Syrias „revolution“: What we did NOT (want to) see

„Merhej and Dayoub were the first of eighty-eight soldiers killed throughout Syria in the first month of this conflict“
Did you know this? That 88 Syrian soldiers were killed in that very early phase of the Syrian civil war?

5 years ago the Syrian „uprising“ or „revolution“ started in the city of Deraa. It is not much that we really know about the details and the dynamics that triggered the deadly cycle of cause and effects which – not long later – climaxed into a spirale of violence that now enters it´s sixth year.

The western mainstream media and along with it the media of it´s Gulf Arab allies – especially the state-owned channels Al Arabiyya and Al Jazeera –  knew the „facts“ from the beginning:
Unarmed people demonstrated peacefully for democracy
– The state security forces responded with lethal force without a real reason

While it is true that security forces in Deraa strongly overreacted to youths spraying anti-government graffiti on the walls of a school by torturing some of them and insulting their parents when they protested against the treatment of their kids, this narrative which exclusively displays the opposition perspective of the events leaves other, less pleasant facts untouched.
Though the uncomfortable facts undermining the romantic myth of the „peaceful revolution“ are still widely un(der)reported by most western news outlets, other more independent sources have revealed them:

„But there were signs from the very start that armed groups were involved…A Syrian television crew, working for the government, produced a tape showing men with pistols and Kalashnikovs in a Deraa demonstration in the very early days of the “rising”.“

„According to several different opposition sources, up to 60 Syrian security forces were killed that day in a massacre that has been hidden by both the Syrian government and residents of Daraa.
One Daraa native explains: “At that time, the government did not want to show they are weak and the opposition did not want to show they are armed.”
Beyond that, the details are sketchy. Nizar Nayouf, a longtime Syria dissident and blogger who wrote about the killings, says the massacre took place in the final week of March 2011.“

Here is another case of early violence against the Syrian army which western media either denied or attributed to the army itself. This article, however, debunks the media lie and clearly identifies armed opposition as the perpetrators:

„According to the UN’s Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, the combined death toll for Syrian government forces was 2,569 by March 2012, the first year of the conflict. At that time, the UN’s total casualty count for all victims of political violence in Syria was 5,000.“
So, 50% of the casualties were soldiers of the army. Do you still believe that the „opposition“ was unarmed and peaceful? Considering this enormous death toll of the Syrian army, do you still believe that they „overreacted“?

No country likes to have the media of hostile western countries on its soil, especially after Iraq 2003 and Libya 2011 blatantly showed how media deliberately misreported events, concealed „unfavorable“ facts and exaggerated/overemphasized other facts. The Syrian government had no interest in exposing weakness and revealing the degree of it´s loss of control in some cities. Western and Arab media and governments simply declared all reporting by Syrian and pro-Syrian sources „propaganda“ and treated every claim by Syrian „activists“ as undisputed truth.
Whenever army soldiers were killed, Al Jazeera and co. had an „activist“ on the phone line explaining that the Sunni soldiers were executed by Alawite officers because they refused to shoot at unarmed civilians or because they wanted to defect. This myth, often cited by anti-Syrian mass media was so ridiculous that even Rami Abdulrahman from the frequently quoted pro-rebel Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR) commented it as follows: „“This game of saying the army is killing defectors for leaving – I never accepted this because it is propaganda.”
Especially in the first year of the civil war, the primary source of western news channels, the activists, were quick declaring every person killed by the Syrian army as „civilian“. This was exposed as a lie by – no joke! – Al Jazeeras own reporter Nir Rosen: „Many of those reported killed are in fact dead opposition fighters, but the cause of their death is hidden and they are described in reports as innocent civilians killed by security forces, as if they were all merely protesting or sitting in their homes.“

One of the best-known and most cited „activists“ was Danny Abu Dayyem. Watch this video that exposes him and embarasses CNN:

Another „prominent“ Activist and primary source for Al Jazeera was Khaled Abu Saleh, who was also exposed as a liar and forger of news:

