Lilly Martin Sahiounie, Latakia, Syria
Americans are fooled into thinking they are hearing both sides of the story
Very recently, National Public Radio (NPR) conducted an interview throwing suspicion on and mocking Asma, the wife of the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian First Lady had recently done a Syrian TV interview announcing that she was cancer-free after having had breast cancer and chemotherapy. During her treatment, she had lost all of her hair and was seen in various headscarves during the process, while she continued to work in her capacity supporting Syria Trust for Development, the main NGO in Syria which does charitable work.
Despite knowing that people who go through chemotherapy will lose their hair, the female NPR journalist openly mocked her “chic blonde pixie cut”. That was not a hairstyle or cut: that was the very short out-growth of new hair after being struck bald while fighting for her life.
NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro interviewed Lama Fakih, who is the deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch. Lama does not live in Syria and has not been experiencing firsthand what Syrians have suffered throughout this conflict. She was giving her political opinions from the safety and luxury of Beirut, Lebanon. She does not speak on behalf of all Syrians, but she represents the political views which support the armed opposition in Syria, which is now devolved into one group alone, and that is Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), also known as Jibhat al Nusra, who is the Al Qaeda branch in Syria. Lama Fakih is equating a Radical Islamic terrorist group, directly linked to Al Qaeda, with ‘rebels’. She is inferring that a blood-thirsty group who has beheaded victims, raped women and killed unarmed civilians daily for years, is a freedom-loving band of merry-men striving for democracy. If you simply use any search engine, of news articles, written by western mainstream media and think-tanks, you will see that the group identified as in the occupation of Idlib, and fighting the Syrian government today, is only HTS. There are no armed ‘rebels’ in Syria today, after the Free Syrian Army were over-ran by Jihadist groups years ago, and are now defunct.
The article states, “Syrians have not been able to benefit from medical care in Syria since the beginning of the uprising in 2012.” This is factually untrue. The Syrian system of national hospitals, free services to the public, are in every area in Syria, and have run continuously throughout the war, and are still open and serving patients across Syria today. In many incidents, national and private hospitals have been damaged or destroyed. The destruction of some hospitals in Syria has come from both sides of the conflict, and the terrorists have attacked, targeted and destroyed hospitals which are well documented in news articles from western media sources. To portray the destruction of hospitals as one-sided is very serious political propaganda. The World Health Organization (WHO) in Damascus works in close cooperation with the Syrian Ministry of Health, who administers the national hospitals.
Syrians across Syria have had access to medical care from 2011 to the present. However, as some areas fell into the hands of terrorists, the funding and supplies from the Syrian government were not able to be delivered to the hospital. In some cases, western charities supporting the armed fighters were able to deliver supplies, and even provide doctors. Syrians living in terrorist-held areas were suffering from the lack of services on many levels, including medical and education. They suffered from the lack of security services, as they were living in areas which were a battle zone, and civilians were left open to attack because of the armed groups. Civilians have been attacked and killed when they have attempted to flee the terrorist areas to a safe area in Syrian government control.
The article states: “the Assad government has been systematically targeting medical facilities and medical personnel”. Idlib is a very small agricultural area. It is known for olives and olive oil. It is an area of rolling hills, scattered farmhouses, and two big towns: Idlib and Jisr al-Sughur. It had a population of about 2 million before the conflict, and most of the original inhabitants fled when Jibhat al Nusra and ISIS began their brutal occupation and subjugation of the civilians. However, as reconciliation deals played out, many terrorists and their wives and children arrived in Idlib as new settlers, who then took over houses and properties left behind by the original owners. Idlib, before the conflict, had one public hospital offering free medical from the central government and had four small private hospitals. However, we read reports in the western media that “at least 25 hospitals and clinics have been destroyed or damaged by airstrikes just since the end of April this year.” The numbers do not add up.
Targeting medical facilities is sensational. It brings out tears and outrage by caring people worldwide. The opposition media, political activists and human rights activists supporting the terrorists all know how to carefully craft news releases, statements and reports claiming that the Syrian government, and their allies, have been targeting hospitals in occupied areas. This is a political propaganda tool and is not based on facts on the ground.
A field hospital is a house, school, office or mosque which has been confiscated for the re-purposing as a medical care site. Sometimes they are underground. During air strikes on known terrorist positions, anything could be hit, even a secret unmarked, and unknown make-shift room with bandages and basic supplies. The Syrian military uses a network of spies inside Idlib to feed them exact information of terrorists, their meetings, and their weapons warehouses. News reports, based on the terrorists’ videos and statements after they have caught and executed numerous men for leaking information to the Syrian military, reveal that the airstrikes on Idlib are based on actual information from on-the-ground sources. It is accurate to say that not all airstrikes hit the intended target, and innocent civilians may suffer in a war-zone like Idlib.
The article states: “….effort to stamp out any opposition or dissent in the country.” This is factually untrue. There are individuals, groups and parties who stand in opposition to the Syrian government who are inside Syria and allowed to operate; however, they reject armed terrorism. Western nations such as the U.S. and the UK would never allow an armed opposition militia, or militias, to attack civilians, or the government for a political agenda. Armed groups who attack civilians for ‘regime change’ are terrorists, and could never be termed as ‘rebels’.
While the Syrian government medical system has tried to meet all the needs of Syrian civilians during 8 years of armed conflict, still there are numerous cases where the needs were not met, and Syrians have suffered, and that blame must be shouldered by every person who held a gun against Syria, and their foreign supporters, who have succeeded in bringing the Syrian people into the depths of destruction and despair. Finally, this responsibility must be faced by western citizens, who are voting in democracies, who supported Radical Islamic terrorists for ‘regime change’ in Syria. They must accept the blame of never standing up to their governments and demanding a stop to their support and arming of Radical Islam.