Syria–my writings

A Syrian Leader Tells His Country’s Story: An Interview with SAA General Hassan Hassan

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Eva Bartlett sits down for an exclusive interview with the head of the Syrian Arab Army’s Political Administration, General Hassan Hassan.

August 5, 2019, Mint Press News

For years, international headlines spotlighting Syria have claimed that the Syrian government, army, and its allies were guilty of a variety of atrocities. Yet as time has passed, many of the accusations levied at government and its allies have been shown to have been either falsified, staged (as in the case of allegations of chemical attacks in eastern Ghouta), or actually committed by the myriad terrorist groups operating in the country.

For their part, Syrian leadership has maintained from the start that the demonstrations in their country were not peaceful, from 2011 and on. Media in the West and the Gulf vilified Syria’s leadership, featuring story after story of government-imposed violence while ignoring or whitewashing the violence of the burgeoning armed groups flooding into Syria.

From as early as 2011, armed groups were throwing civilians from rooftops and committing beheadings, kidnappings, and massacres. The year 2011 alone saw multiple massacres of civilians and security forces committed by what the media called “unarmed protesters” and later by the “Free Syrian Army.” This was the same year that many in the media were insisting that a “peaceful revolution” was underway.

Since that time, those same armed groups, as well as the many iterations they spawned, have starved, tortured, imprisoned, murdered, maimed and even harvested the organs of Syrian civilians, in addition to killing Syrian and allied soldiers and journalists and destroying much of the country’s infrastructure.

To give a voice to the often ignored “other side” — those Syrians that have been working to defend their country since 2011 —  Eva Bartlett interviewed the Syrian Arab Army’s Head of Political Administration, General Hassan Hassan. General Hassan’s shelves and large wooden desk are covered with stacks of books, family photos, and various homages to the country he serves — the general holds a Ph.D. in geopolitical studies. The following is a transcript of Bartlett’s interview with Hassan following the 74th anniversary of the founding of the Syrian Arab Army.

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Voices from Syria’s Rukban Refugee Camp Belie Corporate Media Reporting

An elderly women evacuated from Rukban complained of hunger due to extremely high food prices. Photo | Eva Bartlett

Eva Bartlett visited refugees in Syria escaping the horrid conditions in the Rukban Refugee Camp, a desolate outpost in the US administered deconfliction zone. What she found was very different than the ‘reality’ depicted by the Western press.

July 4, 2019, Mint Press News

-by Eva Bartlett

AD-DUMAYR, SYRIA — A little over a year ago — just after the Syrian army and its allies liberated the towns and villages around eastern Ghouta from the myriad armed jihadist groups that had waged a brutal campaign of torture and executions in the area — I interviewed a number the civilians that had endured life under jihadist rule in Douma, Kafr Batna and the Horjilleh Center for Displaced People just south of Damascus.

A common theme emerged from the testimonies of those civilians: starvation as a result of jihadist control over aid and food supplies, and the public execution of civilians.

Their testimonies echoed those of civilians in other areas of Syria formerly occupied by armed anti-government groups, from Madaya and al-Waer to eastern Aleppo and elsewhere.

Despite those testimonies and the reality on the ground, Western politicians and media alike have placed the blame for the starvation and suffering of Syrian civilians squarely on the shoulders of Russia and Syria, ignoring the culpability of terrorist groups.

In reality, terrorist groups operating within areas of Syria that they occupy have had full control over food and aid, and ample documentation shows that they have hoarded food and medicines for themselves. Even under better circumstances, terrorist groups charged hungry civilians grotesquely inflated prices for basic foods, sometimes demanding up to 8,000 Syrian pounds (US $16) for a kilogram of salt, and 3,000 pounds (US $6) for a bag of bread.

Given the Western press’ obsessive coverage of the starvation and lack of medical care endured by Syrian civilians, its silence has been deafening in the case of Rukban — a desolate refugee camp in Syria’s southeast where conditions are appalling to such an extent that civilians have been dying as a result. Coverage has been scant of the successful evacuations of nearly 15,000 of the 40,000 to 60,000 now-former residents of Rukban (numbers vary according to source) to safe havens where they are provided food, shelter and medical care.

Silence about the civilian evacuations from Rukban is likely a result of the fact that those doing the rescuing are the governments of Syria and Russia — and the fact that they have been doing so in the face of increasing levels of opposition from the U.S. government. CONTINUE READING

Liberate Syria’s Idlib, precisely for the civilians that America fakes concern over

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Um Ahmad, an Idlib civilian tormented by terrorism. © Eva Bartlett

May 25, 2019, RT.com

-Eva Bartlett

Western media and politicians are crying for Al-Qaeda in Syria again. It doesn’t get much more absurd than this!

After years of brutal occupation by terrorists from various groups and now overwhelmingly Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (aka Al-Nusra, aka Al-Qaeda in Syria), Idlib governorate will eventually, by political or military means, be liberated. For now, military operations to liberate nearby northern Hama and southern Idlib villages are already under way.

Idlib, occupied by at least 70,000 terrorists, is the last remaining stronghold of Al-Qaeda in Syria – a fact emphasized by the US’ own former special envoy, Brett McGurk, who deemed the northwestern Syrian province the “largest Al-Qaeda safe-haven since 9/11.

Yet, corporate media continue to deliberately overlook the presence of Al-Qaeda, instead writing of an Idlib that somehow, in the world of the Guardian, for example, is Al-Qaeda-free.

The liberation of Idlib, and also Hama, Latakia and Aleppo countrysides, will mean not only an end to terrorists’ incessant bombing of civilians, but also an end to the savage rule of terrorists – rule which in every prior instance around Syria has meant imprisonment, torture, and public executions of civilians by sword or point-blank assassination, starvation, rape of women, and even organ theft.

READ MORE: Organ theft, staged attacks: UN panel details White Helmets’ criminal activities, media yawns

Last September, Syria and allies implemented a demilitarized zone and ceasefire around terrorist-occupied areas of Idlib and northern Hama.

Al-Qaeda in Syria unsurprisingly rejected any sort of truce, and continued pounding the civilians of Mhardeh and al-Suqaylabiyah in Hama, and elsewhere within striking range.

Recent terrorist attacks reportedly include shelling on: Al-Suqaylabiyah (killing five civilians, followed by another attack leading to a further death),Masyaf National Hospital (killing 5), and Aleppo (including a May 14 attack which killed eleven civilians, and an April 14 attack which killed 12).

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Organ theft, staged attacks: UN panel details White Helmets’ criminal activities, media yawns

December 25, 2018, RT.com

Utter silence. That is the sound of Western corporate media days after a more than one-hour-long panel on the White Helmets at the United Nations on December 20.

Journalists were present, so the silence isn’t due to lack of access. And in any case it was live streamed on the UNTV channel, and remains available on Youtube for keen observers to watch.

More likely, the silence is due to the irrefutable documentation presented on the faux-rescue group’s involvement in criminal activities, which include organ theft, working with terrorists — including as snipers — staging fake rescues, thieving from civilians, and other non-rescuer behaviour.

On the panel was one of corporate media’s favourite targets to smear, British journalist Vanessa Beeley, who gave a fact-based lecture on her years of research into the founding, funding and nefarious activities of the White Helmets, research which includes numerous visits to White Helmets centers, countless testimonies from Syrian civilians, and even an interview with a White Helmets leader in Dara’a al-Balad, Syria.

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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

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

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

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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