So, for many months the fairy tale was perpetuated of a population enduring it´s governments unlimited and unjustified violence peacefully and patiently until one day it had enough and decided to „defend“ itself. Some went so far to claim that this allegedly nonviolent phase of the „revolution“ lasted almost one year. This is a brazen lie. In a single incident in early June 2011 – note that this is less than three months after Deraa – some 120 soldiers and police were killed in the city of Jisr al Shughur.
This is what Syria expert Joshua Landis tells about the massacre: „There is little evidence of wide-scale mutiny of Syrian soldiers. No solid evidence that they shot at each other, and some evidence that the young men of Jisr set a trap for Syrian soldiers with simple weapons and dynamite…The Syrian government then published tapped phone calls of activists in Jisr that it collected on the eve of the initial combat. If they can be taken at face value, the activists establish a plan to send all the women and children of the city to Turkey. They were instructed to tell foreigners that Syrian military personnel shot each other. When enlisted men refused to shoot on unarmed demonstrators, their Alawi officers mowed them down – that was the story to be told to the Western press.“:

Despite persistent media claims that the Syrian forces were acting with „irresponsible“ or „disproportional“ brutality, video clips like the following from Douma near Damascus (not later than March 2012) show a different picture: The soldiers carry no weapons, they are throwing stones back at the demonstrators:

This video from Homs (not later than 2012) is even more unmasking for the „unarmed opposition“ as it shows armed „civilians“ firing at unarmed riot police:

One thing is crystal clear: Syrias „uprising“ was armed and violent from its very first days. No doubt, many innocent people were killed by the security forces, but to claim that the violence was one-sided, that the protesters were unarmed and entirely peaceful, that police and army had no reason to resort to violence means ignoring the bitter truth of the not so romantic beginnings of what became a full scale armed insurrection.

Syrias Nusra Front, IS and Israel

Is this a coincidence? Right at a time when there were rumours that Moscow is leading an initiative to bring the Syrian government and the opposition together for talks, as usual the latter downplayed the Russian approach and started the well-known tactics of sabotaging talks by raising demands that no government will accept.
So, what happened that the opposition which few weeks ago had signalled to be more cooperative in the upcoming Moscow talks suddenly backed off?
Very probably the US along with the Persian Gulf based Arab backers of the Syrian opposition and rebels „intervened“ and made clear that there is no room for any talks that could help stop the Syrian war with Bashar al Assad remaining in power.

So, today the BBC reports that the US is going to increase the training of „moderate“ Syrian rebels:

Officially this training is supposed to enable the rebels to fight the „Islamic State“ (IS), but anyone who has followed the Syrian war knows well that the so called „moderates“ or „vetted“ rebels have more than once either joined IS (or the Nusra Front) or sold/handed over their sophisticated american-built and Saudi/Qatari provided weapons to them. In yet other cases they have closely cooperated with the Nusra to the extent that were it not for the latters devastating suicide bombing attacks against Syrian army installations much of the rebels successes would have not occured.

Just recently 3000 fighters of the supposedly „moderate“ Free Syrian Army (FSA) joined IS:

The above mentioned BBC article is additionally remarkable with regards to openly admitting that the CIA has been training Syrian rebels under a „covert programme“ in Jordan since March 2013. What kind of popular, domestic „revolution“ is this that needs to be helped by CIA? Since when has the CIA brought anything good for Arabs and Muslims?

Western and Arab sources, which are mostly hostile towards the Syrian government continue to uphold the fairy tale that the so called „Southern front“ rebel groups are a major and succesful element in the Syrian war, which is free of sectarian Salafi radicals. To the disappointment of the supporters of the „moderate rebel“ theory, almost all of the relevant military actions in Syrias south which ended with a rebel victory were spearheaded and masterminded by the Al Nusra Front.
At the same time more reports are emerging that clearly highlight and emphasize the crucial and „game changing“ role Israel has played as the (often not so) hidden „patron saint“ of the islamist radicals:

„Communications increased between rebels and the Israeli army before the eruption of the southern front in Daraa and Quneitra in September, according to Quneitra opposition activist Mohammad Qasim, a pseudonym due to the sensitivity of the subject.“

