Watch as the Propaganda Juggernaut Moves on From Aleppo to Damascus
The Liberation of Aleppo didn't stop the Opposition juggernaut and its propaganda machine - now its '100,000 civilians under siege' on the outskirts of the capital, and four million hostages in Damascus... Article first published on Russian InsiderJanuary 6, 2016. Republished here with author's permission.
The 'liberation of Aleppo' didn't just free tens of thousands of people from oppression and intimidation by violent militants and mercenaries; it also freed hundreds of thousands in Western Aleppo from a four-year long regime of terror. As the citizens of European countries become increasingly paralysed by the terrorist attacks on public gatherings in some cities, they might spare a thought for the millions of Syrians who have been living with this threat every day since the US and its allies launched the 'War OF Terror' on Syria in 2011.
But there may be another welcome change brought by Aleppo's liberation; that the Syrian Opposition and its supporters are now living on borrowed time. The propaganda juggernaut that was unleashed against the Syrian Army and its allies - Russia, Iran and Hezbollah - had gained so much momentum that it simply kept going, despite being mortally wounded. And even as the last militants were forced from their hold out in Aleppo's old city, a literal juggernaut of aid was being dispatched from Europe to help them stay there.
Barely pausing to acknowledge that Aleppo had indeed 'fallen' - as they described it - a new narrative was rapidly developed to sustain the 'Syrian Revolution' both in its supporters' minds and on the ground. As the real Syrian civilians in need of food and medical care streamed into reception centres set up by the Russian and Syrian governments in West Aleppo, the mythical 'quarter of a million civilians besieged by Assad's and Putin's bombs' in East Aleppo were urgently relocated to Idlib province, where they could again be used as human shields to protect the dwindling insurgent army.
They weren't actually relocated of course, as the evacuations showed quite dramatically that these masses of anti-Assad Syrian civilians had never been there in the first place. Even some of the fighters in the East deserted the fake revolution, bravely accepting the government's amnesty and re-joining their liberated fellow Syrians.
Adding insult to the injury of watching Syrians across the country celebrate the dramatic new gains in Syria's War on Terror, Russian and Turkish diplomats had talks with representatives of some Syrian armed groups and negotiated a nationwide ceasefire with them, later ratified by the UN Security Council. The jihadists who had just been bussed out of East Aleppo with their families into the remaining 'rebel-held' territory around Idlib evidently weren't party to the ceasefire agreement, having refused to cease firing in East Aleppo. But for the insistence of the UN, and the necessity to force an agreement to end the 'rebel' siege, those recalcitrant extremists would have been imprisoned or executed. Such punishment was certainly deemed reasonable by most Syrians, many of whom had lost relatives from their violent criminal attacks.
So what to do? How to sustain the fake 'revolution' when the revolutionaries have been so comprehensively exposed, not just as violent terrorists no different from those involved in attacks in European cities, but as mercenaries being assisted by the coalition of Syria's enemies in the West. For not only did the clearance of the last jihadists from East Aleppo allow people to go back and see what remained of their dear city - they also discovered what had really being going on there, particularly in the last few months.
Hospitals and schools had become military bases and weapons factories, and basements were used to torture prisoners and hostages and to store weapons and ammunition. Most extraordinarily, the 'rebels' had been forced to leave behind an arsenal of weapons that filled seven warehouses, as well as betraying the sponsors of the 'democratic revolution'. Truckloads of missiles and ammunition, and even tanks, all shipped in from the West via Turkey were brought out for display to the World's media...
And the 'World's' media? They lost interest a few days before the siege was ended. In a collective act of diversion, reminiscent of 'displacement activity', all those Western media organisations who had been so recently hysterical about 'saving Aleppo's children' suddenly found other urgent or trivial events to focus on. Having been prepared to support a full-scale military attack on Syrian Defence forces and their allies, if only leaders could be persuaded to launch one, the many foreign false 'Friends of Syria' could barely even admit to themselves what had just happened.
Not only had their concocted false narrative been exposed as criminally fraudulent, but their endless attacks on Russia, Syria and their allies for 'brutal carelessness' and 'war crimes' had also been betrayed by events on the ground. Unlike examples from recent history, where the breaking of sieges was accompanied by huge 'collateral damage' - one thinks of Fallujah in 2004 or Sirte in 2012 - the death toll of civilians sustained in the Syrian Army's operation in East Aleppo appears to have been minimal. Indeed the greatest number of casualties that could be claimed by supporters of the insurgency was less than 100, and most of those appear to have been prisoners or civilians trying to escape who were killed by the militants.
The widely broadcast warnings from the likes of Samantha Power, that this was going to be another 'Guernica' or 'Sbrenica', were revealed as merely desperate and grotesque attempts to save the West's fast-collapsing regime-change project.
