Aleppo: How US & Saudi-Backed Rebels Target ‘Every Syrian’

‘We were living in security and peace. These areas are being targeted, they want to force us to leave. Every Syrian is being targeted,’ one Syrian religious leader told a delegation of reporters who visited Aleppo earlier this month.
By @EvaBartlettGaza |
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    On Oct. 20 and again on Nov. 4, the Syrian government and Russia opened eight humanitarian corridors established for civilians and militants who wished to flee terrorist-held areas of eastern Aleppo, including militants who wished to surrender their weapons under amnesty. However, no one left on Nov. 4. Many residents within eastern Aleppo have said they are being held hostage and used as human shields by terrorists who shoot upon people attempting to leave through the humanitarian corridors. [Photo by Eva Bartlett, Nov. 4, 2016]

    Overlooking the terrorist-occupied Bustan al-Qasr district of eastern Aleppo. Nov. 4, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

    ALEPPO, Syria — (OPINION) In early November, Fares Shehabi, a member of the Syrian parliament from Aleppo, organized a trip to Aleppo for 13 Western journalists, including myself, with security provided by forces in the Syrian Arab Army.

    While I had traveled to Aleppo independently as recently as July and August, for many others in the delegation, it was their first visit to the city or their first visit since the war on Syria began in 2011.

    On previous visits to Aleppo, I met with the Aleppo Medical Association and saw a maternity hospital hit twice by rocket and mortar attacks by militants under Jaysh al-Fatah (the Army of Conquest), a loose alliance of anti-government terrorist groups. I met with members of a branch of the Syria Civil Defense and Christian and Muslim religious leaders. Just north of the city, I visited Nubl and Zahraa, towns besieged for more than three years by the Free Syrian Army, the Nusra Front, and other affiliated terrorist factions before the Syrian Arab Army drove them out in February of this year. I saw the liberated region of Bani Zaid and the al-Layramoun industrial district. I interacted with civilians in public parks, streets, and markets.

    Ahead of my trip earlier this month, I was interested to see what might have changed following the liberation of still more areas by the SAA. I also hoped to speak with civilians who had fled the terrorist-held areas of Aleppo’s eastern districts since I had last visited, during which time eight humanitarian corridors had been established for civilians and members of terrorist factions willing to relinquish their arms or to accept safe passage to areas in Idlib and government-secured parts of western Aleppo.

    However, on Nov. 4, no one fled terrorist-held areas of Aleppo. Family members of civilians still there say their loved ones are being used as human shields by groups like the Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham, or Nour al-Din al-Zenki — the so-called “moderate rebels” and “opposition forces” backed by the United States, NATO, Israel and Gulf allies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

     

    Returning to Aleppo

    From Damascus, the bus traveled along smooth, paved roads to Homs, where we passed the entrance to Zahraa, a neighborhood plagued by terrorist car and suicide bombs. Moving out of Homs, we continued eastward along a narrow road for about an hour until we reached the Ithriya-Khanasser road, and the last leg of the trip to Aleppo.

    Though the Ithriya-Khanasser road was flanked by the wreckage of buses and cars, attacked mostly by Da’esh (an Arabic acronym for the extremist group commonly referred to in the West as ISIS or ISIL) in recent years, and although Da’esh continues to creep onto sections of the road at night to lay mines, our travel there was without incident.

    When I reached the southeastern suburb of Ramouseh in July, it was by taxi. The driver sped through the suburb, fearing Nusra Front snipers less than a kilometer away. He floored it for at least 500 meters, speeding through risky spots and weaving in and out of a valley in perfect range of terrorist shellings, ultimately reaching an SAA checkpoint before entering Greater Aleppo.

    Castello Road was only means of entering Aleppo in August. The road, which runs into the northern part of the city, had recently been secured but still threatened by terrorist shelling.

    Ramouseh was re-secured prior to our November visit, and again became the main means of entering Aleppo. In November, we traveled by bus, escorted by security, and the threat of snipers was weakened by SAA advances in recent months. Above the sniper embankment of barrels and sandbags, I had a clearer view toward Sheikh Saeed district — areas which terrorist factions had long occupied and from which they sniped and shelled Ramouseh.

    One of our first stops was the Aleppo Chamber of Industry, where MP Shehabi outlined the systematic looting of Aleppo’s factories.

    According to Shehabi, of the 70,000 small to large enterprises and factories which once thrived in Aleppo, only about half have survived that widespread destruction and gutting of factories. Of the roughly 35,000 enterprises now operating in Aleppo, he estimated that only about 7,000 are factories and they’re operating at just 15 percent capacity.

    Shehabi said the Chamber has photo and video evidence of burglaries in factories. He continued:

    “We documented the transfer of our heavy equipment, production equipment, like power generators, like textile machinery. These are heavy, not something you can smuggle easily. These would be on the highway, under the monitoring of Turkish police. Stolen production lines, how can you allow stolen production lines to enter your country without any paperwork?”

    The Chamber, along with other Syrian industry associations, filed a lawsuit against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in European courts in 2013, seeking damages. That lawsuit and others launched by Syrian authorities accuse Erdoğan of not just harboring terrorists, but allowing and even enabling them to enter Syria to destroy or disassemble factories and return to Turkey with stolen machinery and hardware.

    None of these legal proceedings have been resolved, and Shehabi describes the Chamber’s lawsuit as “stumbling.” Shehabi was among four of Aleppo’s top businessmen to be hit with EU sanctions in 2011. These sanctions, the MP said, represent a hurdle preventing a fair resolution.

    The Chamber now operates out of a rented villa, as the historic building which housed the Chamber of Industry in the Old City was destroyed on April 27, 2014, when explosives were denoted in an underground tunnel. Shehabi said he had gone on Syrian national television, calling on governments to impose a commercial boycott of Turkey, about two weeks prior to the attack.

    “They didn’t bomb the building next to it, there was only one security guard inside [no military personnel], and it’s not at the frontline, so why bomb it?” he asked, noting his suspicion that the Chamber had been deliberately targeted due to the legal action it was taking against Erdoğan.

     

    The FSA’s underground prison in al-Layramoun

    We walked through the ornately-carved entrance of a building in the al-Layramoun industrial district that once housed a dye factory. More recently, though, it’s been used as a base by the 16th Division of the Free Syrian Army. In an interior room, I noticed a 4G mobile phone card from Turkcell, Turkey’s leading mobile phone operator.

    In neighboring buildings we saw bags of materials reportedly used to make the gas canister and water heater explosives known colloquially as Hell 1 and Hell 2, the latter of which can inflict significantly more damage, including leveling entire floors of houses. There were also metal fragments, which are added to explosives to inflict maximum damage. Another room contained a pile of shavings which one of the Syrian soldiers accompanying us said was used to compress explosives in the gas canister bombs which the Free Syrian Army and other terrorist groups fire upon neighborhoods in greater Aleppo.

    When we approached the Nusra Front-occupied road leading toward Daher Abed Rabbo, SAA soldiers advised us to run, not walk.

    Just beyond that road, bunkered three stories below ground, the Free Syrian Army’s nightmarish improvised prison for SAA captives was untouched by the bombs inflicting damage above-ground. These attacks target terrorists who fire on the civilians of Aleppo and retreat underground.

    Al-Layramoun and Bani Zaid are home to the same landscape of battered buildings that one finds in areas where militants have bunkered deeply down. Seeing the destruction, some of the other journalists in our delegation mention only the physical damage to the buildings. “Buildings lay pancaked by airstrikes,” one wrote, pointing an incriminating finger at the Syrian government without giving any context as to why these areas were hammered.

    The real shame is not actually the physical destruction of buildings, but the incursion into these districts by Western-backed terrorists, including the Free Syrian Army, the Nusra Front, and Da’esh, among others. Nearly six years into the needless bloodshed, their criminal and savage acts against Syrian civilians and soldiers are well-documented. And it’s common knowledge that they bunker down to avoid airstrikes.

