partners” in the study. So it becomes clear, looking at the Kafr Zeytan inspection and beyond, that the same opposition sources that are informing the now-dubious OPCW reports are also delivering data and “assistance” to outside groups reaching international audiences, too.

The role of the OPCW in sustaining the claims made by the obviously biased Syrian opposition sources cannot be understated—by confirming the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma, the OPCW lent credibility to claims that otherwise should not—and indeed would not—have been granted, and in doing so violated the very operating procedures that had been put in place by the OPCW to protect the credibility of the organization and its findings.

There is an old prosecutorial rule—one lie, all lies—that comes into play in this case. With the leaked internal report out there, suggesting that the sources in the Douma investigation were agenda-driven and dishonest, all information ever provided to the OPCW by the White Helmets, SAMS, and other Syrian opposition groups must now, in my mind, be viewed as tainted and therefore unusable.

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Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research

Featured image is from Mikhail Semenov /Shutterstock

Sky News and the Western Press Have Once Again Failed Syria

By Vanessa Beeley
Source

Recent storylines from the Western press on the “Idlib” narrative, particularly the extraordinary spate of “on-the-ground” reports from Sky News reporter Alex Crawford, have failed to paint an accurate picture of the reality faced by Syrian civilians.

Brett McGurk – the U.S. government’s Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL — described Idlib as “the largest Al Qaeda safe haven since 9/11,” adding that the presence of Al Qaeda in Idlib was a “huge problem” and had been so “for some time.” Mint Press journalist Whitney Webb covered McGurk’s statements and U.S. policy in Idlib in late 2018.

McGurk’s statement seems to have been forgotten by both corporate media and “human rights” commentators alike since the Syrian Army’s military campaign to liberate areas of Idlib began in earnest a few weeks ago. In fact, there seems to be an ongoing campaign by the Western press to normalize militant groups affiliated with Al Qaeda.

On May 27, 2019 a headline in a Reuters article read “Idlib government chief urges defense against Assad attack” (emphasis added). The “head” of the Idlib “Salvation Government,” Fawaz Hilal, was calling upon Turkey to intervene on their behalf to protect them from SAA military advances.

While Reuters openly admits that the Salvation Government is heavily backed by Hayat Tahrir Al Sham (HTS)/Al Qaeda, there is minimal reference to the daily war crimes committed by armed groups against civilians in Syrian government-secured territory as a valid reason for the uptick in Syrian military operations to liberate areas of Idlib province.

The reader is ultimately left with the impression that the Salvation Government is legitimate Syrian “opposition” rather than an Al Qaeda construct established with the involvement of the notorious Abu Mohammed Al-Jolani.

Idlib Syria Media

Even the partisan Crisis Group, which tends to lean heavily in favor of the U.S. Coalition, described the Salvation Government’s clear Al Qaeda affiliations and its role in securing financing for the violent, extremist organization. A January 2019 Crisis Group report concluded:

The centrepiece of HTS’s project is the ‘Salvation Government,’ formed in November 2017 … For HTS, the Salvation Government seems to be both a political project and a money-making tool.”

Supposed to be a safe place

Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and former European director of Human Rights Watch, told the BBC:

Idlib was supposed to be a safe place. Where war should not be, so it has to end. We cannot have war take place in what is essentially a refugee camp.”

Egeland “disappeared” the estimated 120,000 terrorist fighters controlling the majority of Idlib province and pockets of northern Hama. Aleppo MP and head of the Aleppo Chamber of Commerce, Fares Shehabi, told the BBC in September 2018 that 100,000 extremist fighters were controlling Idlib, 40,000 of whom were “hard-core radicals.”

Shehabi has since told me that he believes the numbers to have increased to 120,000 extremist fighters, with up to 50,000 hard-core radicals that Shehabi says includes large numbers of foreign mercenaries, hardline soldiers from around the world. While these numbers may be on the high side, it is clear that the size of the Al Qaeda-dominated force in Idlib is alarming.

Idlib Syria Media

Considerable numbers of “hard-core” extremists were bused to Idlib after the liberation of East Aleppo, Homs, Eastern Ghouta and southern provinces of Syria from December 2016 through July/August 2018 as part of Syrian government amnesty and reconciliation deals.

