President Assad and his wife Asma visited the Our Lady of Damascus Church last night – a mile away from the rebel-held Jubar district – where they watched a choir rehearsal and took photos with the public.
In related news, the results are in from my 24 hour Twitter poll:
The corporate media are constantly referring to ISIS’s ‘slick and far-reaching propaganda capabilities’ and so on, but if it wasn’t for their own dissemination of ISIS-produced propaganda then the group would just be another actor in the Middle East. It is likely due to the mass amount of media coverage they have received in the West that has encouraged other Takfiri groups to align themselves with ISIS, and for Western citizens (like the couple in San Bernadino) to carry out attacks that ISIS supposedly then claim responsibility for. After various terror attacks in the West we are informed by the media that ISIS has claimed responsibility, but this is the same media that has told lie after lie about Syria and acts on behalf of those who would prefer that ISIS rules in Damascus rather than the current state that is an opponent of US imperialism.
I was just re-reading the interview that the German journalist Jürgen Todenhöfer gave to RT about the time he spent with ISIS, and the safety precautions it was necessary for him to take:
Jürgen Todenhöfer: I know Syria very well. I love Syria, I’ve been there dozen times, and I like Iraq, I’ve spent a lot of time before the war and during the war, and after the war; and, for example, in Syria, I spoke to all the groups: Al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra, the FSA, I spoke several times to president Bashar al-Assad, and, suddenly IS became very strong and I wanted to get the information – who are these terrorists? What is making them so strong? Why so many German jihadists go to the so-called Islamic State? So, together with my son, we wrote on Facebook letters to about 80 German jihadists. We got 15 answers, and out of these 15, in the end we had a guy from another, not that known terrorist group, and a guy from IS, and then this IS guy told us he was not allowed to speak with me anymore – I would be called by somebody else who is named by the leadership, and I had somebody from propaganda department, from media department, and so I had the connections – every normal journalist could have done the same.
Sophie Shevardnadze (interviewer): Okay, but, this is really playing with fire – who was that person who actually gave you the safe passage? Because journalists, you know, they get beheaded by ISIS all the time – we see it on YouTube, almost like weekly, so…
JD: I know. Even a friend of mine.
SS: Yes. So why were you sure that they wouldn’t change their mind and just take you hostage? I mean, the safe passage papers were just papers…how could you be sure that they weren’t fake, or they would protect you?
JD: I discussed via Skype with this guy from the media department, sometimes it took 2 hours, 3 hours, about the possibilities, about the guarantees and everything. To be sure, because my son, for example, always said “It’s a trick, they will behead you, they need German hostage!”, I had the impression that they gave the invitation as the Islamic State, as a state, and they wanted to show that if they give a guarantee by the state, they will stick to this guarantee. They have published it, I asked them to publish this guarantee on Twitter, I’ve been waiting some days to see if the real leadership would deny this invitation, they did not deny anything, and so I took the risk. For me, these 6 months when I was thinking “will I com back alive? Will I survive?” were harder than the 10 days in the Islamic State, because there I was sure…
SS: Are you saying that if journalists have actually followed your example and negotiated an official invitation from Islamic State, they would have spared their lives?
JD: Not everybody. Specialists – yes, because we are known as specialists for the Arab world, for the Muslim world, we have written books about it, we have our books translated into Arabic – and they have the feeling that we don’t go to such a country for show, but we try to find out the truth, and that we want to tell the truth. What I think they wanted to show to me…I always had to think – “what do they want?” – they wanted to show that they are really a state.
I remember Todenhöfer being touted as the first journalist to interview the Islamic State; quite a big deal was made about his trip. But then what about the five part documentary that Vice News filmed? Did their journalists, film crew etc have to seek the same assurances? It is almost as if the narrative regarding the group – that they are so scary it is almost impossible to get an interview with them – has been created by the mainstream media in order to drum up support for more military intervention in Syria. The Vice News reporter spent ten days embedded with the group in 2014, and this seems to have been met with little fanfare. An article in the Huffington Post, How Vice News Got Unprecedented Access To The Islamic State, merely says that the journalist Medyan Dairieh used his contacts within Syria to gain access.
There is abundant evidence of ISIS’s awful crimes against the people of Syria and Iraq, but the ‘state’ didn’t appear out of nowhere and are not capable of sustaining themselves. Frequently the media tells us that they make all their millions from selling oil, but never delve into how and who they are selling the oil to (although recently there has been an attempt to pin it all on Bashar al Assad).
Today an article in the Washington Times has said that the US does not target ISIS’s media centres in air strikes due to the civilian casualties it might cause. This is quite obviously nonsense, because the US and allies has bombed buildings belonging to local media in everywhere it has waged war, such as Serbia, Iraq and Libya. In the past the US/NATO has claimed that such buildings were legitimate targets due to the propaganda they produced.
The ISIS entity is almost entirely a creation of the imperialist media. They choose what to show us and what to hide.
I don’t know any of the details yet, but the Syrian Kurdish YPG has arrested the director of the White Helmets/Syria Civil Defence and closed their offices in Afrin.
The men of Kafranbel are very upset.
I wonder what Philip Hammond thinks of this – the head of a British-backed ‘humanitarian’ group bring arrested by another group the UK apparently supports?
There have been other reports recently regarding fighting between the YPG and Western-backed factions in Aleppo; It is difficult to see how Syria can ever return to a sense of normality with so many different groups fighting among one another.
