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Author: Absence of Syrian Christian Issue in Western Media Carefully Planned

Sputnik – June 12, 2019

The US is ready to help Italy in Libya and on other fronts. But in return, they want to see an Italian mission in Syria, Senator Lindsey Graham told Corriere della Sera newspaper and then confirmed it officially through diplomatic channels. The author Fulvio Scaglione explained what the Americans are plans for the Middle East.

Sputnik: The United States wants to see an Italian military contingent in Syria, but Rome has yet to give the US an answer. How would you comment on this US initiative?

Fulvio Scaglione: The demands of the Americans have no practical justification. A couple of weeks ago, the Pentagon proposed and then withdrew the idea of deploying another 120,000 troops to the Middle East. The United States has military bases in 13 Middle Eastern countries, where 54,000 soldiers are stationed, their number increased by 30% from 2017 to 2018. It is obvious that Americans absolutely don’t need Italian soldiers in the region.The reason for this is purely political, the United States wants Italy to join their next project to restructure the Middle East. They justify their presence in the northeastern part of Syria two ways: the fear of the resurgence of Daesh*; and the escalation of a conflict with the Kurds to the point of an intensification of conflict between Turkey and Syria, which initially had the Kurds and the Arab militias fighting against Daesh. And the first reason is fake, because Daesh’s “return” or “non-return” doesn’t depend at all on the presence of US troops in northeastern Syria, but on the Persian Gulf oil monarchies — US allies, who decide whether Daesh or Al-Qaeda will return make a come back or not. It is not clear why Italy should get into this mess.

Sputnik: Politicians in Italy now practically don’t speak about the Syrian crisis at all. What should Rome do in line with its own national interests?

Fulvio Scaglione: The US is now trying to establish itself again as a dominant global power, and they are doing this quite radically, confronting China, Russia, Europe, Latin America, and more recently Mexico, so they’re doing it from all directions. The EU is currently experiencing economic difficulties and doesn’t have a unified position on foreign policy, and in this situation, Italy cannot face the United States alone.Sputnik: On June 9 the Italian media wrote about the death of a football player, “a symbol of revolution against Assad.” At the same time, the problem of the persecution of Christians in Syria has almost never been raised, why?

Fulvio Scaglione: This news received much more publicity than, for example, an episode when in the Idlib area, Christian teenagers became victims (were killed by a) of a rocket launched by rebels. This has been going on for seven or eight years. In my opinion, the absence of the Syrian Christian issue from Western media has been carefully planned. I write about this in my book “Syria. Christians who went to war.”

Syrian Christians constantly tried to convey to the West their vision of the situation that differs from what the politically correct West wants to see. They tried to tell us that the situation with the uprising in Syria, that also had its reasons and motivation, was not the way it was presented, and called attention to the fact that Christians are at risk of being exterminated, and the protection of Christians in the Middle East should be in the spotlight.

No one wants to admit that in “liberated” Iraq, Christians are on the verge of extinction, their numbers have fallen to less than a fifth compared to 2003, before the Anglo-American invasion.The Syrian authorities will be criticized forever, called authoritarian and that’s what is wanted, but what you really need to worry about is the religious minorities that live in the country. After 8 years of war, the

Sputnik: How important is the issue of Christians in Syria for all of us?

Fulvio Scaglione: I think that the presence of Christians in the Middle East is a very important topic, even though there are very few of them in some places. In Syria, before the start of the war, Christians made up 10% of the population; in Egypt, they make up 10%; in Lebanon — 30%. In some countries, there are not so many Christians, but their presence plays an important role: they are unarmed, but widely represented in the life of society. For example, if Christian schools are closed in Israel or Palestine, this will lead to a crisis in the educational system in these countries. The same can be said about Syria.

Another important factor is the presence of Christians in the Middle East as a third element that ensures a balance in society: in the Middle East there are Sunni Muslims; Shiite Muslims, as well as Christians. The presence of Christians there guarantees pluralism. In countries such as Iraq, where Christians, as part of society, are practically not represented, Shiites and Sunnis confront each other, which sometimes leads to very serious conflicts.

Syria has Christian DNA. Christianity, as we know it today, first appeared in Syria. It was born in Jerusalem and Palestine, but it was in Syria that it took shape as it is in its current form.

June 12, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

MSM Mourns Death Of CIA-Backed Syrian Al-Qaeda/ISIS Ally

By Caitlin Johnstone | June 8, 2019

On Wednesday the alternative media outlet Southfront published an article titled “New Video Throws Light On Jaysh Al-Izza High-Tolerance To Al-Qaeda Ideology” about newly discovered footage showing the leader of a “rebel” faction in Syria cozying up with a militant who was wearing a badge of the official flag of ISIS.

“The video shows Jaysh al-Izza General Commander Major Jamil al-Saleh congratulating a group of his fighters on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr in a underground bunker,” Southfront reports. “One of the fighters greeted by Saleh was wearing a batch of the Islamic Black Standard with the Seal of Muhammad. This is a well-known symbol of al-Qaeda and the official flag of ISIS.”

Today, mass media outlets are mourning the death of a well-known Jaysh al-Izza fighter named Abdel-Basset al-Sarout with grief-stricken beatifications not seen since the death of war criminal John McCain. An Associated Press report which has been published by major news outlets like The New York Times, The Guardian, PBS and Bloomberg commemorates Sarout as a “Syrian soccer goalkeeper” who “won international titles representing his country”, as “the singer of the revolution”, and as “an icon among Syria’s opposition”.