By whitewashing the role of the Idlib mercenaries and extremist groups — which include Jaish Al Islam, who ruled Douma with a regime of torture, execution, slave labor and imprisonment — the Western press has acted as de facto protection racketeers for the very forces exploiting civilians as human shields in Idlib and preventing their exodus via the Russian/Syrian-established humanitarian corridors.

Embedded video

This is a familiar pattern that was seen previously during the liberation of East Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta, when extremist groups would shell or snipe fleeing civilians, often blaming the crimes on advancing SAA forces.

A narrow escape?

Sky News’ Alex Crawford first produced a story from inside Idlib, claiming her team had been “deliberately” targeted by Syrian government forces. Crawford and her team said a Syrian drone had zeroed in on them, relaying their location to the SAA.

Crawford Idlib

Syria: Sky News witnesses horrors of Syria’s last rebel outpost

Sky’s Alex Crawford says the crew was attacked with tank shells, as an activist they were travelling with was hit by shrapnel.

news.sky.com

Crawford most likely entered Idlib via the Turkish border and was being escorted by the HTS fighters on motorbikes, which were visible in a longer video published by Sky News. Under these circumstances and in the midst of an ongoing military campaign, traveling with a known extremist group through their enclave while they were actively engaged in combat with the Syrian Army would indicate that the SAA was not targeting journalists, but instead the extremists with whom they traveled.

The military drones — which Crawford alleges were used to “pinpoint” her team’s location prior to a “deliberate” attack — were never shown in the video produced by Sky News, nor is there any sound of drone activity in the video. This reporter has heard drones in action in Gaza during the 2012 Israeli offensive and their sound is very audible, particularly when they descend to attack or close-surveillance altitude.

Idlib Syria Media Sky News

Crawford and the Sky News team also don’t appear to be wearing “Press” tabards or helmets in their video report, although it is difficult to distinguish much at all in the report, save a lot of confusion and expletives from Crawford.

Idlib Syria Media Sky News

Crawford’s Sky News report carried the headline: “Syria: Sky News witnesses horrors of Syria’s last rebel outpost” (emphasis added), reducing HTS — an established terror group — to simply “rebels.”

The “civilian activist” described by Crawford  in her report is none other than Nusra Front acolyte Bilal Abdul Kareem, who is (by his own admission) on the U.S terrorist “kill list.” In a July 2018 Rolling Stone article, Kareem claimed that he was tipped off by a Turkish source that “he had been put on a list of targets at Incirlik Air base, a launching pad for American drones.

Bilal Abdul Kareem | Syria

Crawford’s working with Kareem, while wearing a “long black abaya” without any press identification in HTS-held territory, was not only a foolhardy enterprise, but a very risky endeavor in a time of war.

Sky News is not the first media outlet to collaborate with Kareem. In a July, 2017 article for Mint Press News, journalist Whitney Webb delved into Kareem’s working relationship with CNN when Kareem assisted in the making of the Clarissa Ward award winning documentary, “Undercover in Syria”.

Kareem was responsible for organising access to the extremist-held territory for the CNN team. In the article, Webb highlights the armed group members who were interviewed by journalist Max Blumenthal – who “confirmed that Kareem was a well-known member of al-Nusra and was commonly referred to as the “American mujahid.”

Was Crawford unaware of Kareem’s ties to Al Qaeda when the Sky News team chose him as their “activist” escort and fixer?

According to its report, Sky News retreated to the town of Khan Sheikhoun, another Nusra Front/HTS stronghold in Idlib. The ease of movement with which Sky News was able to traverse Idlib territory, which is amongst the most densely populated by Al Qaeda offshoots and extremist underling groups, without threat of kidnap or worse is perplexing. Journalists are regularly targeted or kidnapped by terrorist groups operating in Syria.

The last “last hospital”

When challenged on the veracity of her maiden report from Idlib, Crawford resorted to a tried and tested rallying cry for Western journalists still clamoring to paint Syria’s opposition forces as legitimate anti-government resistance – the last hospital.

Crawford expressed outrage at the alleged targeting of “hospitals” by the Syrian government and its allies. The “last hospital” narrative, previously used heavily in East Aleppo, comprised repeatedly recycled sensationalist headlines that the Syrian government and its allies were deliberately targeting the last remaining hospital in a given area during the final stages of liberation from armed groups — a narrative discredited by independent journalists reporting on the ground in Aleppo during the final stages of the military campaign to liberate East Aleppo from the grip of international terrorism.