Ahrar al-Sham, Nusra and their FSA allies shelled Sheikh Meqsud in northern Aleppo yesterday evening and this morning. #TwitterKurds#Syria
Notably the Saudileaks have received next to no media attention, likely because they reveal the extent to which the medieval Kingdom bribes journalists in order to receive positive coverage and suppress negative stories. This could also account for the media blackout on the Saudi-led siege of Yemen.
Realistically, it seems that continuing the destruction and bloodshed is what is most likely to result in harm to Saudi Arabia itself; it already having experienced two suicide bombings within a week of each other in May. Overthrowing “the regime” in Syria is not going to save the country from attacks now that the takfiri genie is well and truly out of the bottle.
The White Helmets, or ‘Syrian Civil Defence’, claim to be a private non-profit company registered in the UK.
They call themselves:
A global advocacy group standing in solidarity with non-violent Syrians and their struggle for a peaceful and dignified future.
They began their campaign 3 years into the Syrian insurgency…just when the Syrian army’s luck seemed to be on the upside…
We started on the 3rd anniversary of the uprising at a time when Syria was slipping off the media and political agendas of countries around the world. The violence has never been as fierce as it is now or the humanitarian needs as great. Now more than ever the world needs to engage on Syria.
They only seem to operate in areas controlled by the al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda) such as Idlib…
and can be seen here cleaning up after a Nusra execution in Aleppo…
They were standing right off-camera with a body-bag at the ready.
Here they can be seen jubilantly waving the Nusra black flag…
and here (minus a White Helmet uniform) holding a weapon:
This time in uniform and armed:
Who are they?
The Syria Campaign’s four listed ‘campaigners’ have worked for companies such as the BBC and Avaaz – both known for their rabid anti-Syria propaganda. The BBC disgraced itself with its ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ episode of Panorama (see Fabrication in BBC Panorama’s ‘Saving Syria’s Children for more details), as well as numerous other outright lies on the conflict,
and Avaaz for its countless petitions calling for a no-fly zone.
Basically they are what is now par for the course in these imperialistic proxy interventions: a shadowy non-governmental organisation funded by governments and their corporate cronies, and passing themselves off as being motivated solely by altruism. It was a letter signed by dozens of NGOs such as Human Rights Watch that resulted in the UN Security Council voting to implement a no-fly zone over Libya in 2011, based on wild claims which all turned out to be false. We know how that turned out; unleashing a similar hell on the whole of Syria would be far worse.
With the recent news of the fall of Ramadi in Iraq and now Sirte in Libya, things are not looking good for these countries. The MSM is today claiming that the daeshbags have now captured the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, but as usual, this info is coming from the London-based, one-man Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. While the Syrian Arab Army had did retreat – thinking the city had been saved – the claim that ISIS are now in full control is false. From the Syrian Perspective:
The mistake was to assume that the ISIS threat was gone and to withdraw many troops from the city in order to protect other sites, especially the newly recovered gas and oil stations. This left the town largely unprotected. In addition to this, our military sources state that the bulk of the ISIS rodents were remnants of defeated units at the Al-Shaa’er Mountain area where many gas fields are located.
Friendly sites kept repeating that Palmyra was “strategically” important. Every site in Syria is reported as “strategically important” and its becoming nauseating. Palmyra is not important militarily unless you are a terrorism supporter, in which case, every hamlet becomes a major site for blocking this or that. It happens to be important strictly from the standpoint that it contains a tourism-rich Roman city considered a gem of architectural splendor in the desert.
All inhabitants of the town have been evacuated, just like Idlib. The rats won’t have anyone to behead here unless they can capture a soldier or militiaman.
The SAA has redeployed forces to all entrances to the town. All, I repeat “all”, corridors into the city are under the control of the SAA. SAA artillery and SAAF sorties are destroying whole nests of ISIS rats – a process made even easier by the evacuation of citizens. The SAA has already retaken the two checkpoints at the Museum and the Khattaab Quarter. There is an on-going pitched battle now around the National Security Building. The SAA has recovered control over the Military Security Headquarters and all Western Hills including the Desert Falcons Branch HQ and the Citadel.
The mainstream media are basically acting as ISIS propagandists, claiming that the ‘fall’ of Palmyra suggests huge disarray within the Syrian army and its allied forces. In reality they are as united as ever, their setbacks are due to the so-called ’60 country anti-ISIS coalition’ being far more heavily invested in seeing Assad and Putin fall, not to mention the partition of Iraq, than defeating ISIS.
The US only carried out 7 air strikes over the course of the 24 hours in which Ramadi fell, and have threatened to suspend these token gestures altogether as the Shias are moving in – despite doing so at the request of Sunni tribesmen. A couple of days previously, the US violated Syria’s sovereignty to take out one guy. It is quite clear what is going on.
There was also an attempt to blow up the Russian embassy in Damascus today, with one Syrian security guard being killed. The same thing happened in Yemen – while Russia sent dozens of planes to rescue civilians of all nationalities, including many Americans – while the Yank planks wouldn’t life a finger to save their own citizens.
On a happier note, much progress has made by Hezbollah and the SAA in the Qalamoun. Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Nasrallah gave a speech on May 16 declaring victory is near (video below). Here’s a clip of the allied forces celebrating their recent victories with a dakbe – a much-needed moment of respite in a war that may finally result in global suicide.