Remember Major Jamil al-Saleh from two paragraphs ago? AP features his glowing eulogy in its write-up on Sarout’s death:

“He was both a popular figure, guiding the rebellion, and a military commander,” said Maj. Jamil al-Saleh, leader of Jaish al-Izza rebel group, in which Sarout was a commander. “His martyrdom will give us a push to continue down the path he chose and to which he offered his soul and blood as sacrifice.”

Other mainstream outlets like BBC, The Daily Beast and Al Jazeera have contributed their own fawning hagiographies of the late Jaysh al-Izza commander.

“Formed in 2013, Jaysh al-Izza was one of the first Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups in northern Syria to benefit from U.S. support through the CIA’s ‘Timber Sycamore’ train and equip program, which had been approved by then U.S. President Barack Obama,” Southfront reports in the aforementioned article. “The group received loads of weapons from the U.S. including Grad rockets, as well as Fagot and TOW anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs).”

“Jaysh al-Izza received this support under the pretension of being a ‘moderate group’ led by a known Syrian Arab Army (SAA) defector, al-Saleh,” Southfront adds. “However, the group’s acts were not in line with these claims. Since its formation, Jaysh al-Izza has been deeply linked to al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, the al-Nusra Front. The group became one of the main allies of al-Nusra when its changed its name to Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in 2017.”

“Western thought leaders are lionizing Abdel Baset al-Sarout who was killed fighting the Syrian army,” tweeted journalist Dan Cohen of the mass media response to Sarout’s death. “They conveniently omit that he fought in a militia allied with al-Qaeda and pledged allegiance to ISIS.”

Cohen linked to an excerpt from his mini-documentary The Syria Deception featuring footage of Sarout holding an ISIS flag, leading chants calling for the extermination of the Alawite minority in Syria, and announcing his allegiance to ISIS.

Other publicly available video footage includes a speech by Sarout urging cooperation between his own faction, ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda’s Syrian franchise), saying “we know that these two groups are not politicized and have the same goals as us, and are working for God.”

“God willing we will work with them shoulder-to-shoulder when we leave here,” Sarout has been translated as saying in the speech. “And we are not Christians or Shiaa to be scared of suicide belts and car bombs. We consider these things as strengths of ours, and God willing they will be just that. This message is to the Islamic State and our brothers in Jabhat al-Nusra, that when we come out of here we will all be one hand to fight Christians and not to have internal fights among ourselves. We want to take back all the lands that have been filthied by the regime, that were entered and taken over by Shiaas and apostates.”

This bloodthirsty terrorist warmongering was taken by the aforementioned AP hagiography and twisted into the single sentence, “He repeatedly denounced rebel infighting and called on Syrians to unite against government forces.”

The Atlantic’s Hassan Hassan framed Sarout’s unconscionable agendas as mere “flaws” which actually add to his inspiring and heroic story, tweeting, “Some individuals celebrated as heroes make you doubt all stories of heroes in history books. Others, like Abdulbasit Sarout, not inspire of but despite his flaws, make those stories highly plausible. He’s a true legend & his story is well documented. May his soul rest in peace.”

Yeah, come on, everybody’s got flaws. Some people suck at parallel parking, some people team up with ISIS and Al-Qaeda on genocidal extermination campaigns. We’ve all got our quirky little foibles.

We can expect more and more of these mass media distortions as Syria and its allies draw closer to recapturing Syrian land from the extremist forces which nearly succeeded in toppling Damascus just a few short years ago.

As these distortions pour in, keep this in mind: all of the violence that is still happening in Syria is the fault of the US and its allies, who helped extremist jihadist factions like Jaysh al-Izza overrun the nation to advance the preexisting goal of effecting regime change. The blame for all the death, suffering and chaos which ensues from a sovereign nation fighting to reclaim its land from these bloodthirsty factions rests solely on the government bodies which inflicted their dominance over the region in the first place.

You will see continuing melodramatic garment-rending from the US State Department and its mass media stenographers about “war crimes” and “human rights violations” as though the responsibility for this violence rests somewhere other than on the US-centralized power alliance, but they will be lying. What these warmongering propagandists are doing is exactly the same as paying a bunch of violent thugs to break into a home and murder its owner, then standing by and sounding the alarm about the way the homeowner chooses to fight off their assailants.

After it was discovered that the US and its allies armed actual, literal terrorist factions in Syria with the goal of effecting regime change, the only sane response would have been for the public to loudly and aggressively demand that all governments involved to take immediate action to completely rectify all damage done by this unforgivable war crime at any cost, and for there to be war crimes tribunals for every decision maker who was a part of it. Instead, because of propaganda circulated by the same mass media narrative management firms who are sanctifying the memory of Abdel-Basset al-Sarout today, the public remains asleep to the depravity of its rulers. This dynamic must change if we are to survive and thrive as a species.

June 10, 2019 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

More Evidence US Armed Syria Terrorists as Trump Pleads Ceasefire

By Finian Cunningham | Strategic Culture Foundation | June 9, 2019

Remember when Donald Trump was running for president back in 2016, and he bragged he would “bomb the hell out of” terrorists in Syria. Now, in a reversal, Trump is calling on Syrian and allied Russian forces to stop bombing Idlib, the last redoubt of terror groups in Syria.