Idlib Syria Media

I covered the “last hospital” narrative in a separate article for MintPress, where I highlight how this narrative is deployed by many in the Western press as a distraction from the reality in Syria. It was previously brought into play — as the SAA were sweeping East Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta clean of the occupying sectarian gangs — in order to effectively protect the extremist militants who had ruled these areas for more than five years, inflicting their brutal, violent ideology upon captive civilians. The narratives served to effectively delay the release from occupation for these civilians, who were desperate to escape to the safety of government-held areas.

Idlib reality succinctly described

Peter Ford, former U.K. ambassador to Syria, explained the current operations in Idlib very succinctly:

In brief, what is happening at the moment is not a full-scale assault by Syrian government forces aimed at liberating the whole of Idlib. Rather it is a limited operation, the main goal of which is to chip away at the southern fringes of what is effectively the Al Qaeda caliphate.”

The reporting from the likes of Alex Crawford and Sky News does not convey this reality nor does it reveal the existence of the Al Qaeda caliphate described by Ford. Crawford has entirely disappeared the extremist group’s aggression against the border towns and villages which has been ongoing since the establishment of the “deconfliction zones” in September 2018 and which entirely validates the Syrian military response to defend civilians against further bloodshed to halt those violations.

It must also not be forgotten that another of the Sochi agreement terms was the freeing up of the M5 highway that links Idlib to the rest of Syria and ultimately serves as the main trade route from Turkey to Syria and on into Jordan, whose trade borders with Syria have been successfully reopened after liberation of the south of Syria from the armed-group’s occupation.

Idlib Syria Media

The HTS control of significant areas of the M5 route has prevented this agreed-upon development and is another reason for the recent intensification of Syrian allied military activity in Idlib — again ignored completely by the majority of the Western press, whose selective coverage plays into the hands of these extremist groups.

Were Sky News to adhere to true journalism ethics, it would identify Turkey, a member of NATO, as the cause of the recent military confrontation that is threatening civilian lives on both sides of the Idlib/Hama border. As Peter Ford states:

The jihadis have been bolstered with arms supplied by Turkey (including tanks and deadly U.S.-made TOW anti-tank weapons) and paid for by Qatar, which also pays salaries. As long as Turkey continues to prop up the jihadis and Qatar to fund them, fighting is likely to continue, with the [Syrian] government continuing to put its faith in softening up with aerial bombing and artillery shelling rather than risk its sparse ground forces.”

Ford even offers a pragmatic solution in Idlib, never presented or even examined by the Western press:

The only way realistically to limit the fighting is for Turkey to withdraw its support for the jihadis and let them melt back into the Turkish border zone where they could affiliate with the Turkish-controlled militias there. This would still leave a problem for later but Idlib could breathe.”

A deliberate attempt to mislead

There is no nuance to the Sky News reports, no analysis of complexity, no diverging opinions or context. Therefore, in my opinion, this is not journalism; it is a deliberate intent to mislead a gullible public fed a media diet of “war on terror” fear and insecurity for years. It is information bias and cynical misdirection of narratives designed to support U.S. military adventurism in Syria and the region.

After Crawford was taken to task by educated Twitter accounts, she put out a Tweet stating:

Sometimes, just sometimes, twitter and some on it, make me want to explode with frustration at the unregulated untruths and constant misrepresentation of facts without check.”

No, Ms. Crawford, what is happening is that people who inform themselves no longer accept unregulated untruths and constant misrepresentation of facts without check from media channels whose public trust has been irreparably eroded by years of falsification and obfuscation of “facts” in relation to the U.S. Coalition war waged against Syria since 2011.

The recently published documentary, The Veto, a collaboration between Syrian journalist Rafiq Lutf and this correspondent, exposes the depth of media complicity in sustaining the Syrian conflict and the level of fabrication by CNN and other mainstream channels that have heavily influenced public opinion against the Syrian government since the early days of the campaign to topple President Bashar Al Assad from power and to destabilize the country.

The true frustration explosion is the public response to the conversion of their media into a fifth column for power and the resulting mayhem, bloodshed and misery it brings to the peoples of countries targeted for regime change or resource plundering by the U.S. and allied globalist nations — powers that have zero regard for “human rights” when it comes to achieving their aims and no qualms about usurping any government or population that stands in their way.

