The information battle on the E. Ghouta front is turning into Aleppo 2.0, with Western media, often relying on dubious sources, describing – in unison – the Syrian regime atrocities while nearly glorifying terrorists’ resistance.
Over the last few days, the mainstream media has simultaneously turned their attention to the ongoing military operation in eastern Ghouta, a militant-controlled suburb of Damascus, which is seeing a new wave of clashes between Syrian government forces and Islamist factions.
While the army aims to clear the area of such terrorist units as Jaysh al-Islam, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as Al-Nusra Front), Ahrar al-Sham, and Failaq al-Rahman, the Western media, often relying on militant-embedded sources, continues to paint an ominous picture, in which the government troops are deliberately slaughtering civilians.
“A naive viewer might imagine that Assad was just bombing civilians for the hell of it because the jihadi fighters are totally absent from the picture. And the pictures are literally provided by the jihadists themselves,” Peter Ford, former UK ambassador to Syria and Bahrain, told RT, referring to the controversial White Helmets, who have long been hailed by the mainstream western media as heroes. However, the UK-backed NGO has been plagued by allegations of having close ties with terrorist groups.
Before the Syrian government forces intensified operations against jihadist factions in the area, Russia had been trying to broker a deal with armed groups to stop using civilians as human shields and surrender their weapons. Moscow has also been working to allow humanitarian aid in.
A piece published by The New York Times on Tuesday uses the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a one-man “war monitor” based in the UK, as its source for the death toll. The article is verbose in its descriptions of “heart-rending images” from the scene, where Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government had “loosed a devastating bombardment” against civilians that “have no other choice except resisting until the last moment.” Little to no attention is being paid to the militant forces holed up in eastern Ghouta and their links to internationally-recognized terrorists like Al-Nusra.
The Guardian all-out accused Assad of war crimes and genocide, comparing what’s going on in eastern Ghouta to the 1995 Srebrenica massacre – where 8,000 people were killed and up to 30,000 people displaced and abused.
Russia is being attacked for being an ally of Damascus, as well as for failing to enforce peace in eastern Ghouta – an area established as one of the de-escalation zones that Moscow took it upon itself to maintain, together with Turkey and Iran. The Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria, meanwhile, has offered militants a chance to retreat, which they rejected, preferring to stay entrenched and launch provocative attacks while hiding behind civilian human shields.