Trump urged Syria, Russia and Iran to “stop bombing the hell out of Idlib” claiming that civilians were being indiscriminately killed in the offensive to retake the renegade northwest province.

It seems like a strange plea from the American president. Idlib is unquestionably a stronghold for internationally proscribed terror groups, mainly Jabhat al Nusra (rebranded as Hayat Tahrir al Sham). Syrian government forces backed by Russian air power say it is their sovereign right to rout the militants, who have reportedly broken ceasefire agreements to launch attacks on civilian areas in government-controlled areas, as well as on the Russian air base at Hmeimim.

Moscow rejected Trump’s characterization of indiscriminate killing of civilians, saying that its operations along with Syrian forces are being directed at defeating illegally armed militants.

Moreover, the offensive to retake Idlib comes as new evidence emerges of the massive – albeit covert – international military support given to the various terror groups during Syria’s nearly eight-year war. Syrian state media this week reported arsenals of weaponry recently recovered in Damascus countryside and further south in the Daraa area.

The arsenals included rows and rows of heavy machine-guns, sniper rifles and US-made TOW missiles. Much of the weaponry was also of Israeli-origin, according to reports.

A separate find showed tonnes of C-4 plastic explosive, which Syrian military intelligence said was “US-made”. Up to four tonnes (4,000 kgs) were recovered this time around. Half a kilo of this lethal material is enough to kill several people.

This is not, of course, the first time that such huge caches of US, Israeli and NATO-origin weaponry have been recovered from territory formerly held by terrorists in Syria. There have been numerous such finds, which also included industrial chemicals made in Germany and Saudi Arabia, capable of producing sarin and other highly toxic munitions. That implies military-grade logistics and technical know how.

Taken together, the unavoidable conclusion is that internationally proscribed terrorist groups have been systematically weaponized by the US, its NATO allies, Israel and the Arab regimes of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The array of weaponry indicates international and state-level organization, not haphazard procurement from disparate private arms dealers.

A plausible configuration for how the weapons which came into Syria were delivered and paid for is the following: most likely through smuggling routes from Turkey, Jordan and Israel. The oil-rich Arab monarchs would have footed the bill. The American CIA and Britain’s MI6 managed the logistics and weapons handling. The circuitous supply chain was sufficiently obscure to avoid oversight by the US Congress and European parliaments. But the bottom line is that terrorist organizations were evidently weaponized by Washington and its allies for the objective of regime change in Damascus.

That is why President Trump and other Western leaders do not have any moral authority whatsoever when they make belated calls for a ceasefire in Idlib province.

Syria has faced an international criminal conspiracy to destroy its nation. Washington and other NATO states have been fully complicit in directing that conspiracy by arming terror groups to the teeth. Western corporate news media have served as propaganda cover for the entire criminal enterprise, lionizing the terrorists as “rebels”, and continually demonizing the Syrian army and its allies in their efforts to liberate the country from the foreign-sponsored scourge. Recall the disgraceful Western media distortion over the liberation of Aleppo by the Syrian army and Russia in 2016-2017, endeavoring to portray that defeat of besieging terror groups as a “massacre”. The Western media never followed up their hysterical charade with subsequent reports of how Aleppo citizens actually rejoiced in their liberation from Western-backed “rebels”.

The infernal problem of conflict and violence in Syria is the direct consequence of Western states embarking on a criminal scheme years before the war started in 2011 in order to overthrow the government of President Bashar al Assad.

A proud and rich ancient civilization of pluralist tolerance among religions and ethnicities was almost destroyed by the nefarious regime-change war. It was largely due to Russia’s military intervention at the end of 2015 in support of its Syrian ally, as well as support from Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, that turned the tide of war and saved Syria from being plunged into a failed state over-run by jihadist warlords.

Syrian state forces have every legal and moral right to finish this war by conquering the last bastion of foreign-backed terror groups holding out in Idlib. Those groups have forfeited any respite by their repeated violation of ceasefire agreements with the Syrian government, violations which targeted civilian areas.

Trump’s apparent concern over civilian deaths is no doubt misinformed by his intelligence agencies who have been covertly sponsoring the terror groups and their media agents, the so-called White Helmets.

In any case, as more evidence emerges of the systematic weaponization of terrorists by the US and its allies, the calls for “restraint” out of Washington and other Western capitals should be treated with contempt. If they had any genuine concern for civilian safety, they would be providing information on the whereabouts of other weapons caches hidden in Syria and supplied to their terrorist mercenaries.

June 9, 2019 Posted by | Deception | , , , | 2 Comments

SDF Detains Syrian Reporter, Moves Him to Unknown Location – Report

Sputnik – 05.06.2019

DAMASCUS – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have detained a correspondent of Syria’s Ikhbariya state TV channel, Muhammad as-Saghir, and moved him to an unknown location, the TV channel said.

“Muhammad as-Saghir was detained by the SDF at a checkpoint while returning from Al Hasakah to Qamishli and was moved to an unknown location”, his colleague told the TV channel on Tuesday.

According to the journalist, the detained correspondent filmed wheat field fires in Al Hasakah province and had evidence that the SDF was “in no hurry to put out the fires.”

He noted that the channel currently had no contact with the correspondent, thereby being unable to establish his exact location.