But sadly that is not the end of it.
Even before the siege was over Al Jazeera was preparing to continue its daily 'Aleppo Onslaught' news broadcast with an 'Idlib Onslaught' one. We may remember how in the last days opposition armed groups refused to accept the agreed liberation of villages Foua and Kefraya, setting fire to 25 buses sent to bring out residents and holding the drivers hostage. This was an indication of the nature of the armed groups holding power west of Aleppo and around Idlib, and even Western commentators acknowledged they were dominated by Jabhat al Nusra. But Al Jazeera continued to provide global media support to their terrorist 'brothers under siege' in East Aleppo, and intended to follow them as they were finally expelled from their to Idlib province.
While Al Jazeera and its partner organisations have continued with this unconvincing theme - that 'civilians' and 'moderate rebels' in Idlib will be endangered by Syrian and Russian airstrikes against Al Qaeda linked militants not covered by the ceasefire agreement - support groups in the UK, and proabably elsewhere seem to have come up with a better scheme.
A group calling itself 'Syria Solidarity UK' claims to have received a statement from 'local community organisations' in Wadi Barada, which is a valley extending north-west from Damascus that contains the ancient spring of Ain al Fijeh that supplies 70% of the city's water.
Reliable Syrian sources reported that militants occupying the valley had poured diesel into the water, forcing authorities to cut off the supply to Damascus about ten days ago. The Syrian Army and Hezbollah allies ( the area is close to the Lebanese border) are now trying to kill the armed jihadists - Jabhat al Nusra - in the villages close to the spring, following the evacuation of remaining civilians in the area. Along with the nearby 'rebel' hold-outs of Madaya and Zabadani, Wadi Barada has been under opposition control since 2012, and attempts to negotiate ceasefire settlements in this area have so far failed. The success of such negotiations in many other towns and cities, including suburbs of Damascus, Homs and now Aleppo, mostly hinged upon an 'escape clause' for the Islamist extremist groups and their families, and it is imporant to understand how this bizarre policy could work and why it was necessary.
Most of the fighters in these liberated areas were prepared to accept the Government amnesty, which guaranteed that no punitive action would be taken against those who surrendered their arms. The determined jihadists who refused were given safe passage, with their families and even their weapons to Idlib province, which was and remains under 'rebel' control. This was a very hard pill to swallow for loyal Syrians, and particularly for Syrian soldiers who had seen their comrades slaughtered by suicide bombers and IEDs, or tortured and executed while trying to defend the community from the mostly foreign and foreign-armed terrorists.
But in Madaya, which became well-known in the West as a place 'under siege' where residents were alleged to be dying of starvation, no such evacuation agreement was reached, thanks mostly to the massive propaganda campaign supporting the extremist groups who controlled the town - Ahrar al Sham and Jabhat al Nusra. As in Aleppo, these militants were actually the ones responsible for the siege, taking control of UN-provided Food Aid and shooting civilians trying to escape.
When a UN aid convoy finally arrived in Madaya a year ago, many residents jumped at the opportunity to escape, but Ahrar al Sham survived with its remaining 'human shields'. Now that the scheme to protect their terrorist brothers in East Aleppo has failed, it is Ahrar and its allies around Madaya who are called on to carry the torch of the fake revolution forward.
This is the vital context, and the context missing from Western news and media, which is now reporting the exact narrative prepared by Al Jazeera, Syria Solidarity UK and other leaders of the propaganda war on Syria.
It is not the 'rebels' of Wadi Barada who are responsible for sabotaging Damascenes' drinking water, but Hezbollah and the Syrian Army. The Syrian Army is not targeting Jabhat al Nusra, who don't have a presence or support in Wadi Barada, but is trying to drive out the civilian population and its 'rebel' defenders. And the 'regime' in now holding 100,000 civilians under siege, cut off from food and water and essential supplies.
But - say the 'defenders of Wadi Barada' - 'we will urgently seek to restore the water supply, and arrange for maintenance persons to come in, as soon as the Syrian Army and Hezbollah cease all their attacks on our citizens.'
'And if they don't agree to this, then we can no longer recognise the ceasefire..'
No doubt there will be many Syrians now saying 'why did you let the terrorists go to Idlib and not take them straight to prison?'
(I have a 'disclaimer' - I work with the Syria Solidarity Movement, which rather like the REAL Syrian Civil Defence works to support Syrians in their fight against Western backed terrorists and their supportive propaganda. We are totally opposed to everything that 'Syria Solidarity UK' stands for and supports, which include the fake 'Syrian Civil Defence' or 'White Helmets', a No Fly Zone over Syria, and the removal of Syria's democratically elected and popular President by whatever means are necessary.)