„The battle to capture Quneitra on Sept. 27 was preceded by coordination and communications between Abu Dardaa, a leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, and the Israeli army to pave the way for the attack. And according to an FSA commander who partly participated in this battle, the Israeli army provided Abu Dardaa with maps of the border area and the Syrian army’s strategic posts in the southern area.“

„During the clashes, the Israelis heavily bombarded many of the regime’s posts, shot down a warplane that was trying to impede the progress of the fighters and targeted other aircraft.“

What kind of „revolution“ for reforms and democracy is this that is fought by Salafi Jihadists from several countries and supported by Israel?




Al Qaeda rebels and the „Southern Front“ in Syria

Parts of western and arab press on the one hand and spokespersons of Syrias insurgents on the other hand try to portray the so called „Southern Front“ as the one major „moderate“ faction fighting to topple the Syrian government. They emphasize that this front line which is the only one to witness relevant successes and territorial gains  hardly hosts any al Qaeda or otherwise sectarian militants.

Interestingly though, whenever major attacks on Syrian army positions is under way, the al Nusra is not far:
„Another Syrian province looks set to fall out of Assad government control soon, with al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra sending some 2,000 fighters against Ba’ath City and Khan Arnaba, the last towns they yet control in Quneitra Province.“

But al Nusra, which is considered Syrias al Qaeda branch is not the only radical islamist (Salafi) group fighting for the „Southern Front“:
„Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front and other Islamist brigades and rebels fighting under the umbrella of the Western-backed Free Syrian Army, who the US and other allies want to arm and train, currently have “the upper hand in the area,” Abu Yahya al-Anari, a militant from the Ahrar al-Sham rebel group, said.“

So far the western mainstream news coverage has successfully covered up the role of Israel, but several reports leaked about Israel shooting down Syrian planes, bombing Syrian bases and military equipment and treating wounded rebels.

Syria: looking back at 2011 and the eruption of violence

I came along and excellent article about Syria, which exposes the role of the mass media and western policymakers by shedding light on truths that were suppressed during the early stage of the Syrian conflict:

From the onset most western and arab media invented and persistently promoted one major narrative in order to demonize the Syrian government:
They claimed that the protests were entirely peaceful for a very long time. Some went so far to say that in the entire first year or at least in the first 6 months of the „revolution“ the „opposition“ stuck to peaceful means.
Only after suffering continuously indiscriminate and disproportionate violence at the hands of the security forces, the allegedly secular/liberal/moderate opposition turned to violence as a means of self defense.

The myth of the peaceful unarmed opposition does not withstand if scrutinized without bias. „When mass protests began in Syria they included violent attacks and murders of police from the beginning„:

„…up to 60 Syrian security forces were killed that day in a massacre that has been hidden by both the Syrian government and residents of Daraa.

One Daraa native explains: “At that time, the government did not want to show they are weak and the opposition did not want to show they are armed.”

Beyond that, the details are sketchy. Nizar Nayouf, a longtime Syria dissident and blogger who wrote about the killings, says the massacre took place in the final week of March 2011.“

„on April 25, 2011, nineteen Syrian soldiers were gunned down in Daraa by unknown assailants. „

„April 10 was also the day when we learned of the first massacre of Syrian soldiers – in Banyas, Tartous – when nine troops were ambushed and gunned down on a passing bus. The BBC, Al Jazeera and the Guardian all initially quoted witnesses claiming the dead soldiers were “defectors” shot by the Syrian army for refusing to fire on civilians.

That narrative was debunked later, but the story that soldiers were being killed by their own commanders stuck hard throughout 2011 – and gave the media an excuse to ignore stories that security forces were being targeted by armed groups.

The SOHR’s Rami Abdul Rahman says of the “defector” storyline: “This game of saying the army is killing defectors for leaving – I never accepted this because it is propaganda.”