The journalist also argued that the Kurdish-led SDF were seeking to destroy Syrian authorities’ wheat stocks, with their actions being “one of the means of the US economic war” against Damascus.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces retain control over the northeast of Syria. The cities of Al Hasakah and Qamishli are, however, under the Syrian government’s control.

The armed conflict in Syria has been ongoing since 2011. A victory over the Daesh terrorist group in Iraq and Syria was announced in late 2017. Government forces, led by President Bashar Assad, have regained control over most of the country’s territories. Operations against militants continue in some parts of Syria, but their focus has largely shifted toward political settlement and creating favourable conditions for the repatriation of refugees Moscow supports Damascus in this process by providing humanitarian aid and acting as a ceasefire guarantor.

June 4, 2019 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, War Crimes | | Leave a comment

Leaked OPCW report finds Douma chemical attack likely staged

TomoNews | May 29, 2019

A leaked document is casting doubt on the official narrative of the 2018 Douma gas attacks which were later used to justify American, British and French airstrikes on Syria.

May 30, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 9 Comments

Ex-Israeli official admits 2015 assassination of Kuntar after tip-off from Syria militants

Press TV – May 27, 2019

A former Israeli army officer has admitted that Israel’s military, with the help of militants in Syria, assassinated Samir Kuntar, a commander of Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement, during air raids in 2015.

According to UK-based Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, the ex-army officer Marco Morno said the operation was carried out with information from “one of the leaders of the Syrian opposition factions.”

The attack was conducted by two warplanes that bombed a building with four long-range missiles in Jaramana, near Damascus, in late 2015.

Back then, Kuntar was in Syria helping government forces and Hezbollah fight back foreign-backed Takfiri terrorists in the Arab country.

“Samir Kuntar, the longest serving Arab prisoner in Israeli jails, was killed in a terrorist rocket attack targeting a building in the southern parts of Jaramana, Damascus countryside,” the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported at the time.

He had spent about 30 years in Israeli prisons and was released in 2008 as part of a swap deal between Tel Aviv and Hezbollah in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers killed during the 2006 war.

According to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-militant monitoring group, Kuntar had been the target of various failed Israeli assassination attempts in Syria.

Morno, who was responsible for communicating with militants in Syria, revealed the details of Kuntar’s assassination during an interview with an Israeli news site on Thursday. The information he disclosed was allowed to be published under military censorship.

Hezbollah has been effectively helping the Syrian government in its fight against terrorists.

In May 2016, Mustafa Badr al-Deen, another Hezbollah commander, was killed in an Israeli air raid on the Syrian-Lebanese border.

Tel Aviv frequently attacks military targets inside Syria in what is considered as an attempt to prop up Takfiri terrorist outfits that have been suffering heavy defeats against Syrian government forces.

Numerous reports have also emerged of the discovery of Israeli-made weapons and military equipment during clean-up operations by the Syrian army.

The occupying regime has been providing medical treatment to extremist elements wounded in Syria.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies have been aiding the Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.

Turkey is one of the main backers of anti-government militants in Syria.

On Saturday, senior militant sources said Turkey has equipped an array of terrorists with fresh supplies of weaponry to help them try to repel a major Syrian assault.

The delivery of dozens of armored vehicles, Grad rocket launchers, anti-tank guided missiles and so-called TOW missiles, helped roll back some army gains and retake the strategically located town of Kafr Nabudah, one senior militant figure said.

Syria’s SANA news agency reported on Sunday that Syrian army troops had established full control over Kafr Nabudah in Hama province after eliminating the last remnants of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terrorist group, formerly known as Nusra Front.

May 27, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

SDF Forces Arrest 200 Men in Syria for Resisting Forced Recruitment – Report

Sputnik – 26.05.2019

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces arrested approximately 200 male civilians, including children, during raids in Hasaka province of Syria between Friday and Sunday, according to Fars News report. According to the report, the detained civilians were forced to join the ranks of People’s Protection Units (YPG), the predominantly-Kurdish militia that comprises the core of multinational SDF.

The raids are said to be in line with the SDF policy of forced mobilization, despite protests among the local population.

The SDF also conducted raids in Raqqa province, arresting dozens of civilians.

On Thursday, SDF forces opened fire on residents of al-Hawl Refugee Camp located in southeastern Hasaka, some 15 km from the Iraqi border, according to Fars. The militants opened fire on a group of women and children who tried to escape the refugee camp due to its unbearable humanitarian conditions.

An undisclosed number of civilians died during the attack; several residents of the camp who attempted to flee were incarcerated, Fars reported citing activists in Hasaka.

The activists told reporters that the SDF imposed tight security measures around the camp, effectively taking it under siege. According to the activists, residents of the camp are in dire need of water, food and medical treatment, which can be obtained only outside the camp.

SDF treatment of civilians has sparked protests among the province’s population. On Wednesday, protesters burned down several SDF security centres across the city of Hasaka, al-Watan newspaper reported. According to the newspaper, the protests began after the SDF killed a young man who resisted forced recruitment.

The SDF reportedly dispatched reinforcements to the region, amid the rising unrest in Hasaka.

The Kurdish forces control a large part of Syria northeast of the Euphrates plus the territory around the city of Manbij. Damascus considers the US-backed SDF illegal.

