Category Archive: Syria

May 03 2017

Aleppo & Homs, A Tale of 2 Cities

Aleppo and Homs, he largest and third largest cities in Syria have been severely impacted over the last 6 years by the ongoing war. The destruction is horrific.   Finally, however, there is peace in which to think about rebuilding.   The opportunity exists to look around and evaluate the damage, and to begin to  think about rebuilding.    Below I have posted 2 very different short videos where the people who live in these cities explain what happened to them, and what activity is currently going on there.   Has restoration begun?  What will it entail?  When, if ever, do people plan on returning to these devastated areas?

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Apr 28 2017

Untangling the Conflicting Narratives from Khan Sheikhoun

General Mattis, in a recent interview in Israel, stated that “there can be no doubt” that Syria held back some of it’s chemical weapons in 2013. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) supervised the removal of Syrians chemical weapons which were later destroyed by Americans on a U.S. warship at sea. Russia was not directly involved at all. They OPCW reported that they had got all of the Syrian CW except the ones stored in areas under control of the ‘opposition fighters’. According to an official who reported on Democracy Now! the Syrians were very cooperative and most of what they found there were unopened canisters of precursor chemicals.

Of course this story is still making headlines.   While the US is actually blocking attempts for a thorough investigation, more  organizations are ‘confirming’ that it was indeed sarin that killed or sickened the people in Khan Sheikhoun.

But getting back to examining the narratives.   We have an attack with some kind of gas (asserted to be sarin, but probably chlorine) early in the morning while people were just rising.    We have claims that attack was by a Syrian airplane, but the evidence indicates a ground based device.  Trumps’ people say they saw a plane head from the Shayrat airport to Khan Sheikhoun at the time of this attack.  There are claims that 100s of people were affected, including many children.   Of these, about 30 were taken to Turkey for treatment and though these people point to missing and killed relatives, there is no evidence of the numbers claimed by the videos from Al Nusra.  The Trump team claims to have seen a plane in their satellite imagery in the early morning

The Syrians admit to flying a mission to destroy an ammunition depot around noon.  .   The intended target, however, did not produce the explosion one might expect from detonating a large stash of explosives.   The Syrians usually have good intelligence.   Could the weapons and explosives have been removed?

Can we connect these 2 narratives?

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Apr 26 2017

Rojava – A Popular Project of Empire

States had a hand in that decision as well.   Meanwhile, the time has passed and circumstances are changed.  The countries that currently exist in the Middle East may or may not survive but for us here to decide their fates is a continuation of a gross imperial violation of the rights of the people of that region.

We can’t decide which force in these war torn regions is really the one that will be best for the people there based on our assumptions about their reality.   That is why we have to withdraw from the field rather than attempt to determine what is best for the people and manage events so it will happen.   We can’t control the empire.  We can only resist it’s drive.    For us to decide what is best for the people there is like religious people who think they can apprehend God and God’s will in a particular way.   Our imaginations aren’t big enough to encompass God.  We can’t play god and make decisions for these regions where imperial decision makers have bee wreaking havoc for two centuries.

Rojava is and interesting example of this phenomenon.

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Apr 25 2017

UN Sets Up Camps Outside Raqqa

There are images of sweet, well dressed children eating food in a refugee camp.   The UN spokesperson says that they are setting up camps to receive the refugees when the US bombing starts.  The US needs to save face after their bloody work in Mosul and Idlib.    He says that they (the UN) are urging all parties to abide by International and humanitarian law. ISIS?   They are urging ISIS to abide by humanitarian law?  He says that they have set up camps in the area and they are receiving people.   But how?   Is ISIS allowing  their human shields walk away from Raqqa?

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Apr 25 2017

The Syrian ‘Civil’ War

I’m not sure that the Syrian War was ever a civil war.    The inflammatory incident in Dara’a very early in 2011 was documented by false flag videos on Al Jazeera and was augmented by a huge weapons stash in the central Mosque, brought in through Jordan from Libya by foreign fighters.    The FSA were payed and trained by the Turkish and Qatari governments.    Syria is a multi-ethnic, religiously diverse country.   The Grand Mufti’s youngest son, a college student in Aleppo, was assassinated by a couple of Saudi hit men in mid 2011.   But, Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, the most revered Sunni scholar in Syria did not quit.   He joined forces with the Orthodox Bishops to promote peace.   Both claim all Syrians as their children.

Foreign TV and print news framed the violence as a religious war, a sectarian war.   And it’s true that there has been considerable ‘Sunni’ fundamentalist violence directed at others.  However, the Grand Mufti’s story tell us it isn’t a ‘religious civil’ war as the highest Sunni stands with the minorities who are the victims.   The perception of a civil war confused many people, including Syrians, off the jump.   People had to adapt all over Syria to militias taking over their communities and propaganda from English language sources and Saudi Arabian and Qatari news outlets told them over and over that a civil war had begun and they would have to choose a side.    Massacres occurred, and  local press descriptions of events and government attempts to stabilize the situation were countered by the same international media, claiming that their own government and army were attacking citizens around the country.    This propaganda has been a very effective part of the war on Syria.

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Apr 08 2017

UNAC Statement: U.S. Stop Bombing Syria

Statement by United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)

Stop the U.S. Bombing of Syria! 

U.S. Out of Syria and the Middle East Now!

(See list of actions at the bottom of this statement.  Join an action or organize your own and let us know about your action by emailing: *protected email*)

On Thursday, April 6, the Trump administration launched 60 Cruise Tomahawk missiles from its offshore Mediterranean warships at Syria’s al-Sshayrat military airfield near Homs, Syria’s third largest city. The U.S. strikes obliterated substantial portions of Syria’s military capacity there. Trump’s action came a day after Democrat Hillary Clinton urged the U.S. bombing of Syria.

Neither Trump nor any other U.S. government agency presented a shed of proof that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used sarin nerve gas in its bombing of ISIS, Al Qaida or any other “rebel” groups in Syria’s Idlib province. President Assad denied using sarin gas while “Russia’s defense ministry” according to the UK-based Guardian, has stated that the chemicals were release when a Syria bombed a “rebel” arm storage facility.

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Jan 20 2017

Grand Mufti of Syria

I was very moved by Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, Grand Mufti of Syria when I met him last summer in Damascus.   Like Bashar Assad, the Mufti has been misrepresented and demonized in the Western press.   Though a very different personality than the Syrian President, the Mufti, like the President, represents what is good and strong in Syrian society.

The Grand Mufti of any country is the highest Sunni official who interprets the law for his people. Many Muslim countries have a Grand Mufti. Like most other Sunni majority countries, Syria has a Grand Mufti.   According to my research, the  Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun studied in a relatively conservative tradition of Islamic Law, but my sense of him was that he is a man who is open to the spirit as well as the letter of the law., whose faith and understanding have grown through the experiences of life,   If Mr. Assad is the head of a Syrian state fighting for survival, Grand Mufti Hassoun is the heart of a great people who will not be divided by terrorism and threats, by isolation from an arrogant Western led global economy or the lure false prophets who offer an Allah limited to the imaginations of impoverished humanity.

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Jan 09 2017

After Aleppo

Since the liberation of Aleppo, there have been a broad swathe of terrorist attacks across Syria.   A truck bomb was detonated at a checkpoint in Latakia killing numerous women and children.   The water supply to Damascus has been shut down by Al Nusra Front militants since around Christmas.   There was a massive attack against the …

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Nov 11 2016

US Peace Council on Syria: Terrorism in Syria Sponsored by the US

Members of the US Peace Council and our Fact Finding Peace Delegation to Syria recently published the following video on Syria.   It provides an excellent overview of what is really happening in Syria.

Terrorism in Syria: Sponsored by the U.S. with Middle Eastern & European Allies

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Oct 20 2016

Aleppo in the Eye of the Storm

Reconciliation and the War in Aleppo

You probably thought, when you read my last post about imminent reconciliation in Aleppo, that I was bonkers. Indeed the war rages on in Aleppo. Not only is the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) moving to retake the Eastern side of the city, but the fighters in East Aleppo, with Al Nusra and ISIS flags at the forefront, are persistently bombing areas of West Aleppo that their weapons can reach. Numerous civilians have been killed and wounded in these attacks on strictly civilian areas including many children (RT News, October 14 – 17). There is no doubt that there are also civilian casualties in Eastern Aleppo where the fighting is actually occurring as reported in the Western media.

The latest from the Syrian war reporters is that the SAA now holds a number of critical hills around East Aleppo, and they are feeling confident of an imminent victory. The reconciliation message is popular in Syria and so the government is promoting it, just as the US style reconciliation imposed by international agreements among competing states is popular in the west, and the absence of that possibility is the source of endless one sided propaganda in our news. In fact, it is a very aggressive schedule to expect the reconciliation plan to work so quickly. However, the cards are on the table. Amnesty for fighters who lay down their arms, a bus trip to Idlib for those who do not wish to continue a hopeless battle but do wish to fight for independence, and a rout for the foreign mercenaries and extremists leading too relief for civilians and ongoing support from the government.

When we met with Ali Haidar, he told us that whenever the reconciliation is imminent the intensity of resistance rises. He also said that building the reconciliation is a slow process. This is surely a problem in Aleppo where they are under a great deal of pressure from the international forces that are vying for power in Syria. The Syrians and their Russian allies have once again called a unilateral halt to fighting so that civilians and the wounded can be evacuated to West Aleppo. I hope this time they will be allowed to leave, but it is certainly not guaranteed. Al Nusra leadership has rejected the offer to leave Aleppo under international protection. The issue of sorting FSA moderates from Al Qaeda is once again on the table, though that too has been repeatedly rejected.

Meanwhile, the US is currently engaged in a battle to retake Mosul, Iraq from ISIS. Along with the Iraqi Army, Shia militias from the south and local Sunni militias, the Kurdish Peshmerga and Turkish forces, there are 1500 Americans in this battle as ‘advisors’. Shades of Vietnam. The coalition is not stable. Unlike the Syrian coalition, which is composed of allied forces, this is an ad hoc coalition of opportunity. The Sunni and Shia militias don’t trust one another. The Peshmerga expect to be repaid in villages given over to Kurdish governance, and Turkey has coveted Mosul since they lost it in the negotiations that ended the Ottoman Empire.

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