We live in an unprecedented age of media and state deceit and the expression of frustration is a natural reaction when we wake up to this gaslighting abuse. Crawford and other establishment journalists who have effectively served the abusers — the state mind-controllers — need to be aware that the long-time victims are finally turning against them. They have two choices: to continue serving power or finally becoming agents of the people. Which will it be?

حجة العرب الجاهزة لتبرير التخاذل.. كذبة “بيع الجولان” والعداء لإيران…..بقلم علي مخلوف

الصورة – للمعارض عبدالجليل السعيد و أفيخاي أدرعي

مع تبخر “ثورتهم” كبقعة ماء وسط صحراء، واختفاء طناجر النضال العرعورية، وتراشق قادتهم بتهم الفساد وسرقة أموال المساعدات، يروج من تبقى مما تُسمى بالمعارضة ومؤيدوها في الخارج أكاذيباً حول الجولان المحتل تعود للعام 1967 وأن المنطقة قد تم بيعها ! ولأن الحقيقة لا يمكن إنكارها تتزامن تلك الأكاذيب مع محاولة أمريكا الاعتراف بالهضبة المحتلة تحت السيادة الإسرائيلية.

عندما وجه الرئيس حافظ الأسد القوات العسكرية لتحرير الجولان لم نسمع صوتاً إسرائيلياً يقول ” توقف سيادة الرئيس لقد بعتنا الجولان أنسيت؟ ” لماذا لم يتكلم الإسرائيليون؟ لم لم يبرزوا الشيكات أو وثائق الأموال التي يزعم “المعارضون ” أنها موجودة؟! وإن كان حصل البيع المزعوم فهل كان ليتم دون علم الولايات المتحدة والاتحاد السوفييتي مثلاً؟ لم لم تعلن هاتان الدولتان خلال العقود المنصرمة أن الجولان بيع كما يزعم المعارضون؟! لماذا لم يعلن مجلس الأمن عن بيع الجولان منذ ذلك الوقت أيضاً ؟!

ويزعم هؤلاء بأن الرئيس حافظ الأسد باع الجولان في عام 1967، فلماذا هجم عليها في الـ 1973 لاستعادة الأراضي السورية المحتلة؟!

صرح الرئيس الأمريكي دونالد ترامب بأنه سيعترف بالجولان السوري المحتل إسرائيلياً، فقامت الدنيا، السوريون لوحوا عبر نائب وزير خارجيتهم فيصل المقداد بأن لهم الحق في استعادة الجولان بأي طريقة وأنهم يعتمدون على القوى الوطنية الشعبية الأمر الذي اعتُبر أنه تمهيد للإعلان عن مقاومة سورية شعبية لتحرير الجولان، كذلك العرب أعلنوا رفضهم وتنديدهم، وأيضاً الفرنسيون ومجلس الأمن رفض ذلك القرار لأنه منافي للشرعية الدولية، فلو كان حصل بيع للجولان كما يدّعي “مجاهدو الأقفية ومعارضو الفنادق” لما كنا رأينا ما رأينا اليوم أيضاً.

وعن كذبة أن الدولة السورية لم تطلق رصاصة واحدة على الجولان، فإن حرب تشرين وماحدث على جبهة الجولان واستعادة بحرية طبرية ثم التغير العسكري في سير المعركة بسبب خذلان البعض والدعم الغربي اللامحدود للكيان ، يكذب تلك الادعاءات، ولنفترض أن الرئيس بشار الأسد أعلن الحرب على إسرائيل من أجل استعادة الجولان فهل سيقف العرب والمعارضون السوريون معه؟! سابقاً كانت سورية تقول بأنها تحتفظ لنفسها بحق استعادة الأراضي المحتلة مع التأكيد على حقيقة أنها لاتستطيع لوحدها شن حرب على إسرائيل، وقتها أيضاً كانت إسرائيل تتمتع بالدعم الغربي، والعرب منقسمون ولا يمكن الثقة بأغلب أنظمتهم، اليوم إسرائيل تتمتع أيضاً بدعم عربي، والعلاقات الإسرائيلية ـ العربية باتت مفضوحة أمام الجميع وخصوصاً من بعض أنظمة الخليج، أيضاً فإن كلاً من مصر والأردن حتى لو أردنا حسن الظن بهما لن يستطيعا فعل شيء فهما على اتفاق سلام وتطبيع مع إسرائيل! إذا من بقي؟ أليست إيران حليفة سورية هي عدو العرب الأكبر؟ أليس حزب الله مصدر كابوس لهم؟ إن كان العرب قد خذلوا الحزب ووقفوا ضده في تموز فكيف الآن مع دمشق ؟