„on April 23, seven soldiers were slaughtered in Nawa, a town near Daraa. Those killings did not make the headlines like the one in Banyas. Notably, the incident took place right after the Syrian government tried to defuse tensions by abolishing the state security courts, lifting the state of emergency, granting general amnesties and recognizing the right to peaceful protest. „

„Instead, all we ever heard was about the mass killing of civilians by security forces: “The dictator slaughtering his own people.” But three years into the Syrian crisis, can we say that things may have taken a different turn if we had access to more information? Or if media had simply provided equal air-time to the different, contesting testimonies that were available to us? „

„Syrian-based Father Frans van der Lugt was the Dutch priest murdered by a gunman in Homs just a few weeks ago. His involvement in reconciliation and peace activities never stopped him from lobbing criticisms at both sides in this conflict. But in the first year of the crisis, he penned some remarkable observations about the violence – this one in January 2012:

“From the start the protest movements were not purely peaceful. From the start I saw armed demonstrators marching along in the protests, who began to shoot at the police first. Very often the violence of the security forces has been a reaction to the brutal violence of the armed rebels.”

In September 2011 he wrote: “From the start there has been the problem of the armed groups, which are also part of the opposition…The opposition of the street is much stronger than any other opposition. And this opposition is armed and frequently employs brutality and violence, only in order then to blame the government.”

Then there is the myth of the „moderate opposition“. To this date major parts of euro-american mass media continue to uphold the bizarr claim that the armed Syrian opposition or at least the major bulk of the fighters, the so called „Free Syrian Army“ are moderates.

„It is often suggested the “moderate opposition” is popular, democratic and secular. President Obama has recently proposed giving $500 million to the “moderate opposition”.
Patrick Cockburn sums up the reality in the newly released book “The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising”:

“It is here that self-deception reigns, because the Syrian military opposition is dominated by ISIS and by Jabhat Al Nusra, the official Al Qaeda representative, in addition to other extreme jihadi groups. In reality there is no dividing wall between them and America’s supposedly moderate opposition allies.”

This situation is not new. A NY Times article in summer 2012 discussed the hidden presence of Al Qaeda within the “Free Syrian Army” „

In another article Patrick Cockburn writes: „Jihadi groups ideologically close to al-Qa‘ida have been relabeled as moderate if their actions are deemed supportive of U.S. policy aims. In Syria, the Americans backed a plan by Saudi Arabia to build up a “Southern Front” based in Jordan that would be hostile to the Assad government in Damascus, and simultaneously hostile to al-Qa‘ida-type rebels in the north and east. The powerful but supposedly moderate Yarmouk Brigade, reportedly the planned recipient of anti-aircraft missiles from Saudi Arabia, was intended to be the leading element in this new formation. But numerous videos show that the Yarmouk Brigade has frequently fought in collaboration with JAN, the official al-Qa‘ida affiliate. Since it was likely that, in the midst of battle, these two groups would share their munitions, Washington was effectively allowing advanced weaponry to be handed over to its deadliest enemy. Iraqi officials confirm that they have captured sophisticated arms from ISIS fighters in Iraq that were originally supplied by outside powers to forces considered to be anti-al-Qa‘ida in Syria.“

“In the East of Syria, there is no Free Syrian Army any longer. All Free Syrian Army people [there] have joined the Islamic State,” says Abu Yusaf, a high-level security commander of the Islamic State, whom The Washington Post’s Anthony Faiola wrote about last week…“

„some of the people the U.S. and their allies had trained to fight for ‘democracy’ in Libya and Syria had a jihadist agenda — already or later, [when they] joined al Nusra or the Islamic State,” a senior Arab intelligence official said in a recent interview…“

„For a long time, Western and Arab states supported the Free Syrian Army not only with training but also with weapons and other materiel. The Islamic State commander, Abu Yusaf, added that members of the Free Syrian Army who had received training — from the United States, Turkey and Arab military officers at an American base in Southern Turkey — have now joined the Islamic State. “Now many of the FSA people who the West has trained are actually joining us,” he said, smiling.“

To this day many western mainstream media still stick to two fairy tales:
a) That there is a single entity called „Free Syrian Army“ and that it is the biggest rebel faction
b) That the FSA, unlike ISIS or Jabhat al Nusra (JAN) is „moderate“

Just a single example that clearly demonstrates how moderate and respectable the FSA is (IRONY):

„Contacted by telephone, Adnan al-Assadi, Iraq’s deputy interior minister, said Iraqi border guards had witnessed the Free Syrian Army take control of a border outpost, detain a Syrian army lieutenant colonel, and then cut off his arms and legs.

