As a new year begins, the eyes of the world are on Aleppo, where the Syrian army and their allies have recaptured the city from the armed insurgents which have ruled the city’s east since 2012.
As the last neighbourhoods held by insurgents were liberated by the Syrian Army in mid-December, residents of Aleppo began pouring onto the streets, celebrating the victory. However, it was a bittersweet moment for many of Aleppo’s residents. As the celebrations died down, many began returning to their homes for the first time, only to find them destroyed. Others mourned the loss of children and parents, family and friends. Infrastructure can be rebuilt – although many of old Aleppo’s beautiful buildings are gone – but the lives lost cannot ever be replaced.
Samantha Power Defends Imperialist Interests in Aleppo
Yet instead of celebrating the victory of a secular, democratic government over terrorist groups - some with ties to al-Qaeda - politicians and major news outlets in the U.S. began lashing out at the Syrian government for alleged ‘war crimes’. In a December 14 briefing to the UN Security Council, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, attacked the Syrian government and its allies for their campaign in Aleppo.
Citing “video testimony [and] phone calls” as evidence, Ambassador Power went on to accuse “pro-Assad forces” of rape, torture, and murder of civilians, claiming that they were showing “no mercy”. This version of events has been echoed by nearly every major Western news agency. Yet there is an appalling lack of evidence to back up Ms. Power’s claims. There have been few, if any, journalists from major news media in Aleppo since the start of the war. Instead, news outlets have relied on social media and “citizen journalists” friendly to the terrorist insurgent forces for information on events in east Aleppo. As a result, the only ‘news’ which came out of the terrorist-controlled areas was essentially propaganda in their interest. Anyone who tried to report differently was liable to be kidnapped or executed, as a handful of journalists tragically learned.
U.S. Defends Terrorist War Criminals
Conspicuously absent from Ms. Power’s report was any criticism whatsoever of the bloodthirsty terrorist groups which have held east Aleppo under siege. These groups – which the U.S. government calls ‘moderate rebels’ – have been responsible for torture, hostage-taking, and public executions. In addition, they have imposed extreme interpretations of Islamic law in areas they have captured, according to a report by Amnesty International (‘Torture Was My Punishment’, July 2016). One resident of Aleppo told Amnesty International: “I witnessed the summary killing of two captured shabiha [pro-government] fighters by the al-Shamia Front in front of al-Shifa hospital in Aleppo city on two separate dates in 2015. The al-Shamia Front announced the execution publicly and then shot them with a rifle. They left the bodies for a few hours on the street for people to see”.
Upon liberating east Aleppo from these terrorist groups, Syrian military forces and their supporting allies made a gruesome discovery: mass graves left by these so-called ‘moderates’. According to Major General Igor Konashenkov, they contained the bodies of “several dozen Syrians who suffered atrocious torture and massacre”.
And while Ms. Power was condemning the Syrian government for supposedly not cooperating with UN/International Committee of the Red Cross evacuation efforts, the so-called ‘moderate rebels’ were targeting civilians trying to flee east Aleppo with mortar fire, according to a report by The Independent. Rebel groups also set fire to several busses sent by the Syrian government to evacuate civilians from rebel-held areas.
It is appalling that Ms. Power – who has built a career as a human rights activist and author – would look past such heinous crimes. Yet she – and the U.S. government which she represents – seem all too willing to turn a blind eye to the actions of these terrorists.
From day one of Syria’s ‘civil war’, the U.S., Turkey, and Saudi Arabia have been training, funding, and arming Syria’s so-called ‘rebels’. The Pentagon launched a $500 million dollar program to support and train these insurgents. While that program has been discontinued, the CIA still operates several others with the same purpose. In December 2016, U.S. Congress passed a defense bill which would make it easier for the U.S. to send portable anti-aircraft missiles to the insurgents.
Beneath the veil of ‘human rights’, the U.S. government is hiding their true intention of removing President Bashar al-Assad from power. Washington sees the independent government of Syria and its alliance with Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon as a threat to U.S. interests in the region. The greater U.S. objective in the Middle East is not stopping terrorism and promoting human rights, but controlling the region in order to maintain access to trade markets and resources and gain the upper hand over growing economic competitors such as China and Russia.
Ms. Power’s Hypocrisy on ‘Human Rights’
In her statement to the UN Security Council, Ms. Power asked of the Syrian government: "Is there literally nothing that can shame you? Is there no act of barbarism against civilians, no execution of a child that gets under your skin, that just creeps you out a little bit? Is there nothing you will not lie about or justify?”
Ms. Power, I am appalled at your hypocrisy. Do you – and the United States government – not feel shame over the Syrian lives which have been needlessly destroyed in your bombings? No shame for the hundreds of thousands of lives lost in this war, or for the eleven million who have been displaced from their homes? What about for the four million children who should have enjoyed one of the best education systems in the region, but instead have been unable to attend school due to the war? Do you not feel shame for destabilizing an entire country, for arming and funding insurgents who have torn a once-peaceful nation apart? Do you feel no shame for helping to create the monster that is ISIS, which has tortured, raped, and murdered so many men, women, and children?
And beyond Syria, do you feel no shame at the slaughter of over a million in Iraq? At the children being born there with horrible disfigurements as a result of your depleted uranium (DU) ammunitions and weapons? Does the horrendous torture that so many have faced in your prisons at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib not ‘creep you out’ even a bit? Do you feel no shame at the thousands of Afghan children who will starve or freeze this winter in the country you supposedly ‘liberated’? No shame at the young girls who will be raped by gangs in Libya which never existed until you ‘liberated’ the country? No, Ms. Power, the real question is where is your shame? Where was Ms. Power, the human rights crusader, when your own government was committing these horrendous crimes?
Shame on you, Ms. Power, and shame on the United States government and its allies for destroying so many lives while trying to justify your war under the guise of humanitarianism.
The Battle for Syria Continues
Despite all that the U.S. government has done to try and tip the scales in favour of the terrorists, the Syrian government has regained control of Aleppo. They have subsequently brokered a ceasefire with some of the insurgent groups (Daesh and the al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra Front/Jabhat Fatah al-Sham are excluded).
While the liberation of Aleppo was an important victory for the Syrian government and the Syrian people, in no way is the fight to defend Syria from foreign intervention and foreign-supported terrorist groups over. Daesh (or ISIS/ISIL) and other terrorist groups still hold large parts of Syria in their grasp, inflicting terror on millions. Thousands of Turkish and U.S. troops remain in Syria under the guise of fighting Daesh, though they are there without the invitation or consent of the Syrian government. The U.S. has been conducting regular air strikes, often killing Syrian civilians.
There can be no peace in Syria while U.S., Turkish, or other foreign occupation forces remain in the country. These were the forces which created the war in Syria to begin with – surely they will not put an end to it now. The only way forward is for the Syrian government to take the lead in the fight against Daesh and the other terrorists. Any foreign forces which join the fight must be there at the invitation of, and working with, not against, the Syrian government.
Join the Movement to End the War in Syria in 2017!
The proxy war in Syria and all direct intervention by the U.S. and their allies must be put to an end. The lives of millions of Syrians depend on it. We cannot rely on fake 'humanitarians' like Ambassador Power and the U.S. government to bring peace to the country.
It is up to peace-loving people like you and I to demand an end to this war. In 2017, let us work together to organize a creative, dynamic, and effective campaign for an end to war and foreign intervention in Syria!
Hands Off Syria Now! No War on Syria!
U.S. and Turkey Out of Syria Now!
Follow Nita Palmer on Twitter:@NGP1z0
Back to Article Listing