As i mentioned our visit was cut short by 24 hours maybe because they were worried that the Castello road to the north might close again, not sure. Day before yesterday 2 suicide bomber vehicles were intercepted by air to ground missiles inside the northern perimeter of the western area of Aleppo.
Terrorist hell cannon activity has increased in response to the Russian and Syrian strikes particularly in the Ramousie area which is where the terrorists claim to have taken ground. (Unfortunately, they did) The reports from inside Aleppo tell us the opposite, that the SAA lured terrorists out into the open before deploying air strikes which wiped out over 2000 terrorists.
Terrorists used chemical weapons in an attack on the old city on the 2nd August. 4 died including one REAL Syrian Civil Defense worker [not the fake White Helmets] and 25 women were affected by the toxic gas…described to be similar to Chlorine or Mustard.
News Release: US to Syria Peace and Fact-Finding Delegation
2016 August 9~ A Peace and Fact-Finding Delegation, organized by the U.S. Peace Council (USPC) just returned from a week-long visit to Syria. The delegation met with representatives of numerous NGOs, heads of industry, religious leaders and civil society, high-level leaders of the Syrian government, and it held an extended private meeting with President Bashar al Assad.
The delegation’s findings could not be more timely as the world watched the Obama administration escalating violence and bombing in Libya and threatening to escalate its overt military role in Syria. These violent actions take place while the Syrian government and its allies are closing in on the various foreign-funded terrorist groups that have plagued the people of Syria for over 5 years.
Several members of my Delegation to Syria held a press conference at the United Nations with Dr. Ja’afari. Listen if you would like to hear other voices describing their experience in Syria and what they learned there.
There are 2 schools of thought about what is happening in Syria. One is that somehow this vicious war on the Syrian State and the Syrian people is being fought to save the Syrian people from some demonic force, to free them from oppression, and the organizationally fragmented extremist jihadi fighters who are driving it and their sponsors in Qatar and Saudi Arabia will somehow make an idyllic populist democracy there – if they suffer from poor taste that isn’t our problem.
The other is that the United States in her allies are attempting to destroy the last secular republic in the Middle East because popular governance is inconvenient, and they will persevere at any cost to do so. We need to look at the realities because the Syrian Arab Republic, however imperfect, is just that, the last secular republic in the Middle East with functioning (albeit weakened) public utilities and resources, and a government and military populated by people of all sects, regions and ethnicities across the country including a reasonable proportion of women. Furthermore, Russia and Iran are on the sidelines giving more or less support and weighing the risks of a bold confrontation with the United States. No sane person wants to trigger another world war. How far should they let this go?
While the Mainstream media is bleeding over endlessly looped one sided stories of the misery of war and analysis that ignores the behavior of what are essentially occupying forces in many towns and cities of Syria, this is what is really going on in this war – right now. As Americans, is this what we want our country to be doing?
Yesterday was quite an interesting day. We met with President Assad in the morning and talked at some length. We began by exchanging introductions and then we asked him some very serious questions. We were not allowed to record the session but many of us took at least some notes. He told us that his strongest focus is on representing the Syrian people and holding the state together on their behalf. He described numerous programs the Syrian state has enacted to protect the people during this very difficult time. The government has converted schools and other buildings into refugee centers. They continue to provide, to the best of their ability, free education and medical care to everyone in the government held areas; they supply power, clean water and food even to areas that are occupied by militants where it is possible.
And he proudly told us that the Syrian Arab Army, an army of the people which is defending the country against a brutal attack, have finally closed the road from Aleppo to Turkey. This is very important because the militants in East Aleppo, and especially Al Nusra Front, the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda, have been receiving money and weapons from Turkey. He then told us that he had just issued the order to implement the humanitarian corridors and amnesty for Syrian nationals. He said that there are two ways to deplete the violence. The first is to fight to the bitter end. The other is to provide an incentive for people to stop fighting and give them a safe passage back to the lives they have left.
Greetings from Damascus. We had some great meetings so far this week. SANA News has been following us everywhere and reporting on our meetings daily. The show of solidarity means a lot to them. On Monday we met with the ministers of Health an Reconciliation. Ali Haidar is a very interesting person. His party is the Syrian Socialist National Party (SSNP). They were leaders in the peaceful resistance before the violence began. He has very interesting methods in his current position. We had him to dinner this evening. He never had a chance to eat but he gave a very interesting history of the political context in Syria. More on all this later.
We have met with Members of the government, the Chairman of the Lawyers Syndicate, the President of Damascus University and some members of the Damascus Chamber of Industry. The members of the government and the others all have the same message: The sanctions are harming the people of Syria and Syrian society. There are specific sanctions on medical supplies and oil infrastructure as well as the general sanctions that have made international bank transactions impossible and have severely depreciated the value of the Syrian Lb. There is only a political solution to the war but it must be an internal political solution. The objective of the government is to expel the foreign terrorists and make a reconciliation with those Syrian nationals who are currently disaffected and fighting their country. The United States could assist in this process by ceasing to arm and provide resources to the mercenaries engaged in the war, and restrain their allies to the same policy.