المعارضون السوريون ذاتهم كشفوا عمّا يمكن أن يكون عليه مستقبل سورية فيما لو نجحوا في الوصول إلى السلطة، المشافي الإسرائيلية التي عالجت جرحى “المجاهدين الأشاوس” تشهد، والشيخ الادلبي الذي التقى بمراسل القناة الثانية الإسرائيلية بريف ادلب والذي قال “إن قال شارون أنه ضد بشار الأسد فهو عيني” أيضاً يشهد، كذلك كمال اللبواني الذي كشف عن مشروع يرتكز على بيع هضبة الجولان السورية المحتلة الى اسرائيل بعد إسقاط النظام مقابل احلال السلام معها يشهد، وبسمة قضماني التي زارت إسرائيل تشهد، وفريد الغادري الذي قال أنه فور سقوط “النظام” سيرفرف العلم الإسرائيلي فوق دمشق ويحل السلام أيضاً يشهد.

زيارة مدير المكتب الإعلامي في ما تُسمى منصة آستانة عبد الجليل السعيد إلى فلسطين المحتلة، وظهوره في صور جمعته، ووفد مرافق له، مع افيخاي ادرعي، الناطق الرسمي باسم الجيش الإسرائيلي أيضاً تشهد على العمالة، وكذلك أيضاً ما يُسمى بمنسق بـ”جبهة الإنقاذ الوطني” السورية المعارضة فهد المصري و المسؤول السابق في القيادة المشتركة للجيش الحر، الذي أطلق رسالته عبر تلفزيون i24 الإسرائيلي والتي قال فيها “ندعو كافة القوى الإقليمية الفاعلة ومنها “إسرائيل” لتشكيل مجلس للأمن الإقليمي، برعاية الأمم المتحدة.. نجلس سويا للتنسيق حول أمن المنطقة يشهد على كذب وعمالة ما تُسمى بالمعارضة.

عبدالجليل السعيد و أفيخاي أدرعي

أكثر كذبة عهراً يتم ترويجها أن سورية تنسق مع إسرائيل! جيش العدو يستهدف الجيش السوري باعتداءات ويتم الرد عليها ويقولون لكن يتعاونون مع إسرائيل! دمشق تدعم حزب الله ويقولون لك تنسق مع إسرائيل؟ السوريون دعموا حركات المقاومة الفلسطينية ويقولون لك دمشق تنسق مع إسرائيل؟ سورية حليفة إيران الكبرى ثم يقولون لك تنسق مع إسرائيل؟ بعض الأنظمة العربية المتهتكة والمعارضون يروجون لذلك في وقت تصرح فيه تل أبيب بعلاقات متطورة مع مملكة الصرف الصحي الوهابية في الحجاز، وفي وقت يقوم فيه مسؤولون إسرائيليون بزيارات رسمية لعواصم خليجية !

إحدى الصحف الإسرائيلية المشهورة نشرت تقريرا عن الجهود الإسرائيلية لإبعاد إيران ووكلائها عن هضبة الجولان، وذلك عبر هجمات جوية، وأيضا عبر تزويد القوات التي تحارب الجيش السوري بالسلاح والأموال، على حد قولها، مستندةً في تقريرها إلى معلومات نشرتها المدونة الإسرائيلية الخبيرة في الشأن السوري، إليزابيث تسوركوبكشفت فيه أن إسرائيل زادت من حجم الإمدادات التي تنقلها لـ”الثوار” حسب وصفها، أما صحيفة لوبوان الفرنسية فقد نشرت بتاريخ 12/9/2018 تقريراً عن تسليح إسرائيل لفصائل المعارضة السورية. حيث كشفت كيف قامت إسرائيل بتسليح ودفع رواتب لآلاف المقاتلين المعارضين للقيادة السورية، وذلك لتأمين حدودها ومواجهة النفوذ الإيراني في سوريا، أما صحيفة “فورين بوليسي” الأمريكية فقد ذكرت أن إسرائيل ظلت تموّل وتسلّح خلال السنوات القليلة الماضية 12 مجموعة على الأقل من المعارضة المسلحة لمنع مليشيات تدعمها إيران وكذلك مقاتلي تنظيم الدولة من الاستيلاء على مواقع قريبة منها، وقد بدأ الكيان الصهيوني ذلك الدعم في العام 2013 لميليشيات تابعة للحر بالقنيطرة ودرعا والمناطق الجنوبية من ضواحي دمشق، من بينها فصيلي “فرسان الجولان” و”لواء عمر بن الخطاب”فيما صرح رئيس هيئة اركان الجيش المنتهية ولايته غادي ايزنكوت في مقابلة مع صحيفة صنداي تايمز البريطانية، أن اسرائيل زودت مجموعات معارضة بأسلحة خفيفة للدفاع عن النفس.