„Then they executed 22 Syrian soldiers in front of the eyes of Iraqi soldiers,“ Assadi said.“

For more detailed information about the non-existence of a „moderate“ Free Syrian Army, look here:



Die (nicht ganz friedlichen) Anfänge der syrischen „Revolution“

Wie friedlich begannen die Proteste in Syrien?

Bekanntermassen begannen die Proteste Mitte März 2011 in Daraa im Süden Syriens nahe der jordanischen Grenze.
Weite Teile der westlichen Mainstreamberichterstattung stützen sich seitdem auf die unverifizierten Angaben eindeutig tendenziöser und parteiischer Quellen wie SOHR, Al-Jazeera oder Al-Arabiya.
Diese betrieben von Anfang an eine systematische Irreführung der Leserschaft und der TV-Zuschauer, indem sie
a) sämtliche zivilen Toten trotz nicht vorhandener Beweise als Opfer gezielter Tötung durch die Regierung darstellten
b) Tötungsopfer auf Regierungsseite (Polizisten, Soldaten) unerwähnt liessen.

Hier aber ein Rückblick, der die tatsächliche Sachlage deutlich anders skizziert:- am 23.03.2011 schreibt BBC: „at least 12 people have now been killed in clashes.“

Hier kann man aber lesen, dass zum gleichen Zeitpunkt in Daraa bereits 7 Polizisten getötet worden waren:

Zudem wurden das Hauptquarier der Baathpartei und das Gerichtsgebäude der Stadt in Brand gesetzt:

Die tödliche Konfrontation syrischer Sicherheitskräfte nahe der Al Omari Moschee in Daraa wurde in den Medien als unnötiger bzw. ungerechtfertigter Gewaltakt gegen unbewaffnete und friedliche Demonstranten porträtiert:

Die vermeintliche Harmlosigkeit der Al Omari Moschee darf jedoch angesichts dieser Enthüllungen eines saudischen Funktionärs BBC gegenüber stark bezweifelt werden:

Der interviewte Saudi gesteht offen, dass die „Revolution“ von Anfang an bewaffnet war. Das deckt sich jedoch nicht mit dem weit verbreiteten und von Gegnern des syrischen Regimes immer betonten Märchen von der monatelangen Friedfertigkeit unbewaffneter syrischer Demonstranten, die einzig deshalb von „Assads Schergen massakriert“ wurden, weil sie Reformen und mehr Freiheiten forderten.

Es ist auch interessant und aufschlussreich zu wissen, dass der bei Al-Jazeera für die Berichterstattung aus Syrien zuständige Redakteur der Bruder eines führenden Mitglieds des oppositionellen und gewaltbefürwortenden SNC (Syrian National Council) ist:

Äusserst vielsagend sind auch die Enthüllungen eines ehemaligen Al-Jazeera Reporters:
„I was one of those who experienced it when al-Jazeera, the channel I used to work for, refused to air footage of gunmen fighting the Syrian regime on the borders between Lebanon and Syria. I saw tens of gunmen crossing the borders in May last year (2011) – clear evidence that the Syrian revolution was becoming militarised. This didn’t fit the required narrative of a clean and peaceful uprising, and so my seniors asked me to forget about gunmen.“

Ein weiterer Beleg für die ausserordentliche Gewalttätigkeit der syrischen Opposition bereits in einer sehr frühen Phase ist die Tötung von neun syrischen Soldaten am 10. April 2011 in Banyas. Man bedenke, dass das kein Monat nach dem Beginn der Unruhen in Deraa passiert ist UND dass es 100% offensichtlich ist, dass hier weder eine friedliche Demo angegriffen wurde noch die Mörder in Notwehr handelten: