The Syrian people are suffering under the ‘moderate rebels’ and ‘opposition forces’ backed by the US, NATO member states and their allies in the Gulf states and Israel. Yet their suffering is largely ignored in the mainstream media unless it furthers the agenda dictated by the State Department.
This article is the first in a two-part series of one Western journalist’s journey to Aleppo, a city ravaged by an insurgency supported by the United States, NATO member states, and their allies in the Gulf states and Israel. In Part I, Vanessa Beeley lays out the mainstream narrative on Syria, revealing a neoconservative agenda promoted by NATO-funded NGOs. These NGOs paint the destruction of the historic city as being caused by the Syrian government under Bashar Assad, not the violent armed insurgents which receive arms, funding and training from Western governments and their allies.
Aleppo has become synonymous with destruction and “Syrian state-generated” violence among those whose perception of the situation in the war-torn nation is contained within the prism of mainstream media narratives.
The NATO-aligned media maintains a tight grip on information coming out of this beleaguered city, ensuring that whatever comes out is tailored to meet State Department requirements and advocacy for regime change. The propaganda mill churns out familiar tales of chemical weapons, siege, starvation and bombs targeting civilians–all of which are attributed to the Syrian government and military, with little variation on this theme.
The purpose of this photo essay and my journey to Aleppo on Aug. 14 was to discover for myself as a Western journalist the truth behind the major storylines in the U.S. and NATO narrative on Syria.
The weaponization of children
Amid the terrorist attacks and the daily massacres of Syrian civilians by Western-backed “moderate rebels,” the children maimed and mutilated by these attacks are almost invisible to the mainstream media. The mainstream media does, however, showcase stories like that of Omran Daqneesh–stories which serve and propel the NATO narrative despite the dubious sources from which they emanate.
If the Western media is truly concerned about the children affected by war, where was the outrage in July, when Harakat al-Nour al-Zenki, a U.S.-backed terrorist group, beheaded a 12-year-old Palestinian boy named Abdullah Issa?
Why did the State Department find it so difficult to unequivocally condemn this hideous crime against one innocent child, and yet another was immediately described by that same State Department as “the real face of what is going on in Syria?”
The Guardian reported quoted State Department spokesman John Kirby as saying:
“That little boy has never had a day in his life where there hasn’t been war, death, destruction, poverty in his own country.”
According to the Guardian, Kirby further “suggested Omran’s case should spur efforts to secure a broad cessation of hostilities.” No need for an investigation prior to catapulting this image into the realms of propaganda designed to tug at the heartstrings.
Abdullah’s brutal decapitation did not provoke calls for the cessation of hostilities from Harakat al-Nour al-Zenki or a commitment from the State Department to stop arming and supporting his “moderate” murderers.
Video of Abdullah’s brutal beheading gave the U.S. “pause about any assistance” to his murderers; video of Omran, bloody and covered in dust, elicited a range of calls to arms, including a no-fly zone, military intervention, increased restrictions on humanitarian aid, and reinforced sanctions.
It’s important to understand where the story of Omran Daqneesh started. It was broken by the aforementioned Aleppo Media Center and “photojournalist” Mahmoud Raslan (sometimes spelled Rslan), who has been identified as the militant in the following photo, taken with the Harakat al-Nour al-Zenki members who executed Abdullah Issa.
The story of Omran Daqneesh was produced by two highly questionable sources–and, in the case of Raslan, possibly criminal–yet it was deemed credible and worthy of mass promotion by Western media.
In an Aug. 31 opinion piece for teleSUR, Tim Anderson, an Australian academic and writer, highlighted the difference in the media’s treatment of Omran and Abdullah:
“The images of little Omran, put out by jihadist support groups, gained widespread attention from the western media, which has backed the sectarian gangs through more than five years of brutal terrorist war. On the other hand, video of the murder of little Abdallah was largely ignored, or scorned with claims that the boy was really 18 years old, or a spy for the pro-Syria Palestinian militia Liwa al-Quds.”
What is perhaps most disturbing about the comparison between these two stories, is the cynical abuse and weaponization of children that is being supported by the NATO-aligned media machine. This is a calculated use of one child as a psychological instrument to promote and legitimize war, while the torture and cold-blooded execution of another is marginalized to protect the U.S. agents who perpetuate that war.