Walking with a friend, Lulwa, through what was a khan (inn) in the past, now an area for traditional and new crafts. She makes the apt point: were Damascus under the rule of what the west called “rebels”, al-Qaeda and co-terrorists, none of this would be possible.
This is the Syrian culture that existed prior to the war on Syria, and the culture that continues to exist, in spite of everything the West and Gulf/Israeli/Turkish allies have done to destroy Syria.
While walking in old Damascus yesterday, a boy wanted to practise his English with me. He was so charming I asked if I could film he and his friends.
His words, and his friend’s song burst, were spontaneous.
Something for viewers to keep in mind: these kids, age 12, lived under terrorist mortars for years. Precisely this area of Damascus, where we met, was heavily targeted over the years. Yet, look at the love and hope they retain!
Some of my articles on the mortar terrorism they lived through:
Walking along the Straight Street in Old Damascus last night, Laith Marouf speaks on Damascus’ ancient history, abundant everywhere one looks–even the “stones” people are sitting on.
But also, do listen from ~3:00 when we reach the martyrs garden that (quoting Laith):
“commemorates the genocide of the Syriac Canaanites by the Kurdish militias under the order of the Ottoman Turks, in what is now part of Turkey but was part of Syria…
So when people speak to us here in Syria about the imaginary Rojova land, we will never forget that there was an ethnic cleansing of Arabs and Assyrians from our lands at the hands of Kurdish militias under the order of the Ottomans.”
“This is a monument to the 1915 genocide of Syriac Assyrians, its around the same time as the Armenian genocide.
Syria is full of Armenians, it’s where Armenians came and hid. My family is from Deir ez Zor. The first land that Armenians escaping genocide reached, a safe place, was Deir ez Zor.
My great grandparents hid a lot of Armenian families from the Kurdish militias that were coming into Deir ez Zor to look for Armenians that were escaping.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova weighs in on Syria, Crimea, the Moscow protests and more.
Moscow— In a simple meeting room at the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry building, Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova gave me a generous hour of her time in a conversation peppered with bemused laughter at Western allegations about Russia and clear frustration at the West’s incessant vilification of all things Russia.
I traveled to Moscow in August, where to my delight I had the opportunity to interview Zakharova. Given that Russia is the focus of obsessive and largely negative Western media reporting, and also the country’s role in eliminating the proliferation of terrorist groups that once controlled large swaths of Syria, I wanted to ask Zakharova for her take on a variety of topics related to both Russia and Syria.
In our wide-ranging discussion, Zakharova spoke of the U.S. sanctions regime against Russia and of the Western interference in Russian domestic issues — such as the protests seen in Moscow in July and August.
On Syria, she addressed the issue of exploitation of children in propaganda against Syria and Russia — notably Omran Daqneesh, a child whose image was splashed across newspapers and screens worldwide in 2016, incriminating Russia and Syria in an airstrike that was later proven to have never happened. An official apology from one of the most adamant perpetrators of that narrative, CNN’sChristian Amanpour, also never
One cannot discuss the war in Syria and related propaganda without addressing the massively-funded White Helmets. In discussing the group, Zakharova gave examples of its role in fomenting support for Western military intervention, including in pushing responsibility on the Syrian government for the alleged but unproven and, by most honest accounts, staged chemical attack in Douma, eastern Ghouta, in 2018. Footage of the attack included video starring the White Helmets and another exploited Syrian boy, Hassan Diab, whose testimony of the events ran in stark contrast to the allegations against the Syrian government that were being circulated in the Western media.
Zakharova also addressed the inconsistencies around the Skripal case, the historic importance of Crimea’s referendum, and the U.K. “media freedom” conference of July 2019, where cases of imprisoned journalists like Julian Assange and Kirill Vyshinsky were notably not part of the conference program.
In an unexpected development since my discussion with Zakharova, Ukrainian-Russian journalist and editor Vyshinsky was released from his over 15 months of imprisonment without trial by Ukraine. Referring to his imprisonment, Zakharova described him as a hostage.
The interview took place at a time when Western media reporting would have one believe that the streets of Moscow were full of chaos and unrest with the protests. In fact, contrary to media reporting, Moscow was calm, as were the protests I attended on August 10. Once again, it seemed, the media was hyping and distorting reality, as they have so often done elsewhere in the world.
Zakharova’s words are a reality check and offer an informative insight into the Russian perspective on Russian, Syrian, and global events.
Feature photo | Maria Zakharova sits down with Eva Bartlett at a Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry building in Moscow, Russia in August, 2019. Eva Bartlett | MintPress News