    The Free Syrian Army’s nine suffocating, improvised metal solitary confinement cells and three rooms used as regular cells in the underground prison bunker in al-Layramoun were all intact despite the aerial bombings. Buildings are devastated above-ground because of the presence of militants deep underground, where airstrikes inflict considerably less damage.

     

    18 killed in Nov. 3 terror attacks

    On the afternoon of Nov. 3, after meeting with Dr. Mohammed Batikh, director of Al-Razi Hospital, the victims of terror attacks which had begun a few hours prior began to arrive one after another, maimed and critically injured. The vehicle bombings and bombardment of Grad missiles, among other attacks, left 18 people dead and more than 200 injured, according to Dr. Zaher Hajo, the head of forensic medicine at Al-Razi Hospital.

    The body of a civilian who was killed in the Nov. 3 attacks in Aleppo. Nov. 3, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

    The body of a civilian who was killed in the Nov. 3 attacks in Aleppo. Nov. 3, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

    The corridors and emergency ward at Al-Razi Hospital, one of two state-run hospitals in Aleppo, quickly became clogged with the injured and grieving family members. In one crowded interior corridor, one of the wounded screamed out in pain: “Ya, Allah! Ya, Allah!”

    In another corridor, a 15-year-old boy with a cast on one leg and bandages on his head, said the mortar attack which injured him had killed his 4-year-old cousin and left his 6-year-old cousin with critical injuries.

    In a front room, a mother wailed for her son who had suffered severe injuries. She screamed and pleaded for someone to save him, her only son. Not long after, though, the news came in: the 26-year-old had died. Her son, a doctor, was not the first medical professional to die in terrorists’ routine bombings of Aleppo neighborhoods.

    Dr. Nabil Antaki, a gastroenterologist from Aleppo, with whom I met on my trips to Aleppo in July and August, messaged me in October about his friend and colleague, Dr. Omar, who was injured on Oct. 6 when terrorist factions unleashed an attack on Jamiliye Street, killing 10 people. Just a few days after the attack, Dr. Omar, too, died.

    At the morgue behind Al-Razi Hospital on Nov. 3, inconsolable family members leaned against the wall or sat on the pavement, coming to grips with the deaths of loved ones.

    One 14-year-old boy had been there on Nov. 2, when his father was killed. On Nov. 3, he returned when his mother was killed. Both of this boy’s parents are dead, both killed in terrorist attacks on the city’s New Aleppo district.

    A man spoke of a 10-year-old nephew who was shot in the head by a terrorist sniper while the boy was on his roof.

    A woman and her children leaned against an iron rail next to the door to the morgue, weeping over the death of her husband, their father, who was killed while parking a car. When the man’s mother arrived, she collapsed, shrieking in grief.

    The body of a civilian who was killed in the Nov. 3 attacks in Aleppo.

    The body of a civilian who was killed in the Nov. 3 attacks in Aleppo. Nov. 3, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

    And in the midst of all of this, all these women and children, a car arrived at the morgue with the body of yet another victim of the day’s terror attacks, Mohammed Majd Darwish, 74. His upper body was so bloody that it was unclear whether he had been decapitated.

    Near the morgue, Bashir Shehadeh, a man in his forties, said his family had been displaced already from Jisr al-Shughour, a city in Idlib. His mother, some of his friends, and his cousin have been killed by terrorist factions’ shellings. He said enough was enough, and called on the SAA to eliminate the terrorist threat.

    Al-Razi’s Dr. Batikh said a private hospital, Al-Rajaa, was hit by a mortar attack. “They cannot do operations now, the operating room is out of service.”

    One of the most notable attacks on hospitals was the December 2013 double truck bombing of Al-Kindi Hospital, the largest and best cancer treatment hospital in the Middle East. I have previously reported on other attacks on hospitals in Aleppo, including the May 3 rocket attack which gutted Al-Dabeet, a maternity hospital, killing three women. On Sept. 10, Dr. Antaki messaged me:

    “Yesterday, a rocket, sent by the terrorists, hit a maternity hospital in Aleppo in Muhafazat Street. Two persons working in the hospital were injured. No death. But the point is that it is a hospital and it was hit by a rocket.”

    Dr. Batikh and Dr. Mazen Rahmoun, deputy director of Al-Razi, said the hospital once had 68 ambulances, but now there are only six. The rest, they said, were either stolen by terrorist factions or destroyed.

    Aleppo’s doctors continue to treat the daily influx of injured and ill patients in spite of the dearth of ambulances and effects of Western sanctions which mean a lack of medical equipment, replacement parts, and medicine for critical illnesses like cancer.

    According to the hospital’s head forensic medicine, Dr. Hajo, in the last five years, 10,750 civilians have been killed in Aleppo, 40 percent of whom were women and children. In the past year alone, 328 children have been killed by terrorist shelling in Aleppo, and 45 children were killed by terrorist snipers.

     

    Humanitarian Crossings: Shelling of Castello Road

    Less than 100 metres away, the second of two mortars fired by terrorist factions less than 1 km from Castello Road on Nov. 4. The road and humanitarian corridor were targeted at least six times that day by terrorist factions. Nov. 4, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

    Less than 100 metres away, the second of two mortars fired by terrorist factions less than 1 km from Castello Road on Nov. 4. The road and humanitarian corridor were targeted at least six times that day by terrorist factions. Nov. 4, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

    On Nov. 4, prior to our 9:30 a.m. arrival at the Bustan al-Qasr crossing and until our departure an hour later, no one had been able to cross from the area just beyond crossing, which is occupied by Jaysh al-Fatah militants.

    Two weeks prior to our arrival, journalists had reported that terrorist factions heavily shelled the crossing and areas around it starting in the early morning.

    A Syrian general at the crossing confirmed that shelling had taken place on Oct. 20, adding that three police officers had been wounded. A journalist in the delegation asked the general what he would say to Syrian civilians like Bashir Shehadeh, who demanded that the SAA eliminate the terrorist factions.

    “We need to be patient, because the civilians there are not able to leave, they are not guilty,” the general replied. “We don’t work the way that the terrorists work.”

    Regarding the amnesty decree issued by President Bashar Assad in late July, the general explained that terrorists who want to be granted amnesty could lay down their arms. Those who choose to go on to Idlib would be granted safe passage by the Syrian government and army, in coordination with the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

    According to the general, when two militants arrived at the Bustan al-Qasr crossing about two months ago, they surrendered their arms and proceeded under amnesty.

    Five months ago, he said, 12 civilians crossed there, were treated in Aleppo’s hospitals, and returned to their homes in terrorist-held eastern Aleppo.  

    At the Castello Road humanitarian crossing, the large green buses which were said to be evacuating militants from areas of eastern Aleppo in recent weeks were there again, waiting to ferry away more. Ten ambulances, three buses, and 14 minivans were lined up in anticipation of any civilians or militants trying to leave terrorist-occupied areas, whether for safe passage elsewhere or to settle in government-secured areas of Aleppo.

    Ten ambulances wait at the Castello Road crossing to treat anyone exiting via the humanitarian corridors established by the Syrian government and Russia, including militants who lay down their arms. Nov. 4, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

    Ten ambulances wait at the Castello Road crossing to treat anyone exiting via the humanitarian corridors established by the Syrian government and Russia, including militants who lay down their arms. Nov. 4, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

    George Sire, 25, an anesthesiologist at Salloum Hospital in Aleppo, was one of the volunteers who arrived at the crossing with five of the private hospital’s ambulances, at the request of the Syrian government.

    When speaking with a Syrian commander about permitting men who had used arms against Syrian civilians and soldiers to lay down their arms and reconcile, he said they are sons of the country and urged them to reconcile.

    At around 1:30 p.m. the first shell struck, hitting near Castello Road. About 10 minutes later, while I was being interviewed, a second hit, this time considerably closer, within 100 meters — close enough, in fact, to create a cloud of dark smoke over the road. It prompted security to usher me away from the road and move our delegation away from the crossing.

    I later learned that another five shells targeted the crossing, injuring a Syrian journalist and two Russian soldiers.

    No one passed through this or any of the other seven humanitarian corridors that day.

     

    Displaced by terrorists

    For around four years, simple shelters at the Hafez al-Assad Mosque have housed around 1,000 people, all Sunni families displaced from areas occupied by militants.

    Most of those with whom I spoke listed similar reasons for leaving their homes and described being in fear for their lives because of the terrorist presence.

    “They came and destroyed houses and killed civilians before they attacked the state. The army is protecting us, it’s the gangs [that] are the ones destroying the country,” one man told me.

    He said his two brothers in terrorist-controlled areas in eastern Aleppo are “not allowed to leave.”

    “They’ve tried many times but they are prevented. If the armed groups see anyone carrying luggage, they’ll arrest them right away.”

    He and others at the shelter complained that, according to their family members, the terrorist factions horde and control any food within the areas they occupy.

    Like elsewhere in the city, the shelter and area immediately surrounding the mosque are routinely hit with mortars and explosive bullets.

    An older man led me around a corner, pointing to a spot where he said a 29-year-old man was killed by a terrorist-fired explosive bullet.

    “He was standing here. His stomach was torn open,” he told me.

     

    The Old City: Life among ruins

    The small bus ferrying over a dozen journalists and a very alert special forces soldier, Ali, to the Old City at one point suddenly bolted ahead. A sniper was staked out to our left, in an area occupied by terrorist factions roughly 500 meters away, we were told.

    After entering the Old City, and crossing a street shielded from sniper fire by an earthen embankment and a metal screen, at times the only means of continuing on in the Old City was by stepping through holes hammered into the walls connecting buildings. By crossing through buildings, we avoided the snipers who are ready fire on anyone who moves on the street.

    Across the narrow street, a shock of greenery stood in stark contrast to the grey tones of destruction created by years of fighting against some of the worst terrorism the world has ever known.

    Rami, a Syrian soldier from Banias, explained that he had planted herbs and green onions here as he did when he had been stationed along the desert-like Ithriya-Khanasser road in the past. Rami’s soft smile and kind demeanor betrayed his personal loss: a brother killed while serving in the SAA.

    While walking through the government-secured areas of Aleppo’s Old City, we came across a single vendor, Mahmoud. He used to sell traditional Arabic musical instruments, but circumstances have forced him to abandon that business in favor of selling basic goods to roughly 25 customers per day. He refuses to leave the Old City, where he’s only about 200 meters from the Nusra Front and other Jaysh al-Fatah militants.

    “I’m an ordinary person,” Mahmoud said. “They destroyed everything.”

    Walking past devastated shop after devastated shop, and through the graceful arches of covered markets typical of old Syrian cities, MP Fares Shehabi pointed out:

    “You see the blackened ceilings? That’s from when the terrorists withdrew. They set fires to stall the advance of the Syrian army, and also to try to hide their looting. They cannot accuse the army of having bombed here, the roof is intact.”

    Exiting from this particular market area, we came to a sandbagged, partially-screened area. We were given stern orders not to move forward: The famous Aleppo Citadel was ahead, and to the left and right of our position at the destroyed Carlton Hotel, terrorist snipers lay in wait.

    When terrorists detonated mass amounts of explosives in tunnels underneath the Carlton Hotel in May 2014, Col. Abu Majed told us that “all of Aleppo felt it.”

    “They have bombed over 20 historic buildings via tunnels,” Shehabi said. “If they were real Syrians, they would not bomb historical buildings.”

    At least 7,500 shops in the Old City are gone, lost to burning, looting and utter destruction. “That’s 7,500 families,” Shehabi reminded us.

     

    Visiting frontline targeted areas

    The Syrian Catholic Church of Aleppo still has a gaping hole in one wall since being hit by terrorist shelling roughly two years ago. At the time of the attack, the congregation was inside worshipping, the choir singing.

    The Syrian Catholic Church of Aleppo has been targeted with shelling five times by terrorist groups, including the Nusra Front, that occupy areas just 500 meters away. The shelling that left this hole occurred two years ago, while congregation members were worshipping, the choir singing. At least 10 people were injured. Nov. 2, 2016 (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

    The Syrian Catholic Church of Aleppo has been targeted with shelling five times by terrorist groups, including the Nusra Front, that occupy areas just 500 meters away. The shelling that left this hole occurred two years ago, while congregation members were worshipping, the choir singing. At least 10 people were injured. Nov. 2, 2016 (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

    A church leader said it had been targeted five times, the last incident apparently involving a rocket just a few weeks prior to our arrival. Terrorist factions were an estimated 300-500 meters away, he said.

    He estimated that one-third of the 1,350 families who used to worship there have fled to other areas of Syria or abroad, mainly due to safety concerns.  

    “We were living in security and peace. These areas are being targeted, they want to force us to leave. Every Syrian is being targeted,” he told the delegation.

    Some of the remaining congregation members have chosen to worship in a narrow corridor inside the building over the past two years.

    Further in the city, the Maronite Church of Aleppo’s Bishop Joseph Topji said roughly two-thirds of his community of around 800 families have left, hoping to find safer conditions elsewhere.

    Inside a building belonging to the church, Bishop Topji welcomed us and explained:

    “We don’t have a church now. We used to have two churches, but both are destroyed. We only have this place, a chapel which holds around 70 people.”

    Walking along darkened streets in Talal, an area historically rich with churches that are now destroyed or massively damaged, Shehabi urged caution: “We are 50 meters from al-Nusra. Beyond these buildings, the frontline.”

    Rev. Ibrahim Nseir, pastor of the Arab Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Aleppo, led us through the Christian areas of Talal, reminding us to remain as silent as possible.

    “No voices, because that will let them hear that we are here. It will be very dangerous,” he said quietly. “Quickly, ya eini… Please, everybody, quickly…”

    We then took a bus to Midan district, where we walked along the darkened streets. Our Syrian military accompaniment urged the group to stay together and listen carefully.

    As we walked, Rev. Nseir described attacks on schools and the area, an Armenian district, which was heavily hit.

    “Here we are in one of the most targeted places,” he said, pointing out ruts in the ground from mortar strikes.

    A local resident told us:

    “On September 5, two gas canister bombs his this area, we had three martyrs, shebab around age 30. One was married with a 1-year-old child. Another was about to get married. Four days before his wedding, he was killed. Over six days in September, we received 85 shells.”

    As we walked, Shehabi cautioned: “Bela dow, bela dow—no light. There’s a sniper, guys, there’s a sniper. Turn off your lights.” The sniper was an estimated 1 km away, according to the locals walking with us, who said snipers sometimes come within 500 meters.

    With night settled in, it was difficult to ascertain the intensity of the damage, but the darkened homes and streets spoke volumes of a neighborhood abandoned by former residents with deep safety concerns.

    According to a representative of the Syrian Catholic Church of Aleppo, around one-third of the congregation’s 1,350 families have fled to other areas of Syria or even gone abroad, primarily seeking security and distance from the mortars and rockets of terrorist factions. Congregation members stopped worshiping in the church chapel two years ago after repeated instances of shelling. They now gather in a small interior corridor where they feel somewhat safer. Nov. 2, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

    According to a representative of the Syrian Catholic Church of Aleppo, around one-third of the congregation’s 1,350 families have fled to other areas of Syria or even gone abroad, primarily seeking security and distance from the mortars and rockets of terrorist factions. Congregation members stopped worshiping in the church chapel two years ago after repeated instances of shelling. They now gather in a small interior corridor where they feel somewhat safer. Nov. 2, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

     

    Aleppo’s religious leaders defy divisiveness

    Inside his church, a new structure built about a year ago to replace the historic church destroyed by terrorists in years prior, Rev. Nseir introduced three Sunni leaders from the city: Dr. Rami Obeid, Dr. Rabih Kukeh, Sheikh Ahmed Ghazeli.

    “These Sunni leaders are considered ‘infidels’ by al-Nusra and company,” Nseir said, explaining that they don’t follow the distorted Wahhabi ideology guiding the Western-backed terrorist factions like the Nusra Front and others which had been deemed “moderate rebels” and “opposition forces.”

    Before turning the floor over to these religious leaders, Rev. Nseir noted:

    “When the church was destroyed, the first person to call me was Mufti Hassoun, who told me, ‘Don’t worry, reverend, we’ll rebuild the church.’”

    Dr. Kukeh spoke generally on the multi-denominational culture of Syria:

    “The mosaic we are living in Syria is incomparable to any way of living all over the world. Christians and Muslims, Sunnis and Shiites. There is no discrimination based on religion or sect. The propaganda spread throughout the media have no roots here.”

    dscn6096

    Rev. Ibrahim Nseir, pastor of the Arab Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Aleppo, with three top Sunni scholars and leaders, Dr. Rami Obeid, Rabih Kukeh, Sheikh Ahmed Ghazeli, who reject Wahhabism. Dr. Kukeh said of the terrorist factions: “Those who are killing the Sunnis are the same who claim that they are defending the Sunnis.” Nov. 2, 2016. (Photo: Eva Bartlett)

    In regards to the terrorists who portray themselves as freedom-fighting jihadists, Dr. Kukeh said:

    “Those who are killing the Sunnis are the same who claim that they are defending the Sunnis. The shells that hit us daily are sent by them.”

    He named six Sunni sheikhs in Syria, most in Aleppo, who were assassinated by terrorists for not joining them. One of them, Sheikh Abdel Latif al-Shami, was tortured to death in July 2012.

    Dr. Kukeh, who said he named his oldest son after the former Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, “because I love that man,” explained that in 2012 he was living in eastern Aleppo when terrorists began to occupy districts there. He was targeted for assassination because he did not agree with the terrorists’ ideologies.

    He said he was convicted of charges related to his writing for a local publication, his son’s name, and a lack of anti-government demonstrations emanating from his mosque. Those demonstrations never occurred, he said, because he never encouraged them like other Wahhabi sheikhs did elsewhere.

    The conversation drifted from the source of terrorism in Syria, Wahhabism, and its distorted, un-Islamic nature, to the unity I’ve heard Syrians all over speak of. One of the sheikhs, his name lost in a flutter of voices, repeated what’s become a familiar sentiment among Syrian civilians and soldiers:

    “Aleppo is one, Syria is one. We reject the division of Aleppo, we reject the division of Syria.”

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    • simon rose

      there is proof on youtube, of the government showing support to those “rebels” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmEK-Oaht-w&t=221s

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    • Ricardo Silva

      Aleppo is freed from the Terrorists from FSA, Al-Qaeda, ISIS and IDF… https://www.facebook.com/SyrianPartisanGirl/videos/1250275898343853/

      Good riddance to you all, bloody drug-addicted mercenaries.

    • Pingback: La yihad mediática occidental queda al descubierto en Alepo | El Mirador Global()

    • James Wherry

      1. Russian accomplices of the War Criminal Assad are using incendiary bombs. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/25/russia-accused-war-crimes-syria-un-security-council-aleppo
      Russia admits it! https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/26/syria-aleppo-russia-bunker-buster-bomb-reports

      2. Syrian government blows up MORE hospitals. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/28/aleppo-two-hospitals-bombed-out-of-service-syria-airstrikes.

      3. Russians are using cluster bombs – a fact unreported in this website, which complains about the House of Sa’ud doing the same thing in Yemen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ge32m5F4G0

      4.. THE GUARDIAN reports 2,000 civilians murdered by Russian bombers in 6 months. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/15/russian-airstrikes-in-syria-killed-2000-civilians-in-six-months.
      Have some perspective about the Fog of War.

      5. THE GUARDIAN reports that Syrian planes attacked and murdered 30 civilians in a “revenge” attack.
      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/02/syrian-civilians-killed-in-apparent-revenge-bombing-for-pilot-death

      6. Russian airstrikes – not ISIL – are killing civilians. http://time.com/4129222/russia-airstrikes-syria-civilian-casualties-isis/

      7. Russian jets strike civilians in Aleppo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyVH6gdLJ8g

      • Ricardo Silva

        In case you haven’t noticed, you’re commenting on the article of a Canadian Journalist who has just returned from Syria, talked to the Syrians… and is now exposing all those “news” you’re posting… as being fake propaganda.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AisvBNXPdG8

      • simon rose

        nonsense.

    • The Zionist entity isn’t even in the discussion, so bringing it in makes no difference. The Guardian hasn’t ever told a word of truth about the terrorist campaign against Syria. This is the same Guardian which champions the White Helmets jihadi propaganda gang and said that Assad needed to be overthrown if ISIS was to be defeated.

      • James Wherry

        I don’t know of any “Zionist entity.” It sounds like you’re trying to dehumanize the citizens of the nation of Israel and you can just stop your bigotry, right now.

        Why should I believe the Guardian is not telling the truth? The facts have been investigated and verified by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the U.N. – the same people that the Jew Haters on this website site, when they wish to criticize Israel. If they can’t be believed about Syria, then I’ll just discount them when they criticize Israel.

        The same is true about the Guardian – which has been a fierce critic of Israel. Why should I believe THAT criticism, if you’re telling me they are not to be believed? It sounds like you move in circular arguments and only believe what you want to hear about the butcher, Assad.

        • There’s no nation of “Israel”, there’s an apartheid settler colonial entity on occupied Palestinian land, which is illegitimate even according to Judaism.

    • And your proof of this is. …? Why should anyone believe you unless you can prove it?

      • James Wherry

        Personal experience while serving in Iraq, several times, both my experiences and those of my troops.

        Why would I believe you, if you’ve never been to any of those countries? You seem to be under the mistaken impression that I have to pick one idiot over the other. I don’t. I can wish the worst to Assad AND al-Quaeda and ISIL. Syria and Iran spent years funding and supporting al-Zarqawi and other terrorist organizations.

        1. IRAN supported ISIL’s fore-runner, AQI leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to murder U.S. Americans Soldiers that TAPATIO HATES. http://freebeacon.com/national-security/iran-sponsored-isil-founder-sheltered-him-from-u-s/

        “Iran long provided shelter and protection to the founder and former commander of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the predecessor to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), which rose to power due in large part to Tehran’s support, according to multiple intelligence reports and outside experts.

        See also: “http://www2.unitedagainstnucleariran.com/AlQaeda

        “What ISIS Owes Iran.”
        http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=118&x_article=3080

        2. SYRIA: Assad buys oil from ISIS and attacks ISIS’ enemies, instead of attacking ISIS. Assad helped violent extremist enter Iraq through Syria to murder our Soldiers – that TAPATIO also hates.

        “Syria: Isis advance on Aleppo aided by Assad regime air strikes, US says” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/02/syria-isis-advance-on-aleppo-aided-by-assad-regime-air-strikes-us-says

        SYRIA helped create ISIL.
        http://www.newsweek.com/how-syrias-assad-helped-forge-isis-255631

        Syria is DIRECTLY supporting ISIL.
        http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/state-syrias-assad-directly-supporting-isis/article/2565466h

        http://www.infowars.com/israel-supports-jihadists-isis-in-syria/
        https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4506390/syria-support-isis

        • Ricardo Silva

          U.S.-Backed ‘Moderate Rebels’ Caught on Video Firebombing Humanitarian Evacuation Buses in Aleppo

          http://www.dcclothesline.com/2016/12/20/u-s-backed-moderate-rebels-caught-on-video-firebombing-humanitarian-evacuation-buses-in-aleppo/

          Revealing exactly how moderate the U.S.-backed rebel opposition in Syria is, often called the “moderate rebels” in western corporate media, these Islamist terrorists showed the world how they have held the city of Aleppo captive for the past 4-years – with violence, intimidation, and death.

          A reported 25 humanitarian buses sent to transport sick and injured from the war-ravaged Syrian villages were attacked and firebombed en route by the “moderate rebels.” Five bus drivers were taken hostage and three more were killed, according to Bashar Ja’afari the Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations, who spoke during a press conference at the UN on Monday.

          The attack halted the efforts by the Syrian government to evacuate besieged areas in an effort to alleviate a growing humanitarian crisis. While the narrative in western media is that Assad forces refuse to allow humanitarian aid into Aleppo, video footage reveals that the U.S.-backed insurgents in Syria are the ones stopping the humanitarian assistance with their continued brutality.

          Keep in mind that these are the alleged “moderate rebels” being supported by U.S. tax dollars.

          Even mainstream western outlets such as the BBC, which constantly pushes western propaganda, were unable to account for the brazen actions of the Islamist forces.

          According to a report by the BBC:

          Several buses en route to evacuate the sick and injured from two government-held villages in Syria’s Idlib province have been burned by rebels.

          The convoy was travelling to Foah and Kefraya, besieged by rebel fighters.

          Pro-government forces are demanding people be allowed to leave the mainly Shia villages in order for the evacuation of east Aleppo to restart.

          Unlike the numerous western claims of genocidal atrocities in Aleppo, which lack any photographic or video evidence of alleged atrocities committed by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), Twitter has exploded with graphic evidence of the attack on the humanitarian bus convoy.

          The problem is that the western media has consistently parroted the government line about moderate rebels so many times that they have utterly failed to identify that there is little working difference on the ground in Syria between the Free Syrian Army and the Nusra Front.

          These are simply distinctions to allow for the transfer of weapons and funding to one group, which then distributes these assets to their affiliated forces on the ground.

          So, when the Assad government labels all forces opposed to them as terrorists they are essentially telling the truth as there is a collusion between these groups in a concerted, U.S.-backed, effort to degrade and remove the Assad government.

          Make no mistake that there was, at one time, a real homegrown insurgency against the Assad government, by his own people, but that movement has long since been hijacked by foreign governments and Islamist jihadis, both of which have an agenda to decide the next ruling power in Syria.

          Since the ‘moderate rebel’ bus attack, more buses have been routed to evacuate people, and the humanitarian evacuation has resumed. Dr. Ahmad Dbis, who leads a team of doctors and volunteers coordinating relief efforts, told AFP, that an initial 20 buses arrived in eastern Aleppo, followed by another 20 only hours later.

          The next time someone tells you about the brutality of Assad be sure to point out that there are no blameless parties, and the show them this evidence of what the “moderate rebels,” supported by U.S. dollars, are doing to people trying to provide humanitarian aid in Syria.

          If Americans understood who they are supporting in Syria, almost all support would cease immediately. Sadly, the 4th column as an independent force has been so thoroughly neutered by their oligarchic masters, that they no longer are watchdogs of government corruption, but rather act as an unofficial propaganda wing of the government itself.

          As Malcolm X one warned,

          “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

          http://www.dcclothesline.com/2016/12/20/u-s-backed-moderate-rebels-caught-on-video-firebombing-humanitarian-evacuation-buses-in-aleppo/

          • James Wherry

            Ricardo,

            SOME rebels did attack the buses seeking to evacuate pro-Assad civilians from government-controlled areas, but no one has any proof it was “U.S.-backed rebels.” You may be mistaken on two issues, though:

            1. I don’t need to choose “the lesser of two evils.” I can hate Assad just as much as I hate al-Nusra and al-Quaeda. Why choose any evil? None of them like Americans, anyway.

            2. We are unquestionably supporting SOME rebels – and that disgusts me. Believe me, I’m sympathetic to Assad’s victims, but WHAT LEGAL RIGHT does the U.S. have to seek to topple a foreign government through military means when that government is no threat to the U.S.? Whether I hate Assad or not – and I DO – we have no legal right to get involved, either under the U.S. Constitution which – absent a direct threat that triggers the War Powers Act and the President’s inherent right to defend the U.S., or under Article VII of the U.N. Charter where the U.N. Security Council has authorized the use of force.

            I do agree that the U.S. has a legal obligation to stop Genocide. Got it. And that’s part of why we’re bombing ISIL and al-Nusra. Works for me. But any of these middle eastern messes can be styled as “genocide”, and at the end of the day, America has used up its “Get out of jail free” card, once too often. I still remember the day that the leader of al-Nusra posted, “The day we take Damascus, we will set our sights on Washington D.C.” In short, THEY ALL HATE US.

            Of course, that doesn’t stop me from cheering ANYONE who is killing Hezbollah fighters. I trust you understand. “IT IS PERSONAL!” And it makes me VERY happy to hear of Syrian secret police dying in droves after they exported IEDs and EFPs into Iraq and killed my friends. Again – “IT IS PERSONAL!” That does not mean I think we have any right whatsoever to get involved as a nation.

            Find an “Arab solution to the Arab problem” and stop “American boys being shipped overseas to bleed and die for people who hate us.” I’m not a Bleeding Heart Anything, but I am a Barry Goldwater Republican, and I agree that “It’s time to get American boys out of Asia and let Asian boys do what Asian boys are supposed to do!”

            Thanks for letting me vent. Good post on your part.

        • Hahahahaha.

          Syria supports ISIS. The same ISIS it’s fighting in Palmyra, Deir Az Zor, and Damascus.

          Iran supported Zarqawi. The same Zarqawi who converted the Iraqi resistance struggle against Amerikastani imperialist aggression into a civil war.

          Brilliant.

          Next you’ll say Saddam’s WMDs were found.

          • Ricardo Silva

            You know how Zionists work: The truth is the exact opposite of 99,9% of what they say…

            Everyone knows who’s behind the terrorists destroying Syria:
            – Saudi Arabia
            – Qatar
            – Turkey
            – USA
            – UK
            – Israel

            Anyone with a different version is lying through his teeth.

          • James Wherry

            I’ve provided the weblinks to the reports. If you have something that contradicts those reports, be my guest.

            1. Assad buys oil from ISIL – even MintPressNews reported THAT.

            2. From 2003-2011, Iran and Syria built and imported IEDs and EFPs and sent them in to Iraq to murder my troops. They did not care who they gave them to – so long as the target was American Soldiers. Sun’ni jihadists freely hopped the border BACK into Iran and Syria to avoid capture. Again, so long as it was Americans who were dying, Iran and Syria were happy.

            This is “blowback” and they get what they deserve.

            • Ricardo Silva

              “1. Assad buys oil from ISIL – even MintPressNews reported THAT.”

              North Korea landed on the Sun. – even The Onion reported THAT.

              • James Wherry

                But I know the difference: “the onion” is satire and fiction. MintPressNews (the site you are posting to, right now) aspires to be a NEWS site. The fact that it is pro-Syrian makes their admission believable as a “statement against a party opponent.”

                I’ve provided citations. If you have proof they are wrong, you’re free to post it – which you have not done. Until you do, why should I believe you?

                • Ricardo Silva

                  Ain’t it interesting how you pick up from this site just a couple of articles that support your biased opinions… while vehemently denying every article that contradicts those opinions…?

                  How’s that called…? Ah, that’s right: Cognitive Dissonance.

                  This site isn’t pro-Syrian. It’s a collection of news from several authors, ranging from complete bulshit stories to valid news, much like CNN, BBC or Fox News.

                  While the news you believe in are probably unsupported by evidence… this article you’re denying is written by Canadian Journalist Eva Bartlett after returning from Syria… and there’s video of her saying the exact same things:

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AisvBNXPdG8

                  • James Wherry

                    Not at all. I have not disagreed with the articles that show that Donald Trump will try to better relations with Putin and ignore Syria’s atrocities. I’ve never disagreed with articles where the rights of Americans are being violated by NSA warrantless wiretaps. Why would I?

                    It’s called “consistency.” Where I have evidence the article is wrong I POST it. Which is what I’ve suggested that you do. What you are doing, however, is comparing apples to oranges. That’s called “deny, divert and deceive.” There’s nothing inconsistent with my position.

                    1. Assad’s a butcher.

                    2. I don’t want America involved in the Syrian Civil War.

                    3. Sa’udi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey can come up with an “Arab solution to an Arab problem” without me – and I wish them well in destroying Assad. Leave me out of it.

                    • Ricardo Silva

                      Consistency? No, consistency is admitting what’s wrong and right, with no religious bias.

                      You attack Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey… but at the same time you defend USA, UK & Israel…

                      Consistency is admitting all these 6 countries are helping the Islamic Terrorists who are destroying Syria.

                      So, you wish Al-Qaeda well while they destroy Syria… while you await for them to commit the next 9/11. You support terrorism as long as it kills Muslims… but as soon as the victims are not Muslims, you get mad at the same terrorists.

                      That’s called being an hypocrite.

                      • James Wherry

                        Your efforts to misrepresent what I posted are called a “Strawman Argument.” It’s one of the 21 fallacies of logical thinking – mischaracterizing what someone just said or wrote in order to argue against the fake statement. It’s beneath you.

                        I have not attacked Sa’udi Arabia, Qatar or Turkey. I’ve said they can come up with a solution to defend the Sun’nis from these attacks – but leave American troops out of it. Please see the post just above this one as proof.

                        I specifically stated that I do not support ANY of the rebels operating in Syria. I condemn my own government’s support for ANY rebel organization because we have no LEGAL right to get involved. I do not want American troops to die or to get involved in Syria’s Civil War. We CAN kill ISIL, al-Quaeda and al-Nusra because they are targeting and attacking the United States AND because they are committing Genocide against Christians, Kurds and SHI’ITE MUSLIMS. I even provided proof that we WERE attacking those rebel organizations, 7 posts below on this thread, so stop pretending I wrote something else.

                        Finally, YES, I am VERY HAPPILY wish anyone well who is killing members of the sick, disgusting, vicious, filthy animals who make up HEZBOLLAH. Why shouldn’t I? The Hezzies can burn in a firey he!!.

                        I also hope they kill Assad’s militias who are raping little boys and men to “keep their families in line.” In case you didn’t notice, the VICTIMS of Assad’s militias are MUSLIMS.

                        YOU are the one who is supporting those atrocities and pretending they are not happening in order to open up a Fifth Column of support for those evil acts. YOU don’t care two cents for the Muslims who are being murdered by Assad and his thugs.

                      • Ricardo Silva

                        Strawman arguments… You mean, like when I was talking about Al-Qaeda and ISIS terrorists and you replied as if I was talking about the Syrian Army?

                        You’re parroting the Zionist Propaganda which gives cover to Al-Qaeda and ISIS terrorists by rebranding them as rebels and freedom fighters… You parrot the Zionist Propaganda which claims all the massacres are done by Assad’s Regime… even though you have no proof of that… other than the word of a single guy in Coventry, UK.

                        You’re whitewashing the terrorist crimes against the Syrian Population… and yet, you claim you don’t support these terrorists? Make up your mind.

                      • simon rose

                        YOU don’t care two cents for the Muslims who are being murdered by Assad and his thugs.

                        er..looks like your Jarhead attitude and your experiences is a self reinforcing delusion. don’t like it stay out of it…remember when the usa was supporting Al-qeada against the russians? we all know what happened a a few year later.

                    • Fred Kay

                      Assad a butcher ? I suppose he also had WMD. Please spare us the propaganda . If you did serve in Iraq as you say you did , being able to live with the mass murder you participated in no doubt provides you with a motive to justify your actions . How you can live with that is difficult to comprehend to any sane moral person

                      • James Wherry

                        Well, he admitted that he had chemical weapons which are considered to be weapons of mass destruction.

                        Under threat of attack from the United States of America, Assad agreed to get rid of his chemical weapons so if you want to argue that he did not have chemical weapons, take it up with Assad.

                • simon rose
    • Ricardo Silva

      Ironic to see how, in just 15 years, Al-Qaeda went from USA’s Public Enemy #1 to USA’s Public Ally #1.
      The same guys who murdered over 3000 Americans… are now receiving all kinds of support from the USA and Israel, as if 9/11 never happened. How disgusting…

    • Sean Meehan

      I appreciate the perspective from the government side of the front, that it doesn’t seem necessarily Russian or Assad slanted, but it does attempt to exonerate the Syrian government for failing to negotiate an end to these atrocities and classify anyone fighting against the state as a terrorist, which is consistent with the military’s view perhaps, but hasn’t been supported. The whole contested area cannot be under control of imported militants, (at least the occupied ones), and while I’m sure there are elements (even official ones) from Turkey that have been clandestinely undermining Syrian infrastructure and transiting armaments, that can’t be the only Turkish investment in stability along their border.

      I would like to see more sources, the writing is emotionally compelling, and the effort would be brave, if credible.

    • Pingback: The End in Aleppo: A Confused, Emotive Story Plays Out in International Media |  SHOAH()

    • Alyson Gombas

      You’re not a journalist if you’re only using the evidence that backs up your claim. This is pure propaganda and it’s dangerous because people trust you. I couldn’t read this whole thing, but only one side has air power. Only one side can cause mass casualties via that air power. You create a false equivalence through these anecdotal stories and it’s extremely dangerous that you’re questioning the entire narrative of this war and causing distrust when so few people are already willing to help. Nobody believes any of the factions of the FSA are completely blameless and that’s fine to call them out on their crimes too, but this is conspiracy theory propaganda and it undermines any support any Syrians are receiving. How do you sleep at night?

      • You are more than welcome to go to Syria and carry out your own fact finding mission in the terrorist controlled areas. We would be most fascinated to read your observations…assuming you can make your way back without the cuddly little moderates hacking your head off.

    • Pingback: The End in Aleppo: A Confused, Emotive Story Plays Out in International Media… | the burning blogger of bedlam()

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    • Pingback: #StopWar on #Syria Articles – All About Being Human (award-free zone)()

    • James Wherry

      Sun’ni mothers and fathers sent their children off to war against the Assad dictatorship because they had enough of the brutality of that dictatorship. Here’s why, from the Guardian:

      “Exhausted parents clutching terrified children in their arms, young people pushing the old in makeshift carts or wheelchairs and families pulling overstuffed suitcases: the scenes from east Aleppo are those of a new exodus. As Syrian government forces move on the last urban stronghold of the anti-Assad opposition, helped by Shia militias from Iraq, Iran and Hezbollah, hundreds of men have been rounded up and disappeared. Their relatives, as well as human rights activists, fear they may already be dead, or have become victims of Assad’s network of jails and torture centres where thousands have been murdered.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/30/the-guardian-view-on-aleppo-the-wests-grim-failure?CMP=oth_b-aplnews_d-1

      • The Guardian is so biased it had to close down its comment section because all its readers were pointing out its lies. Try again.

    • Pingback: Eva Bartlett: How the US/Saudi-backed proxy army targets ‘every Syrian’ in Aleppo | +Beam me Up Skotty()

    • Pingback: Aleppo: How US & Saudi-Backed Rebels Target ‘Every Syrian’ | Resumen LatinoAmericano English()

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    • Pingback: 30 nov | Syrien()

    • Sep 3, 2014 “We Helped Build ISIS” – Admits retired Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney

      https://youtu.be/3SeINLuPG84

    • Toxik

      But the western mainstream media will publish that the civilans are being killed by the SAA. That’s fake news!!

      • Mariafcrowder

        Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj449d:
        On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
        !mj449d:
        ➽➽
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      • James Wherry

        Do you have any evidence of that? The “mainstream media” also reports that President Obama is the President of the United States. They seem pretty intent on getting the facts right and not looking like fools.

    • James Wherry

      Well, we know what we have to look forward to, when the Syrian Security forces and their “pro-government militias” take over.

      “There have also been reports of child rape, including gang rape, and of children used as human shields – forced to the front lines to stand between tanks and fighters to dissuade enemies from attacking. This detention and treatment of children violates conventions on child rights to which Syria is party – most notably the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Syria ratified in 1993.”

      https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Under_Siege_March_2014.pdf

    • Pingback: Aleppo: How US-Saudi Backed Rebels Target ‘Every Syrian’ | altahrir, news of Islam, Muslims, Arab Spring and special Palestine()

    • October 22, 2013 U.S. “War On Terror” Has INCREASED Terrorism/Dangerous History of ‘Regime Change’

      Here are some facts you will never view or hear in the U.S. Parvda!

      http://www.globalresearch.ca/u-s-war-on-terror-has-increased-terrorism/5355073

    • February 23, 2015 America Has Been At War 93% of the Time – 222 Out of 239 Years – Since 1776

      The U.S. Has Only Been At Peace For 21 Years Total Since Its Birth. Below, I have reproduced a year-by-year timeline of America’s wars, which reveals something quite interesting: since the United States was founded in 1776, she has been at war during 214 out of her 235 calendar years of existence. In other words, there were only 21 calendar years in which the U.S. did not wage any wars.

      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article41086.htm

    • James Wherry

      How Syria’s Assad Helped Forge ISIS

      By Simon Speakman Cordall On 6/21/14 at 12:40 PM

      http://www.newsweek.com/how-syrias-assad-helped-forge-isis-255631 (excerpt below)

      Mohammed Al-Saud is under no illusions. “In 2011, the majority of the current ISIS leadership was released from jail by Bashar Al Assad,” he said. “No one in the regime has ever admitted this, or explained why.” Al-Saud, a Syrian dissident with the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, left Syria under threat of arrest in 2011.

      Others were not so lucky. In 2006, Syrian Tarek Alghorani was sentenced to seven years in jail for the contents of his blog. Since his amnesty in 2011, he has been an active opponent of the Damascus regime. “There were around 1,500 people in there,” he recalls, outside a sleepy midtown café in Tunis. “There were about ten of us bloggers, around one hundred Kurds and the rest were just normal people. I’d say that, when they went in, around 90 percent were simply normal Muslims.”

      “The situation in there was like the middle ages. There were too many people and not enough space. There wasn’t enough water to drink. There wasn’t enough food to eat and what there was would have been ignored by dogs in the street. Torture was an everyday reality. After years in there, all of those people became Salafists and in a bad, bad way.”

      His fellow prisoners were members of ISIS. “Abu Muhammad al-Joulani, (founder of the Jihadist group, Jabhat al-Jabhat al-Nusra) was rumored to be there. Mohammed Haydar Zammar, (one of the organisers of the 9/11 attacks) was there. This is where the Syrian part of ISIS was born,” he said.

      Alghorani is convinced that members of ISIS were released strategically by Assad. “From the first days of the revolution (in March 2011), Assad denounced the organisation as being the work of radical Salafists, so he released the Salafists he had created in his prisons to justify the claim … If you do not have an enemy, you create an enemy.”

      Fellow Syrians agree. “The regime did not just open the door to the prisons and let these extremists out, it facilitated them in their work, in their creation of armed brigades,” a former member of the Syrian Security Services told the Abu Dhabi newspaper, the National, on condition of anonymity in January this year.

      “The regime knew what these people were. It knew what they wanted and the extent of their networks. Then it released them. These are the same people who are now in Iraq,” Al-Saud added.

      “In jail, you have leaders, then you have leaders of leaders. Things form their own structure,” Alghorani recalled. “When these guys were released they all became leaders. They all developed their own followers. My jail was an academy for radical Salafist fighters.”

      By 2012 it was estimated that, despite the open rift with their earlier partners Al Qaeda, ISIS had almost doubled its previous numbers to 2,500 fighters.

      “Al Qaeda are extremists. They’re terrorists, they’re everything you want to say about them, but they’re operating to a central creed.” Al-Saud said. “ISIS are simply a bunch of ignorant young men who have been brainwashed into thinking what they’re doing is right.”

      J.M Berger, author and researcher on Al Qaeda noted, “ISIS has been very competitive with [Al Qaeda] for popular appeal, especially in the key demographic of angry young men. Until now, there hasn’t been a clear victor in the battle for hearts and minds, but ISIS is reaping a lot of benefits from its current campaign in Iraq and this may be a gamechanger.”

      • tapatio

        AS SUBORDINATES OF THE ROTHSCHILD-BILDERBERG EMPIRE, WASHINGTON, ISRAEL AND SAUDI ARABIA BUILT AND OPERATE AL QAEDA, ISIS AND THE OTHER TERRORIST GROUPS OPERATING IN SYRIA (and elsewhere) TO DESTABILIZE COUNTRIES AND ESTABLISH A “CALIPHATE” THAT WOULD “COOPERATE” WITH THE EMPIRE.

        LIKE THE TERRORIST GROUPS THEMSELVES, THAT CALIPHATE WOULD BE JUST AS OPPRESSIVE AND VICIOUS AS ITS PARENT – SAUDI ARABIA (established by Jewish/British bankers, 100 years ago). SAUDI ARABIA. THEY ARE THE GUTTER SCRAPINGS OF ISLAM – EQUAL IN ALL RESPECTS TO THE ZIONIST DISEASE.

        Global Warfare: “We’re going to take out 7 countries in 5 years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan & Iran
        http://www.globalresearch.ca/we-re-going-to-take-out-7-countries-in-5-years-iraq-syria-lebanon-libya-somalia-sudan-iran/5166

        A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm (1996)
        http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1438.htm

        “Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right”

        AND

        Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century (2000)
        http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/pdf/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf

        “Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor (9/11 – PERFECTION). Domestic politics and industrial policy will shape the pace and content of transformation as much as the requirements of current missions.” (p 63)

        AMERICA’S “RASPUTINS” RESPONSIBLE FOR PLANNING THE LAST 15 YEARS OF DEATH – JEWISH ZIONISTS ALL……………

        CLEAN BREAK

        Richard perle

        REBUILDING AMERICA’S DEFENSES

        Paul Wolfowitz
        William Kristol
        Alvin Bernstein
        Eliot Cohen
        David Epstein
        Donald Kagan
        Fred Kagan
        Robert Kagan
        Robert Killebrew
        Steve Rosen
        Gary Schmitt
        Abram Shulsky
        Dov Zakheim

        • James Wherry

          Any comments about “7 countries in 5 years” came after several years of those countries funneling jihadists into Afghanistan and Iraq to murder Americans. Blame Iran, Syria, Sudan, etc.

          Meanwhile, your efforts to promote hatred of JEWS is simply Adolph Hitler and David Duke. You should start confronting the real threat to the world.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a7dc6868d393dd6106b6e59a83cd7c4c12515ae781dec596bfc2e9e39a3a9a58.jpg

          • tapatio

            JUDEO-NAZ! PROPAGANDA GRAPHICS ARE NOT EVIDENCE FROTHY MIX BREATH.

          • kreskin

            Keep drinking that Kool aid , you ridiculous stooge !

    • tapatio

      AS SUBORDINATES OF THE ROTHSCHILD-BILDERBERG EMPIRE, WASHINGTON, ISRAEL AND SAUDI ARABIA BUILT AND OPERATE AL QAEDA, ISIS AND THE OTHER TERRORIST GROUPS OPERATING IN SYRIA (and elsewhere) TO DESTABILIZE COUNTRIES AND ESTABLISH A “CALIPHATE” THAT WOULD “COOPERATE” WITH THE EMPIRE.

      LIKE THE TERRORIST GROUPS THEMSELVES, THAT CALIPHATE WOULD BE JUST AS OPPRESSIVE AND VICIOUS AS ITS PARENT – SAUDI ARABIA (established by Jewish/British bankers, 100 years ago). SAUDI ARABIA. THEY ARE THE GUTTER SCRAPINGS OF ISLAM – EQUAL IN ALL RESPECTS TO THE ZIONIST DISEASE.

      Global Warfare: “We’re going to take out 7 countries in 5 years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan & Iran
      http://www.globalresearch.ca/we-re-going-to-take-out-7-countries-in-5-years-iraq-syria-lebanon-libya-somalia-sudan-iran/5166

      A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm (1996)
      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1438.htm

      “Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right”

      AND

      Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century (2000)
      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/pdf/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf

      “Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor (9/11 – PERFECTION). Domestic politics and industrial policy will shape the pace and content of transformation as much as the requirements of current missions.” (p 63)

      AMERICA’S “RASPUTINS” RESPONSIBLE FOR PLANNING THE LAST 15 YEARS OF DEATH – JEWISH ZIONISTS ALL……………

      CLEAN BREAK

      Richard perle

      REBUILDING AMERICA’S DEFENSES

      Paul Wolfowitz
      William Kristol
      Alvin Bernstein
      Eliot Cohen
      David Epstein
      Donald Kagan
      Fred Kagan
      Robert Kagan
      Robert Killebrew
      Steve Rosen
      Gary Schmitt
      Abram Shulsky
      Dov Zakheim

    • James Wherry
      • tapatio

        AFTER THE REVELATIONS ABOUT TORTURE BY THE UNITED STATES AND THE JEW STATE’S CAMP 1391 (undoubtedly there are more like 1391), this US Army major, who lives a few minutes away from the entrance to the terrorist and oppression training facility – School of the Americas, Ft. Benning, GA, must feel like a complete imbecile posting this “Pot calling the Kettle Black” drivel.

        For those who are unaware, James Wherry is the “resident” Zionist troll on Mint Press. His function is to denigrate the articles here and attack anyone who tells the truth about US Imperialism, Zionism, Judaism or its gods – the Rothschild-Bilderberg Predatory Empire.

        Mr Wherry is a former major in the US Army who was employed in “Civil Affairs”, the organization that involved in “enhanced” techniques to render populations docile and obedient to whatever puppet the Empire placed over them. He has bragged on Mint Press about helping to train the state terrorists of Uganda.

        Mr. Wherry is also what is called a “gay” chickenhawk – older men who prey on young boys.. It’s actually a sub-species of ped0phile who is too cowardly to actually run the risk of attacking children and turns their attention to barely legal young men. In Mr Wherry’s case, he obtained a young Filipino boy through a web site that handles such transactions, brought the boy to the US and “married” him. Presumably, the boy’s birth certificate is authentic (difficult to know in a country like the Philippines, where any official document is available for under $100). At any event, Mr Wherry appears to be a very, very dissipated 50-something and the boy looks like he should be in junior high school.

        I know this because James Wherry trolled me for some months, on this site, until I became sufficiently irritated. He was stupid enough to use his real name and a traceable photo, making it easy to investigate him and do a background check.

        ANY CREATURE THAT WOULD MAKE THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT HAS A VERY DISEASED MIND…………………..

        “”I’m very happy about it,” James Wherry said. “Marriage is the bedrock of our society. I hope that same-sex couples can rejuvenate and revitalize marriage and give it the respect it is due.””

        https://www.facebook.com/james.wherry.39

        http://wrbl.com/2015/06/27/local-reaction-to-scotus-decision/

        http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/news/local/article29462263.html

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtrbvD22CEQ

        Anyone wishing to chat with James Wherry on the subjects of Jew crimes, Jews defrauding of America and war crime involvement by US Army “Civil Affairs” could do so at this address…………….
        JAMES WHERRY
        6300 MILGEN RD, APT 1403
        COLUMBUS, GA 31907
        I’m sure Wherry would also love to show how to buy boy s-x slaves from third world countries and show the one he brought home from the Philippines
        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/36a0758fd596c1f9f6cd979ebdcd762e8f9a8d7220fa3a43bfbbd55abea1a8b0.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cefdc8dc3338e129068563fd5edae746c1fcf6cd02cc2cdede36506c95419198.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/eea013605a259748c46094b9daa7df4e73b4eda1da4b998ebaabe49f96fca7fb.jpg

        • James Wherry

          But America’s military didn’t engage in water-boarding: the CIA did.

          So you endorse Israel and what it has done? Got it. You’re just trying to shill for Syria/Iran because they want to accomplish your “wet dream” of destroying Israel. Your hatred of America and Israel is on full display, today. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cb0512cfa2ffb6e97bea57ec0fe79b3352d596c287c93c8353f3dc8dace81eb8.jpg

          • tapatio

            YOU STUPID “C-WORD” (literally)!! THERE ARE PHOTOS OF CREATURES IN YOUR BELOVED ARMY UNIFORMS ENGAGED IN WHAT IS LEGALLY DEFINED AS TORTURE.

            When I went through ROTC and OCS, they told us ALLLLLLLLLLL about Nuremberg and what would happen to us if we engaged in war crimes of ANY sort. Torture is a F’ing war crime you filthy greasy-bottomed pig.

            PIG EXCREMENT LIKE YOU ATTEMPT TO CREATE THE ILLUSION THAT, IF SOMEONE RESISTING ATTACK BY YOUR SATANIC MASTERS DOES SOMETHING, IT’S “WORSE” THAN WHEN JEWS AND THEIR MINIONS DO THE SAME.

            YOUR STUPIDITY IS MIND-BOGGLING, WHERRY.
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fd8ab42f8d48b5052deeaf934b570ddf371864d54692f749a716f5d2c894845a.jpg

            • James Wherry

              Oh, you’re referring to what 11 idiots did at Abu Ghraib? I found the photos disgusting and condemned them, but unlike THOSE actions, YOUR BELOVED SYRIA commits rape, torture and murder with the FULL BLESSING of the Assad regime.

              And honestly, the photos from Abu Ghraib? Can you even compare that to the rape of little Syrian Sun’ni boys to “keep their families in line?”

              “Syria Has a Massive Rape Crisis: All across the war-torn country, regime soldiers are said to be sexually violating women and men from the opposition, destroying families and, in some cases, taking lives.” Lauren Wolfe – Apr 3, 2013 http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/04/syria-has-a-massive-rape-crisis/274583/

              You SUPPORT that rape because it’s what YOU want to do to little boys, you NAZ! Swine.

              And, of course, “the ends justify the meanness,” and you care NOTHING for the Syrian people – only so long as Assad is useful to you to destroy THE JEWS will you support Assad.

              • tapatio

                Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, other still secret locations and the “rendition” weasel. Washington is a war criminal.

                There is no way for Syria to retake terrorist held areas without killing civilians so long as the mercenaries are using Syrian civilians as human shields. Did your chums at SAR teach them that?

                Rather that using Trumpisms like “said to be” and “I hear”, why not try finding EVIDENCE? Meanwhile, go munch some of Mario’s chickweed.

                • James Wherry

                  The hospitals destroyed by Syria and Russia were not “human shields.” Your attempts to make up lies to “deny, distract and deceive” no longer work.

            • TecumsehUnfaced

              Wherry must be a ma$ochist to keep stretching himself to get gutted again by you.

              • tapatio

                With comments like the one below, Wherry has shown him/itself to be completely delusional. He’s crazier than a cockroach and it’s completely irrelevant except as a weapon to turn on him.

                “”I’m very happy about it,” James Wherry said. “Marriage is the bedrock of our society. I hope that same-sex couples can rejuvenate and revitalize marriage and give it the respect it is due.”
                http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/news/local/article29462263.html

                That is one of the sickest things I have ever read regarding h0m0sxxuality – and we have two gay relatives and several gay friends of both sxxes. Several of these people have read my material on Wherry and ALL have said that he is a predator – NOT a gay.

                The object here is the same as in my 22 months in ‘Nam – destroy the enemy. Only, FOR THE MOMENT, all I have is a keyboard.

            • kreskin

              Facts do not matter to that jackass .

              • James Wherry

                Apparently,they don’t to you, either: since you have offered none.

              • tapatio

                True.

      • Rocky Sundquist

        Reading comprehension must not be your forte. The stories you share have no evidence to back them up, no credible sources, are slavish fluff.

        • James Wherry

          As opposed to “a Syrian religious leader?” LOL.

          Apparently reading comprehension is not your strong suit, either. The reports have numerous citations. Example: Human Rights Watch: “After two days, Bilal said, Military Intelligence transferred him to the Criminal Security branch in Raqqa where they held him for 10 days and tortured him. He said that Musa`b abu Rakbe was the director of this facility. He said they detained him for 28 days in total before releasing him.”