Pray for Syria, a concert for a country and a people who can use all the prayers we can pray. On May 4, conductor Valery Gergiev, and the Russian Mariinsky Theater Orchestra played a benefit concert for the UNESCO site at Palmyra, and a tribute to the men who liberated the city from ISIS a few weeks before, in Palmyra’s historic amphitheater. The concert was played before an audience that included Syrian and Russian soldiers who have remained in Palmyra to clear bombs left behind by ISIS to destroy the site and the nearby town of Tadmor. They dedicated the performance to Aleksandr Prokhorenko, a Russian Soldier who sacrificed his life during the retaking of the city, and to Aleksandr Prokhorenko, the Syrian proprietor of the Archeological site there who was beheaded by ISIS and hung from a column in the main square at the historic site.
I finally found time to listen to the concert last night. I can attest, after listening, that Gergiev and his orchestra put on a brilliant performance. Moreover, the outdoor setting, the splendor of the ancient ruins in the midst of open desert under a cloudless blue sky, where the audience sat on the same bleachers as members of the Roman Empire more than two millennia ago was an austere space, but also a sort of dreamscape where past and present overlap in simple perfection. And the music, the music was exquisite, During intermission, children with wreaths of flowers in their hair sang a patriotic song. What a lovely and gracious gift to the people of Syria!
#Aleppo is on fire, alright. But, it doesn’t look quite the way the Western Mainstream Media reports it. On April 28th, the New York times reported, Divided Aleppo Plunges Back Into War as Syrian Hospital Is Hit. The article gives context to events in the first paragraph as follows: “as they reeled from government airstrikes that demolished a hospital in the insurgent-held side and from retaliatory mortar assaults by rebels on the government-held side.” It goes on to quantify the casualties on the ‘rebel’ side and to give details of the destruction there. Twitter is aflutter with #AleppoBurning and #AleppoHospital tweets castigating the government forces for violating the cease fire and attacking a hospital, ‘killing the last pediatrician in Aleppo’.
I don’t know about the strike on the hospital. I don’t know if the hospital was a hospital before the war, and if not, it it was identified as a hospital for forces. The claim is that it was, in which case there is not justification for bombing the site. However, the context of this report is all wrong. The bombing of the hospital was not the beginning of this battle, nor a peremptory violation of the cease fire. And though it is a tragedy that people were killed, that a doctor was killed, the doctor. was not the last pediatrician in Aleppo nor can we be certain that the majority of casualties occurred among the U.S. supported fighters and their families holding a small portion of the city in Eastern Aleppo.
According to a journalist in Aleppo writing under the name Edward Dark, there are 2 million people in the government held portion of Aleppo, and 200 thousand in the so called ‘rebel held’ area, which he claims is populated by Al Nusra and their associates. Constant shelling over the last week of civilian areas in West Aleppo, the 75% of the city held by the government, have resulted in hundreds of civilian casualties.
An article in the Russian blog, Russia Behind the Headlines asks the question “Why does Moscow need Syrian Kurdistan?” I think they are asking the wrong question. The Russians initially allied with the Kurds to make sure that the Syrian border with Turkey would be sealed. To end the Syrian war, it is necessary to bar the flow of fighters and goods for ISIS and al Nusra crossing the border. It is necessary to end the flow of oil crossing into Turkey from Syrian wells under ISIS control. There was no problem with being allied both with the Syrian central government (with Assad as President) and with the Kurds, because the Kurds have been allied with the central government throughout the war. They may have wavered for a moment when the U.S. came in and supported them in Kobani, but that is an old story now.
Following the ceasefire, my associate wrote from his home in Aleppo to update his friends in the west on the circumstances there.
-: Aleppo city is much more calmer since the beginning of the agreement, except for some violations that took place the first hours of the agreement, and yesterday at 21:50, when 2 mortars shelled on the government held area, followed by ambulance sirens around 22:00. In general, so far, Aleppo city is much calmer than before. No shells, no jets in the sky, no clashes. 80% better than before.
– Situation in Aleppo province didn’t change much, according to news. The terrorists attacked the liberated villages of Nobbol & az-Zahraa with rockets, but there were no casualties. In other areas of the province, fighting is still on going: SAA (The Syrian Arab Army) vs. Nusra & Da’esh; Kurds vs. Turks from the borders; Kurds vs. Terrorists; terrorists vs. other terrorists… Violations of the ceasefire are from the terrorist groups and Turkey.