Author: evabartlett2013

“I have worse things to tell you, but I can’t bring myself to talk about them”

Even when I’m not “looking” for stories to share from Syrians, they come to me. Sitting at the sea, a young man a few metres away began talking with me after he saw my Syria wrist-band.  I asked a few general questions, and then he let loose on the hell that is life in Halab (Aleppo) with the foreign terrorists. He did so in the same mournful voice that others I’ve met here and in Syria have had, again without the bitterness and anger you’d expect from people suffering so greatly under this manufactured crisis filled with its unending, ghastly atrocities.

With his okay, I recorded our conversation (it’s in Arabic, so will take a bit for me to type out or post the audio), and as with others I’ve met here he said “but no photos, my family is still in Halab, the terrorists would kill them.”

He also said what virtually every other Syrian I’ve met has said: “You should have seen Syria before, it was the most beautiful place, the safest place.”

As we parted, he told me “I needed to tell you these things; I’ve been carrying them around inside me. I have worse things to tell you, but I can’t bring myself to talk about them.”

[I find many parallels between the suffering of Palestinians and of Syrians…(and surely other oppressed/invaded/colonized…but I’m speaking from my own experiences) In both cases, the corporate media distorts the reality and blames the victims. In both cases the people are amazingly gracious and loving. In both cases, they are suffering untold horrors and, in general, keep it to themselves, never get a chance to speak of their sorrows. And in both cases, they have spoken openly and honestly to me, when they see I am willing to listen, because they need to speak of their suffering and they wish that the outside world understood the truth.]
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“They want to start a religious war; we want to extinguish it” – Mufti of Syria

 

Sheik Ahmed Hassoun, Syria's Grand Mufti, preaches reconciliation and interfaith peace.

Sheik Ahmed Hassoun, Syria’s Grand Mufti, preaches reconciliation and interfaith peace.

 

June 1, 2014, Eva Bartlett, Crescent International, Rabble.ca

Most news accounts of Syria paint a desolate, sectarian country where people in areas secured by the Syrian army are miserable and where people, above all, want to see Bashar al-Assad gone. In all regards I found the opposite. In particular, I found wide-spread, and usually ardent, support for the President.

I entered Syria as part of an international Peace Delegation, comprising over 40 people who believe in a political, Syrian-led solution for Syria. In the course of week, we visited Latakia, Homs, and areas of Damascus, sat with the top religious leaders and numerous grassroots leaders. We heard testimonies from survivors of massacres—Haram, Kasab, Maaloula—and met with various internally-displaced from Yarmouk.

After the week had passed, I stayed on independently, moving freely on my own throughout Damascus, engaging with various stratum of Damascus life.

The streets of the three cities I saw were far busier and more alive than I had expected possible and, aside from the mortars fired daily by armed insurgents on Damascus and environs, I felt safe and welcomed. All over, I saw groups of mixed faiths comfortably chatting, sharing meals and shisha, and proudly answering “I am Syrian” to my taboo question “are you Muslim, Druze, Christian…?”

Damascus, unsurprisingly, has upscale shops and historic markets, but also news stands with papers found in any North American city, including those which have propagandized so heavily against Syria’s government and for the need for western intervention.

Yarmouk has now, strangely, all but disappeared from mainstream reporting. Is it because the story is old, or because the actions of these armed insurgents controlling vast areas of Yarmouk have been so documented that it is difficult to any longer purvey the standard line: that the government is assaulting its own people?

Still suffering under the presence of largely foreign militants, with a heavy presence of al-Nusra, Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (ISIS), and other al-Qaeda affiliated groups there since December 2012, numerous attempts at cease-fires have been foiled. The Palestinians and Syrians (yes, there are Syrians in Yarmouk) continue needing food, medicine, hospitals, and the exit of the armed groups.

At the edge of the camp, where Yarmouk and Palestine streets converge, I could see a portion of the massive damage: shells of cars, houses and a hospital with walls studded with machine gunning and mortars. But venturing beyond the concrete barriers would have been inviting sniper bullets to the head. “For two kilometres in that direction, it’s completely open. If you walk another five meters, you’ll be in the snipers’ scope,” security told me, himself not going any farther. CONTINUE READING

Homs: April car bombing testimonies and tomorrow’s Syria election

-by Eva Bartlett

The footage was taken in mid-April but I’ve only just got around to deciphering and translating the Arabic (my apologies for the very rough translation, but I don’t think I’m too far off the mark). It’s important that these people’s voices are heard, because the terrorism they in Homs were facing (and still are, randomly now and then) is being felt in other areas of Syria, particularly in the lead-up to the elections. [apologies for the poor video quality, but in order to upload period I had to make the video smallest size possible]

In the days leading up to Syria’s Presidential elections, the various armed, foreign-backed and foreign-infested “freedom-bringers” are amplifying their terrorist attacks against Syrian civilians all over Syria. Aleppo has been particularly hard-hit the past few days [as well as the past few weeks, with the terrorists cutting off the water supply and more recently Turkey cutting of the flow of the Euphrates].