Syria has been in a state of civil war since 2011, with forces backing the country’s leader, President Bashar al-Assad, fighting numerous opposition groups backed by Western states, as well as militants and terrorist organisations including Daesh — a terrorist quasi-state, outlawed in a number of countries.

May 26, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

‘Not even White Helmets confirm it’: Russian MoD rubbishes Washington’s Syria chemical attack claims

RT | May 24, 2019

Moscow has blasted the US State Department’s claims about an alleged chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib province, saying the allegations totally lack proof and haven’t even been confirmed by Western-backed groups on the ground.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that Washington’s attempts to “impose another lie on this world” about the situation in Syria were “not even surprising anymore” as it denied that any such attack in Idlib took place.

The military also called out the US over the lack of evidence. When the State Department first reported an alleged attack on Tuesday it limited itself to saying that the US saw some “signs” it might have happened while failing to provide any details about the incident, except for the date on which it supposedly took place.

Even Western-backed groups, such as the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) and the White Helmets – the self-proclaimed civil defense group that operates exclusively in militant-controlled areas and has been accused of associating with extremists – did not support the claims of Washington this time, the ministry said.

Neither the SOHR nor the White Helmets published any related reports, although they have often been the first to report on alleged chemical attacks in militant-controlled areas, which Western officials then promptly blamed on the Syrian government.

Washington had to admit that it had “no definitive conclusions” about the alleged incident, but has not backed down from its claims. The State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told reporters on Thursday the US managed to obtain reports from “numerous sources including interviews with those present during the attack.”

These claims were also ridiculed by the Russian Defense Ministry as it said that the only “witnesses” and “sources” on the ground the US could have reached were the terrorists from Hayat Tahrir ash-Sham – formerly known as the Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate. The group defeated all other militant groups in the area back in February and have enjoyed “total control” over the region ever since.

The Russian military added that the Syrian Army unilaterally ceased fire a day before the supposed attack and did not respond to the militants’ provocations after that, and hence “there could have been no ‘attacks’ in the Idlib de-escalation zone on May 19 at all.” It argued that the story appears to serve as a “political cover for the terrorists’ desperate attempts to destabilize the situation … in Idlib and provoke a humanitarian catastrophe there.”

On Wednesday, Al-Nusra terrorists launched a large-scale offensive, with hundreds of militants supported by tanks and APCs, but the attack was repelled by the Syrian Army. At the same time, Russia’s Khmeimim airbase recently came under repeated rocket attacks from Idlib, sometimes involving explosive-laden drones to target the base. All of them were intercepted by air defenses.

May 25, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Alleged Chemical Weapons Use in Syria Needs to be Investigated – Moscow

Sputnik – May 22, 2019

MOSCOW – Russia stands for investigating all reported cases of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Wednesday, adding that this investigation should aim to find the truth rather than bring new accusations against Damascus.

“We have the information that provocations using chemical substances are constantly being prepared by militants and terrorists. Our US colleagues and their allies remain unresponsive to this information. In the OPCW [the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons], a so-called attributive mechanism has been created in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which now has to act, apparently, taking into account the principles that are politically formulated by Western countries in this field. We advocate the investigation of all cases with the use of poisonous weapons, but this must be an investigation and not just the pinning of labels,” Ryabkov told reporters.

He noted that the investigation should entail visits to the scene of the incident, interviews with witnesses and collection of uncontaminated evidence.

Previous such incidents only resulted in accusations against Damascus and no probes of this kind, the diplomat stressed.

“As a result, trust in the OPCW, once the most effective, successful international organization, which is universal in this area, has been undermined”, Ryabkov added.

US Department of State spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said on Tuesday that Washington was collecting information regarding an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria over the weekend and warned the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad that it would quickly respond if Damascus’ involvement was confirmed.The Russian Defence Ministry said earlier in May that militants of al-Nusra Front terror group were preparing to stage a false-flag provocation in Syria’s Idlib province to frame the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian army for allegedly attacking civilians with chemical weapons.

Last year, the United States, United Kingdom and France used claims of chemical attacks in Syria’s Khan Sheikhoun, Duma and Eastern Ghouta to justify missile strikes on Syria, without waiting for the results of an independent investigation. The Syrian government has denied any role in the attacks.

May 22, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , , | 1 Comment

Erdogan must honor his promise to return occupied Syrian territory

Turkish army pullout will bring peace to Northern Syria

By Firas Samuri | Aletho News | May 22, 2019

In mid-January 2018, the Turkish General Staff announced the beginning of Olive Branch Operation. The goal was to oust the Kurds from the outskirts of Afrin, as well as to create a buffer zone along the Syrian-Turkish border.

These steps were sharply criticized by the world community, but Ankara hastened to declare that the presence of its troops in Syria was temporary. Erdogan promised to return these territories to Syrians. Indeed, the fighting stopped on March 20 2018, after capturing Afrin when several hundred Kurds were killed and wounded. However, now it looks like Turkey is not going to leave the occupied territory.

Kurdistan 24 TV channel recently published information that Ankara is building a concrete wall around the city of Afrin to isolate it from its surroundings. “Sources on the ground in Afrin see this as another step of Turkey’s annexation of Afrin into its borders,” said Mutlu Çiviroğlu, a Syria and Kurdish affairs analyst. Though several locals support Turkish activity, it doesn’t bring peace and stability to the region. Just remember the events of the last year.

First of all, let’s notice the terrorist attacks in Afrin that have been carried out against the Turkish Forces and Free Syrian Army (FSA) units. Among the biggest attacks, the car bomb explosion in front of Ahrar al-Sharqiya headquarters is often mentioned. An investigation was initiated, but the responsible parties were never found. That demonstrates the support of the residents for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

Moreover, since the beginning of the Turkish occupation, the humanitarian situation in northern Syria has deteriorated significantly. The main reason is the closure of medical and educational facilities whose activities, for some reason, didn’t suit the local pro-Turkish administration. On demand of the Turks, some of them were converted to the military headquarters.

Return of the northern regions under the control of the Syrian government undoubtedly will lead to the reopening of the health centers, hospitals, and schools. Consequently, more Syrian children will be able to obtain an education, and older people will receive appropriate medical treatment.

The districts of Damascus that have been completely liberated from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham militants and now are being speedily reconstructed by the Syrian government serve as a good example. Thus, in February 2019, the provincial departments of education reported on the restoration of 57 schools, another eight are still being reconstructed. The same situation takes place in other parts of Syria.

The reopening of the Police stations and reactivation of other security services will help reduce arms and drug trafficking, as well as limit the supply of weapons to terrorists in the neighbouring province of Idlib. Such actions will lead to a de-escalation of tensions in the region.

Currently, the key reason for hostilities in the region is the ongoing extremist provocations. Ankara ignores such incidents as these radicals are fighting against Kurds. The militants are opposed to President Assad, but after the withdrawal of the Turkish troops, Damascus will be able to establish a dialogue with FSA, as has happened in southern Syria. There the Syrian government managed to persuade the militants to lay down weapons and then amnestied them.

At the same time, we should not forget about the fate of Kurds. If the north of Syria remains under Turkish control, thousands of locals will become refugees and won’t get back to their homes, fearing constant repression by the Turkish authorities. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 100,000 people have already left the region before the Turkish invasion.

Therefore, the return of the areas occupied by the Turkish Army to the control of the Syrian government is an essential step towards restoring sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. It contributes a lot to the strengthening of peace and stability, both in the north of the country and in the region as a whole.

May 22, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , | Leave a comment

Establishment Narrative Managers Struggle With New Syria Plot Holes

By Caitlin Johnstone | May 20, 2019

It has been about a week since the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media (WGSPM) published a leaked internal document from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) investigation into an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria last year. The document, whose authenticity the OPCW has confirmed, contends that the official story which was used to justify an air strike by the US, UK and France about poison gas being dropped on civilians from Syrian government helicopters is scientifically implausible, saying “In summary, observations at the scene of the two locations, together with subsequent analysis, suggest that there is a higher probability that both cylinders were manually placed at those two locations rather than being delivered from aircraft.”

The document, titled “Engineering Assessment of Two Cylinders Observed at the Douma Incident”, was signed by a man named Ian Henderson, whose name is seen listed in expert leadership positions on OPCW documents from as far back as 1998 and as recently as 2018. The OPCW hid this information from the public, for reasons it has yet to attempt to justify.

The fact that a longtime OPCW-trained investigator wildly dissented with the OPCW’s official conclusions within the OPCW’s own investigation should obviously have been made public knowledge, and this revelation should obviously have made headline news throughout the western media. Instead, it’s been completely ignored. Only a few alternative media outlets and the usual Russian publications have covered it.

“According to ProQuest database, [Peter] Hitchens’ piece is the only mention in any UK corporate newspaper so far,” tweeted media analysis site Media Lens yesterday.

So there’s a total media blackout on this story from the usual plutocratic news outlets, which is a huge story in and of itself. Just as significantly, the less well-known propagandists who are typically the first to attack any argument which casts doubt on the “Assad is a child-gassing monster who must be stopped at all cost” imperial narrative have been incredibly feeble in their attempts to dispute this new revelation.

Bellingcat is a pro-NATO narrative management firm which has defended ridiculous Syria regime change propaganda like the Bana Alabed psyop, and is consistently elevated with fawning puff pieces and collaborative reports from major mass media outlets like the Guardian and the New York Times. As of this writing it has published absolutely nothing on the Engineering Assessment. Nothing for, nothing against. Nothing. The outlet’s incredibly shady founder, Eliot Higgins, has responded to this new revelation by pinning a tweet citing a completely baseless theory that the WGSPM “got played by a disgruntled OPCW employee.”

“This reporting by @Brian_Whit on the leaked Douma report that the conspiracy theorists and chemical weapon denialists are so excited about is consistent with what I’m hearing. Looks like they all got played by a disgruntled OPCW employee,” Higgins tweeted with a link to a Medium article by UK reporter and virulent Syria regime change cheerleader Brian Whitaker, adding, “This is why the Syrian Propaganda Group needs to work on verifying things it decides to republish, even if it fits with their attempts to deny chemical weapon use in Syria, otherwise they just get played by people with their own agenda.”

The silliness of this argument was pointed out by journalist Aaron Maté, who responded, “What ‘reporting’? He’s citing rumors that he acknowledges are ‘not confirmed.’ Regardless, the document comes from OPCW, as Whitaker’s update notes. The question now is whose findings are accurate — and there’s nothing in this article that challenges the leaked findings.”

