For immediate release
“A joint investigation by BBC Panorama and BBC Arabic claimed to show how chemical weapons have been used by the Syrian Government as part of a deliberate military strategy. Yet there are serious concerns over the investigation’s reliance on ‘broadly impartial’ sources — who are not named — and consequently the reliability of the report’s findings. 

Treka Zn (and Eva) Goes on a trip to Wadi Qandil Beach in Lattakia Syria 2018

I was prioritizing publishing articles but also want to share this: in late September, while waiting for meetings and interviews to pan out, I took a trip to a beautiful and simple coast in Lattakia with my good friend Treka Zn, a Syrian comedian [see our conversation: Syrian Comedian Treka on Developments in Syria]. A video Treka and I collaborated on, lots of fun!

In spite this being my 9th trip to Syria (including many extended visits), I hadn’t yet done any sort of tourism! So, it was actually a great chance for the both of us to discover more of Syria, although he hails from Syria.

Overview of past month in Syria

Back home two nights ago after a series of flights and bus rides. Before I got on the last bus (on which I kept falling asleep as it was 4 am in Lebanon/Syria and my internal clock is still tuned into that time), an employee of the bus company asked if I was ‘that reporter who goes to Syria’, and when I replied with my name, he made a gesture of respect (hand on head) and thanked me. Turns out he is a Palestinian from Nazareth originally, living in Canada, and follows my efforts for Palestine and Syria, and had been trying to get in touch with me somehow.

I’ve commented before and will say it again: it’s encounters like these that make efforts worthwhile, and I’ve happily had many such encounters over the years, including two days ago while in Beirut airport. CONTINUE READING

In memory of Ursula Baher, a beautiful soul and defender of humanity

Ursula Baher, who on Facebook went by the pseudonym “Manuela Hochsteadt“, passed away today, finally freed of the terminal cancer which she had valiantly defied, fighting to stay alive and realize her dream: to come to Syria.
This dream was realized recently–thanks to Syrian individuals and those in the Syrian government who facilitated her visit and arranged for her artwork to be shown in a gallery.
Ursula was a heroic and courageous woman, whose love for Syria and Syrians transferred to her amazing paintings, art which depicted the horrors of this horrific war on Syria and Syria’s people and its defenders. She painted the unbearable scenes, but also the beautiful, uplifting, and noble. She painted the hypocrisy that are international platforms, corrupted and contributing directly to the war on Syria, and Syria’s noble representatives rising above such loathsome hypocrisy.
She painted, too, the beauty of life.
Her work touched so many lives. Please read her blog, where her activism and love for Syria is well-documented.
I’m so grateful to have briefly met her, spending an hour with her and her husband, Marcel Berlina, in the old city of Damascus. Her courage and strength in the face of a terminal illness was humbling. Her spirit was inspiring. And she was simply a beautiful person.
Marcel told me of Ursula’s incredible bravery in the face of her terminal illness.
They had gone to the hospital in August, and the doctor told her that she had a week to live, her liver had stopped producing bile. He had told her her options limited to a surgery that wouldn’t work, or faith in God.
The same day she got news about her Syria visa and they began preparations to come to Syria. She outlived her doctor’s prognosis by over one month. “I chose to have faith in Syria,” she said.
Her suffering on earth is over, although she leaves behind many, many people around the world who are sad at the news of her passing.
Deepest condolences to Marcel and their children. Your Ursula is beloved.
She will be hugely missed. May her soul rest in peace.
Some of her incredible art work on Syria, its people and defenders–the Syrian Arab Army and Syrian political figures–can be seen on her Facebook page.
Syrian media, SANA, wrote of her exhibition:
“Yesterday, Baher opened her exhibition under the title “Rising from the Ashes” at Dar al-Assad for Culture and Arts, making her last wish to showcase her artworks in the heart of Damascus a dream come true.
In a press statement after opening her exhibition, Baher sent a message to the Syrian people in which she expressed her love to all Syrians and her confidence that they have achieved victory because they are right.
“My current health condition is critical, and if I die here, I want to be buried in Syria, the land of martyrs,” said Baher.”
Of her funeral, Ursula’s husband Marcel wrote:
“Time and location of Ursula’s funeral is given below. Instead of buying flowers to the funeral I want to ask you to make a donation of your choice for a good cause, eg a foundation to support the families of the martyrs of the Syrian Arab Army, the foundation to help people fight cancer run by Asma al-Assad or just any other effort to help the poor and needy.”
Her passing has been met with immense sorrow and love. Below are some relevant links.

Ursula, Manuela Hochsteadt, our honorable guest, the angel who shared us our sorrows, and brought love with her to Syria have passed away after her dreams to visit Syria came true, and after she gave us one of the most precious gifts, her colorful soul painted in her drawings ❤️

I am lost for words dear Ursula.
Your soul is now in our sky, we can smell the jasmine in the air, please tell our beloved martyrs we said Hi, we miss them, and we thank them, and we will always miss you, you are now one of them, you are one of our beloved martyrs.

Dear Ursula, please tell the real God up there everything, that people are killing and being in his name! Tell him about all the faces you painted, paint them for him again, you will be able to ask them for more details if you want!