Press TV reported today:

At least 27 people have been killed in a shelling carried out by foreign-backed militants in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.

Some 80 more people were also injured on Monday after the militants fired more than 50 shells into al-Jamiliyah, al-Meridian and Sa’adallah al-Jabiri neighborhoods in Aleppo.

The recent attacks brought to 50 the number of the people who have been killed in Aleppo over the past three days. On Saturday, 20 people were killed after militants fired 40 mortar shells on several neighborhoods of the flashpoint city.

Also today Press TV re-published a video of ISIL point-blank shooting a teen through the back of his head: CONTINUE READING

Syrians Flock to Vote in Lebanon

   

Tens of thousands of Syrians flocked to the Syrian embassy in Beirut on May 28. Voting was extended to a second day due to the large numbers. Credit Eva Bartlett/IPS

Tens of thousands of Syrians flocked to the Syrian embassy in Beirut on May 28. Voting was extended to a second day due to the large numbers. Credit Eva Bartlett/IPS

By Eva Bartlett

**first published at IPS; blog version slightly longer

BEIRUT, May 30 (IPS) – Roughly three kilometres north of Beirut’s Syrian embassy in Baabda, Syrians crammed in one of an endless stream of buses, exited and continued on foot. The masses opted to walk the remaining few kilometres rather than sit in a traffic jam generated by the tens of thousands flocking to vote.

Clogging the main street leading to the embassy, vehicles of all sorts – many decked out with posters of President Bashar al-Assad and Syrian flags – sat waiting to inch forward. Those on foot moved faster than the halted traffic, and the many long-haul truck drivers gave up, rigs pulled off to the side, resigned to wait until the crowds thinned out, a wait that lasted well into the night.

Syrians in Lebanon were on their way to cast votes at their embassy in Syria’s presidential elections. Although Syrians in Syria will vote on June 3, those overseas were called to vote this week. Due to the heavy flow, the embassy in Beirut had to extend voting to a second day.

Lebanon has over 1 million registered Syrian refugees, many more unregistered and others who have been working in Lebanon for years.

The Lebanese army was present, soldiers checking each person who neared the embassy, a helicopter circling above. “Bless the army, they are protecting us, protecting the elections,” said Hassan, a Syrian from Raqqa, eastern Syria, an area where foreign insurgents are killing Syrian civilians for not being Muslim enough, even crucifying them. Syrians of all faiths reject this external sectarianism, from Saudi sheikhs’ fatwas, and the funding of many of the armed insurgents in Syria.

“We want to elect President Bashar al-Assad. There’s no one like him, nor will there be. The terrorists believe everyone else is an infidel. They’ll kill me, they’ll you, they’ll kill anyone who isn’t with them.”

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the upcoming elections are important. here’s why

Terrifying: A man believed to have been crucified by fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa

Terrifying: A man believed to have been crucified by fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa

 

The Syrian army is not only defending the country and the Syrian people, but fighting against terrorism, imported sectarianism, and for the rights of Syrians to live as they did before this concocted crisis began: in safety. Even now, as the elections near and rallies in support of the elections and President Assad are occurring all over Syria, the terrorist-“rebels” are shelling the rallies, killing people who are genuinely supporting democratic efforts (vs the propagandized “democracy-bringing ‘rebels'”).

May 26, 2014, Daily Mail:

British jihadists make up the largest foreign contingent of one of the most violent terrorist groups in Syria, now infamous for beheading, crucifying and stoning to death enemies.

Syrian rebel commander Brigadier-General Abdulellah al-Basheer has urged the UK to send weapons to help fight Sunni Islamist group The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Almost two out of three of ISIS’ fighters are foreign-born and have chosen to join a group bent on creating an Islamic state in the war-torn country and Iraq.

The group is so extreme that it has even been denounced by Al Qaeda.

Lilly Martin, living in Latakia, Syria the past 20+ years, wrote:

Some media have dropped the term civil war, and instead use the term ‘sectarian war’. They try to incorrectly compare the Sunni-Shia divisions we have seen in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq to Syria. Syria is not a Sunni-Shia clash. Syria is 18 different sects. The terrorists in Syria have burnt as many Sunni mosques as churches. The terrorists in Syria have burnt as many Korans as Bibles. It is true that the only sect that had a militia was the Sunni sect, that of the Free Syrian Army, but the men fighting the FSA daily were not exclusively Shites, and were not in a militia; they were Sunni members of the Syrian Arab Army, as well as their fellow soldiers from all 18 sects. The Syrian Arab Army has never been an Alowi army, and has never represented one of the 18 sects exclusively.

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