وبعد ذلك يأتي المعارضون المرتبطون إسرائيلياً وعربياً وأمريكياً ليتحدثوا عن الجولان والانتماء الوطني والعداء لإسرائيل!

The Hero of the Arab World

Wednesday, 27 February 2019 08:15

President Bashar  Al-Assad’s recent   historic visit to Iran and the talks held with Sayyed Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran and President Hassan Rouhani, has indeed been a historic, landmark and  fruitful visit as a message of gratitude,  true friendship, solidarity, peace and amity.

President Assad was received by Sayyed Ali Khamenei as the victorious ‘ Leader of Arabs’, as outlined by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution; President Assad has been for years leading his country and people away from  dangers, poverty, and sinister terrorist plots and conspiracies. The last 8 years of the terrorist war launched against Syria, unfortunately backed by some  whom President Assad, Syrian Army, brothers and allies, were defending, has indeed made of his visit to Tehran, the capital of the Resistance against oppression, aggression and terrorism, a landmark visit by all accounts.

It has been a visit of gratitude to the brothers in arms who firmly supported Syrians in their war against terrorism, and defense of the entire globe. The wise worldwide do recognize that without such  a strategic unity in blood against Al-Qaeda and ISIS affiliates, the region would have been turned by now into  huge slaughterhouses!  President Assad visited the country which has been standing with his own people and their interests; Iran has been able with the wisdom of its leaders and people, to save the region from being totally and entirely exploited by warmongers and occupiers.

 

Syria’s war against terrorists, mainly exported to Syria from all around the globe, has achieved big strides on the way of all-out cleansing of every span of the Syrian soil from Arab and foreign backed and financed terrorists. The visit is but a definite stop on the way of the more of withstanding, steadfastness and hardships to face as to remain independent, steadfast and victorious. The war is still waged against those who adore freedom, sovereignty and independence.

Actually, President Assad, in light of his heroic and brave stances, and rejection to be subdued and kneel down to the colonialists and ewes with their greed, threats, or even carrots, is but the world number. 1 Leader when it comes to fighting oppression and terrorism on behalf of all as to save what he has been able to save.  One day, history would cite this President as the Man who stood tall and fought the most of terrorists and their backers and could save the most of the region, if not the world, from terrorists.

The visit, probably for the wise, is a message of peace. Neither the Syrians, nor the Iranians, have ever been aggressors. It is a visit of a definite everlasting stances of defense, not only against terrorists and their backers, but occupiers too. As underscored, governments of the region, if not the whole world, should refrain from being a satellite in the US orbit! US and Western interests are not in line with peoples’ interests.

Submission and yes-sir policies by those who lost their resources and souls to Lucifer are indeed catastrophic with dire consequences against the majority of humanity. It has been a message for the necessity as to formulate and adopt balanced and equilibrium policies on the basis of common respect for the sovereignty of states and non-interference in their domestic affairs.

Indeed, Syria and Iran are their each other’s strategic  depth and with a clear message of standing on vigil as to preserve the victories and achievements accomplished against terrorism and its backers. Syria’s victory against terrorism is but for all lovers of humanity, freedom, peace and fraternity.

Dr. Mohamad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

Editor-in-Chief

alibrahim56@hotmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/Mohamad.Abdo.AlIbrahim

http://syriatimes.sy/

http://www.presidentassad.net/

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