May your soul rest in peace ❤️🙏😢🇸🇾

#Yesterday I attended the opinion of her exhibition and I wrote:

I was attending the opening of Exhibition for Peace in Syria by the German artist “#Ursula“, Manuela Hochsteadt, at the Opera House in Damascus.
I was their, actually I was waiting for it since the moment I heard she was coming to Syria…

Finding about someone far away from you but being with you in his soul and heart was beyond magical…

Ursula was with us for years before we even knew about her, and today, looking at the amount of love and beauty in her artwork was a blessing, I was able to identify many of the faces and the scenes Ursula beautifully recreated with her super amazing talent, tears filled my eyes and… no, I didn’t cry… almost…

I didn’t take any photos, just lived the moment, I will never forget this day.

But I found those photos on Facebook and found myself in one of them (the first one), it was taken from behind my back, but at that moment I wouldn’t have noticed anything.

Thank you very much Ursula for your passion and love,it means a lot to all of us, may the lord give you strength and magically cure you, you are an angel.”



Faked concern: Haley & corporate media bleating about Idlib civilians, ignore terrorists’ presence


Partisangirl’s tweet here

-By Eva Bartlett

October 8, 2018, RT.com
*Blog post longer than original
Nikki Haley, the hypocritical US Ambassador to the UN, mistakenly thinks she can dictate – from New York City, far from the terrorists which her country supports – that the Syrian army cannot fight and eradicate al-Qaeda in Idlib.

Her, and other American figures’ words, come with faked concern over the lives of Syrian civilians.

This is particularly ironic given that the US-led coalition, illegally in Syria, destroyed the Syrian city of Raqqa and killed untold numbers of civilians along the way, in their fake fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) – a pretext which has only time and again strengthened IS in Syria. Raqqa remains uninhabitable, and even today corpses are still being unearthed.

Haley and the Western corporate media have been bleating in chorus about Idlib and the civilians there, deliberately ignoring the presence of Al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorists occupying the governorate and surrounding areas in Aleppo and Hama governorates.

They ignore, too, the reality of life in areas which were once occupied by these terrorists: the torture, imprisonment, maiming, assassination, and starvation endured by the civilian population at the hands of these extremists and paid mercenaries.

Liberate Idlib and Syria: The Martyred of Mhardeh Speak Through the Ones They’ve Left Behind


Mhardeh’s Shadi Shehda, whose three young children, wife and mother were killed by a terrorist missile attack, asks for people to stand with Syrians in their fight against terrorism and for peace.

Mhardeh is a Christian town of 23,000 people. It is also on the front line of confrontation against the Idlib terrorists who have attacked the town and its people for seven years.

October 4, 2018, Mint Press News

-by Eva Bartlett

MHARDEH, SYRIA — (War Report) On September 7, Mhardeh, a small Christian town in northern Hama, was targeted with nine Grad missiles — six of which were fitted with internationally-prohibited cluster sub-munitions — by al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists roughly four kilometers away from the town center, occupying the northern Hama countryside areas of Ltamenah and surroundings.

Four days later, I went to Mhardeh and took the testimony of a man who lost everything to the terrorist attack: his wife, three young children, and mother were all killed in the initial bombardment.

By September 19, a total of 13 civilians had died as a result of the September 7 terrorist attack, including four who had sustained critical injuries. One of those four was a 15-year-old boy who had received shrapnel to his brain, as reported by Vanessa Beeley, who had visited the then-critically injured teen in hospital on September 9.

Damascus Trade Fair and Festival of the Cross Mark the Return of Peace to Much of Syria


A Maaloula fire spinner during the annual September Festival of the Holy Cross in Maaloula, Syria. Eva Bartlett | In Gaza

Eva Bartlett attends the Damascus International Trade fair and the annual Maaloula Festival of the Cross to see how Syrians in areas liberated from jihadi rule are defiantly celebrating their new found freedoms.

September 24, 2018, Mint Press News

DAMASCUS and MAALOULA, SYRIA — (Report) In April 2018 I returned to Syria, visiting recently-liberated areas in eastern Ghouta and also travelling to the southern village of Hadar — which at the time was under continual bombardment by terrorists just to the south, with the assistance of Israel and its observation towers over the region.

My focus last April and May was highlighting this media-neglected issue, but also going to the site of the concocted and yet-unproven allegations of a chemical weapons attack. Indeed, as I wrote, no one at the hospital in question, nor the people of Douma I spoke with on the street, believed a chemical attack had occurred. Instead, they were more concerned with detailing the horrors and starvation they had lived under the rule of Jaysh al-Islam and other terrorist factions.

So, the focus of my last visit to Syria, which has been warred upon for the last seven years, was in highlighting the crimes of the terrorist factions against civilians, but also the crimes of the Western and regional nations promoting war propaganda and baseless accusations against Syria and its allies.

In early September, I returned to Syria for more uplifting reasons: to attend two important annual events that in recent years were interrupted due to terrorism: The annual Damascus International Trade Fair and Maaloula’s annual Holy Cross Festival. CONTINUE READING