Maté highlighted portions of the text that Higgins shared from Whitaker’s article, which I will put in bold here:

“One story circulating in the chemical weapons community (though not confirmed) is that Henderson had wanted to join the FFM and got rebuffed but was then given permission to do some investigating on the sidelines of the FFM. The suggestion (again, not confirmed) is that this was a way of extending his contract at the OPCW. If true, it might explain how he appeared to be working with the FFM while not (according to the OPCW press office) actually being part of it.”

Even if all of the completely unconfirmed things Whitaker is speculating are true, it wouldn’t actually negate the importance of the Engineering Assessment; this is merely an attempt to divert attention from the message to the messenger. And, again, this was a post that Higgins pinned to the top of his Twitter profile. It was his very best argument.

It is not terribly surprising that Higgins has struggled to address this new revelation, partly because there’s not much ground upon which for him to do so, and partly because in the midst of an online debate in the wake of the alleged Douma attacks he already conceded that one of the gas cylinders may have been manually placed where it was photographed.

“Again, you’re assuming it was photographed in its original resting place and not moved. Keep up,” Higgins tweeted following the April 2018 incident in response to someone questioning the strange placement and circumstances of one of the cylinders. It was lying on an unbroken bed in relatively good condition and people were rightly perplexed as to why it hadn’t shattered the bed base upon impact.

Idrees Ahmad, a particularly loathsome anti-Assad regime change propagandist who has smoothly transitioned into an anti-Maduro regime change propagandist as well when the US empire focused its crosshairs on Venezuela, has had similar difficulty in addressing the leaked document. Ahmad flipped out and posted dozens of tweets in response to Susan Sarandon sharing my article about the OPCW’s admission that the Henderson report is legitimate. His arguments range in brilliance from falsely claiming that I am an “Australian fascist”, to repeatedly arguing that Henderson’s conclusions differ from the official OPCW report (duh), to repeatedly regurgitating Higgins’ aforementioned baseless argument about Henderson being a “disgruntled OPCW employee”.

So they’ve really got nothing. There is no actual argument to be made that the OPCW had any business keeping the public in the dark about a dissenting assessment about the Douma incident signed by a longtime OPCW investigator. Or if there is I haven’t seen it, and I’ve been looking in all the usual places one might expect such an argument to appear.

There are still plenty of unanswered questions about the Douma incident. The leaked document doesn’t by itself prove that the Engineering Assessment is correct and the official OPCW findings are incorrect, it just proves that there were other analyses which differed sharply with the official conclusions we’ve been permitted to see, and that we weren’t permitted to see those analyses. In a post-Iraq invasion world, this by itself is entirely unacceptable. And, rather than pushing for answers and accountability, the so-called journalists of the largest media outlets in the west are completely ignoring it.

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

OPCW, Douma and the Post Truth World

By James O’Neill – New Eastern Outlook – 21.05.2019

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) came into effect on 29 April 1997. 193 Member States of the United Nations have ratified it. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is the United Nations body charged with the task of monitoring compliance with the CWC. It is based in The Hague. Among its powers are the powers to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons, and (since June 2018) the power to assign blame.

The investigations are carried out by a Fact Finding Mission, which compromises a team of experts from the relevant scientific disciplines. Additional technical assistance is frequently sought from bodies external to the OPCW, typically university departments.

The use of chemical weapons, apart from being banned under the CWC, can constitute war crimes and/or crimes under the civil jurisdiction of the country where they are used. As with any forensic examination of a crime scene, the integrity of the investigation process and any conclusions reached must accord with the highest standards of professional practice.

The work of the OPCW has had a high profile in the past two years because of three well-publicized incidents. The first of these was the alleged use of sarin gas in the Syrian town of Khan Shaykun on 4th of April 2017.

Less than one week after the alleged attack, the United States government released his own intelligence report in which they expressed their “confidence” that the Syrian ‘regime’ had used sarin against its own people. On this unsourced and uninvestigated, much less forensically examined incident, the United States launched a barrage of cruise missiles against Syrian targets. That this response was itself a gross violation of international law was barely considered by the mainstream media at the time, so content were (and are) they in demonizing the Syrian government and in particular its President Bashar al Assad.

The OPCW report of the incident was no better than the US intelligence estimate. Without having visited the site, and without meeting minimum forensic standards such as determining a proper chain of custody, the OPCW in its October 2017 report nonetheless attributed the release of sarin gas to the Syrian government.

The second incident to receive wide publicity, expressions of outrage from western governments and large-scale expulsion of Russian diplomats, was the alleged nerve agent attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, United Kingdom, in March 2018.

The UK government, again before any scientific investigation and a proper conclusion could be reached, announced in parliament the first of its many versions or what they alleged had happened. The manifold absurdities of the U.K. Governments explanation as to what happened to the Skripals is outside the scope of this article. They are usefully summarised by British researcher Rob Slane.

In the Salisbury case, the OPCW investigators arrived at the scene nearly three weeks after the incident and then produced a report that is a masterpiece of obfuscation. Without actually rebutting the UK government’s version, they also failed to confirm it. They would only refer to the “toxic chemical compound which displays the properties of a nerve agent” as being found in the biomedical and environmental samples provided to them by the UK government.

One clue as to the reason for this caution is that the samples analysed by the OPCW were said to be of “high purity”, something that is literally impossible if examined weeks after the event. As with Khan Shaykun, evidence and logic did not feature in the responses of either the western governments who expelled Russian diplomats, or the western mainstream media that blamed the Russians. Then as now, the official government version is the least likely scenario of several possible versions.

Had the OPCW properly investigated the incident, and perhaps more importantly released the full details of its investigation, including the real cause of the Skripal’s illness, the Russian blame game would not have travelled the distance that it has.

Only a month after the Salisbury events, and perhaps coincidentally, there was another alleged chemical attack by the Syrian government on civilians in the city of Douma.

Douma was an area held by the Al Qaeda linked terrorist group, Jaysh-al-Islam. The Syrian army was on the verge of recapturing the city. Jaysh-al-Islam had a powerful motive to try and enlist the support of the US led “Coalition” that has been illegally occupying Syrian territory since 2015. Australia is a member of that coalition, and the only justification given for that participation (by then Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in November 2015) is simply nonsense from the viewpoint of international law.

At the time of the alleged attack, the western media were full of images of dead persons including children, the claimed activities of the so-called humanitarian White Helmets personnel, and pictures of two cylindrical objects purportedly used to spread the chemical agents that caused the death of the pictured victims.

The OPCW team began its on-site investigations in April-May 2018. It obtained expert assistance from two European universities as well as its own internal experts. The final report was issued on 1st of March 2019, long after western media and politicians had not only taken the view that the Syrian government was responsible, but that it ought to be punished. Part of that response was a missile attack by United States, United Kingdom and French forces long before the OPCW team had commenced, let alone concluded, their investigation. As with the Khan Shaykun missile attack a year earlier, this latest attack was also a breach of international law.

What the OPCW report failed to disclose were the conclusions of an internal report by its own experts of their assessment as to what had actually happened. That suppressed report has now been leaked. Its findings are devastating, not only to the credibility of the OPCW, already damaged by the Khan Shaykun and Salisbury reports, but also to the credibility of the western mainstream media and western politicians.

Both of these groups had sought to blame the Syrian government and its principal backers, Russia Iran and Hezbollah, in the most extreme terms, and utterly without regard to the most basic principles of international law, forensic methodology, and the need to establish an evidential foundation before taking precipitate action which in this case could have had catastrophic consequences.

The suppressed report was signed by Ian Henderson, a senior OPCW staffer since 1998. Dr Henderson’s team applied the laws of physics and engineering to the results of their empirical observations. A detailed analysis of the Henderson report can be found in Paul McKeigue et al Briefing Note on the Final Report of the OPCW Fact-finding Mission on the Alleged Chemical Attack in Douma in April 2018.

The OPCW team led by Dr Henderson inspected the locations where the aforementioned cylinders were found (and widely photographed) as well as the alleged associated damage to the buildings. They concluded that the dimensions, characteristics and appearance of the cylinders and the surrounding scenes were inconsistent with those cylinders having been dropped from an aircraft. That they were manually placed where they were photographed “is the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene”.

McKeigue et al referred to the findings set out in their earlier Briefing Note and concluded “these findings, taken together, establish beyond reasonable doubt that the alleged chemical attack in Douma on 7 April 2018 was staged”.

Those conclusions raised a number of obvious questions. The first is, how did the victims, so graphically displayed, actually die? The forensic evidence clearly shows that these victims were undoubtedly hung upside down, their eyes blindfolded, and then murdered with exposure to a toxic chemical. Their bodies were then transported to the location where they were photographed, to form the pictorial backdrop to the allegations of a chemical attack by Syrian government forces.

The terrorists were the only ones with the means, motive and opportunity to murder these victims and then arrange the scenes for their propaganda purposes. It is an irresistible inference that in these staged scenes they were aided and abetted by the White Helmets. Far from being a neutral humanitarian group, the White Helmets, trained by the British, are not part of the solution; they are part of the problem.

The second question Dr Henderson’s report raises is in two parts: why did the OPCW suppress this report and not include its findings in the OPCW final report released in March 2019; and why have the western media, including Australia, completely failed to report both the fact of the suppression of the crucial evidence in Dr Henderson’s report, and the substance of the fact-finding missions conclusions?

It is a measure of the disgraceful state that the western mainstream media have fallen into, that they refuse to report, much less analyse, vital information that could easily have led to a major war between the United States and its allies (including Australia) and Russia.

At the time that the United States, United Kingdom and France were announcing their intention to attack Syria in retaliation for the Douma incident, the Russian military warned that if the missiles targeted their serviceman they would not only destroy the missiles but the carriers from which they were fired. There is no doubting their capacity to do so (Martyanov Losing Military Supremacy 2018). A full-scale war could easily have eventuated.

The final point is that any future OPCW reports must inevitably be treated with a degree of skepticism. The international community, and undoubtedly the overwhelming majority of the member states that signed the CWC are concerned that such an important body has been compromised in this way. It is not too difficult to infer that political pressure had been applied to all three of the investigations noted here.

It is too much to expect that our mainstream media and the politicians will issue a mea culpa after this latest exposure of their duplicity and sacrifice of principle and probity in pursuit of US geopolitical aims. Perhaps in the future however, they will be less quick to condemn and take actions that could so very easily lead to another war based on lies and imperial hubris.

James O’Neill is an Australian-based Barrister at Law and geopolitical analyst.

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment