Paul Larudee: “Mythology, Barrel Bombs, and Human Rights Watch”

-by Paul Larudee, Counter Punch

To read Human Rights Watch and the western mainstream media, the Syrian government army is inflicting massive casualties upon the Syrian civilian population, most especially through the use of “barrel bombs”.  Thousands of bombs have been dropped, inflicting thousands of casualties.
But wait a minute.  Doesn’t that imply one casualty per bomb?
Credible and reliable facts and figures are notoriously hard to come by, but Human Rights Watch intrepidly goes where angels fear to tread.  They are the only ones that provide both casualty and bomb counts for a given period of time, from February, 2014 through January, 2015.  According to them, more than 1,450 bombs – mostly “barrel” bombs – were dropped on the areas of Daraa and Aleppo covered by the report.  HRW also reports 3,185 civilian casualties from aerial attacks for the same time period and in the same places.  So roughly two casualties per bomb, even if you accept that a lot of “civilians” are actually fighters and that HRW and its sources are hardly unbiased.

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Updates from Aleppo

Words from a Syrian living in Aleppo:

“Nothing much took place in the city within the last week. “Normal” launching and shelling in the background. For the first time for me, I saw some mortars from the national army shelled at the terrorist areas at night, reddish slow mortars flying in the sky, then I wait for like 20 seconds after they disappeared from my sight, then the “booom” noise. People with experience in directions and areas would say right a way that this is against this or that nest area of terrorists, but I don’t know. Those were definitely not a jet rocket nor the so-called “barrel bombs”. As i said, it’s pretty slow. The rockets launched from ground are way faster and much noisier . The ones from jets had different voice as well. In general, it’s pretty”normal”, and relatively “calm”.

As for Taduf/Tâdef, it’s a village in Aleppo province, famous with it’s purple eggplants. I can’t know what happened over there, if it was real or not. This is the first time for me to read such news from over there.

The other news from both the 2 Shii’a villages in the north, and Zabadânî mountainous village between Damascus and the Lebanese borders are mostly true. The terrorists attacked the villages in Aleppo and killed civilians. Those 2 villages are under siege since 2012 or so, I mean, the resistance against the terrorists is a real legend. At Zabadani, the terrorists are losing in front the Syrian army and Lebanese Resistance (Hezbollah).
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love in liberated Homs

11692516_864424586926565_849179155512892467_n Photo of St. George’s church in Old Homs [from Al Hamidiya FB page]

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St. George’s church in June 2014, post liberation from NATO’s terrorists.

-by Eva Bartlett I’m sharing a message from a Christian Syrian friend from the Old City of Homs. I met him last year after Homs was liberated of its NATO death squads…He told me of his own family having fled their home upon entry of terrorist gangs to their district, and kindly toured me around the shattered churches and neighbourhood of the Old City. I wrote about it here: Homs: “We wanted to protect our house”   and here:  Liberated Homs Residents Challenge Notion of “Revolution” His story was beyond sad, as was that that of Zeinat and Aymen who had remained in their homes and been repeatedly robbed by the armed gangs till they near-starved…and the stories of other Homs residents I met who spoke of the NATO-alliance murderers’ version of “Freedom”. CONTINUE READING

speeches at Toronto Al-Quds Day Rally – 2015

I’m very honoured to consider these three fine human beings as close friends. They speak the truth on the Zionist project of stealing all of Palestine, as well as neighbouring countries, and of so-called “israel”‘s treating and funneling of terrorists into sovereign Syria as part of the NATO-alliance war ON Sryia.

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Speech by Br. Zafar Bangash at Toronto Al-Quds Day Rally 2015
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returning to Syria: fundraising appeal

Walking the streets of liberated Homs, June 2014.

Walking the streets of liberated Homs, June 2014.

UPDATE: Due to reasons out of my control, my intended return to Syria is delayed. I will update on my next plans when they are confirmed.

Friends, in the not too distant future I will again be returning to Syria. This is a fundraising appeal to support the expenses of the visit (flights, hotels–as affordable as possible–and any related expenses) and also the purchase of a new camera if at all possible. Details on how to donate, should you wish, are at bottom of this post.

Please note my writings from and on Syria in the past year are collated here: My published articles and other musings from and on Syria (2014/2015)

Since April 2014, I have thrice visited Syria. These visits have afforded me a direct look, on the ground, at the situation in key places like:

Latakia: where we met displaced Syrians from Kassab and Harem, both under NATO-backed terrorists AND Turkish forces attacks. [see: testimonies from Kasab, attacked by Turkish and foreign mercenaries March 21  &  horrors from Harem, Nobbul, Zahra ]

Homs (twice): where we visited a residential area that had been double-car bombed by the west’s “revolutionaries” and also met with peacemakers involved in the reconciliation movement in Syria [see: April car bombing testimonies .

My second visit to Homs, in June 2014, as an independent journalist, took me to the heart of the Old City which had recently been liberated. There I saw some of the ancient churches which has suffered varying degrees of damage, vandalism and fire. I also met residents who had been driven out of their homes as well as Zeinat & Aymen al-Akhrass, christian Syrians who had remained in their Old City home until the last terrorist left Homs. I also spoke with a close friend of Father Frans van der Lugt, the Dutch priest assassinated by the NATO-alliance’s terrorists. He’d been extremely vocal that from the beginning, he saw armed men in the so-called “nonviolent” demonstrations, and that this was no “revolution”. [see: Liberated Homs Residents Challenge Notion of “Revolution” and Homs: “We wanted to protect our house”]. Their accounts contradicted that of the MSM on the so-called “rebels” and Homs being the “capital of the revolution”.

In Homs, I also came across a neighbourhood party continuing late into the evening, celebrating the recent overwhelming election of President al-Assad. Two interesting aspects about that party (aside from the awesome Dabke dancing and music) was that it was roughly a week after the elections… people were STILL celebrating. And that it comprised local residents AND Syrian soldiers… which again contradicts the MSM narrative that the Syrian people are afraid of and abused by their army. [VIDEO HERE]. And I spoke with a resident who gave his account of the sectarianism present from the beginning in the demonstrations in his district [see: “freedom”: Homs resident speaks of the early days of the “crisis”].

Ma’aloula: which had two months prior been liberated of its terrorists who had rain mortars and sniper’s shot down on the residents and the Syrian soldiers, who had ransacked its historic sites, destroying and stealing antiquities [see: Devastation…and Inspiration: Recalling Liberated Ma’loula].

Damascus: where in two different delegations I’ve twice met with the very open-minded Grand Mufti, Sheikh Hassoun, in which he’s shared his own tragedy–the terrorists’ murdering of his son Saria–and his incredible forgiveness–he pardoned the terrorists immediately and asked for Syrians to remain united. He preaches of love and against extremism [see: “They want to start a religious war; we want to extinguish it” – Mufti of Syria]. I’ve also met with Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, Media/Political Adviser to President al-Assad [see: The real Syrian moderates: voices of reason], with Minister of Information Omran al-Zoubi, Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Fayssal Mikdad, Minister of Justice, Najm Hamad al-Ahmad  [see: excerpts from US delegation visit to Syria, Feb 2015  &  Media Black-Out on Arab Journalists and Civilians Beheaded in Syria by Western-Backed Mercenaries].

On two different occasions I’ve visited injured Syrians–including many children–in hospitals. These would be victims of terrorist mortars on residential areas of Damascus and environs and on schools, as in the April 2014 mortar attack on Manar school, killing one child and injuring over 60 [see: children injured by “rebel” shelling of Manar school, Damascus  &  University Hospital, Damascus: Meeting Victims of Western-backed Mortar and Rocket Terrorism].

On the note of terrorist mortars, I’ve had my own experiences, staying independently in a small hotel in the Old City of Damascus both in April and June 2014. At both times, the Old City (and elsewhere in Damascus) was under daily mortar fire. I wrote about it here: The Terrorism We Support in Syria: A First-hand Account of the Use of Mortars against Civilians.

A small group I was with in April 2014 visited the outskirts of the Yarmouk neighbourhood, getting a glimpse of the area but not able to fully enter due to snipers within. We also visited two centres housing displaced Syrian and Palestinian Yarmouk residents. Their voices spoke of terrorists infiltrating their district, of the need to rid Yarmouk of the terrorists from outside.

Perhaps surprisingly to some, there were many beautiful, inspiring, and moving encounters during my various visits. Like attending an Easter ceremony led by Patriach Laham and hearing his words of peace, seeing the absolute devotion from the congregation…and some days later, attending a lively Easter celebration in an Old City restaurant, where men, women and children danced, food and drink were abundant, and the Syrian flag–as well as photos & songs of President al-Assad–was ever present. Incidentally, I was invited by a Muslim friend. I had interesting conversations with Syrians of all walks of life, in Damascus, Latakia, Homs, Ma’alouloa, including one with the lovely Qamar, a Sunni woman who worked at the Old City hotel I was staying in. I had the chance to interview the man behind Damascus’ stunning Gaudi-esque wall mural, to interview the head of Damascus’ antiquities, and to watch Syria’s rugby team, the Zenobians, practise with threadbare equipment but loads of enthusiasm. I attempted to portray the sense of life and love emanating from Syria, in spite of all odds.

All of these experiences have given me a greater understanding for the tragedy that has been foisted on Syria in this war on Syria. I have no doubt that my upcoming visit will add to that knowledge, and just hope that when I write/blog about these experiences, it in turn helps in some small way to enhance others’ understanding of Syria. As with my advocacy work in Palestine, my intent is always to transmit the voices and desires of Syrians to the best of my ability.

If you feel this is something you can and would like to support, here’s how to do so:

-Donate via Paypal using the button below:

Small Donate Button

-Those in Canada can do an online e-transfer, which is simple, instantaneous and convenient.

-Western Union is one other possibility.

Aleppo resident: ” Scenes of support for SAA and NDF in Aleppo last night‏ “

A Syrian from and living in Aleppo wrote the following:

“We didn’t sleep all the night. The attacks of yesterday 2nd July started around afternoon and continued up till today 8:30 am 3rd July.

They said that 3-4 civilians died, but 87 civilians injured. The ambulance voices didn’t stop all night long.
You had to hear the people over here. Aren’t they Syrians? After all these years and after all these attacks on them and after they lost their income sources and family members, they are asking the Syrian army to terminate the attackers and their nests, which became like cancer in our body. They don’t care if that termination was by chemical weapons, bombs, or whatever.

Yet, around the world and in the mainstream media, they dare to demonize the so called “barrel bombs” and talk about the lost in lives of the terrorists as lost of lives of Syrian peaceful moderate opposition who had been killed by dictator! I don’t swear, and I’m fasting this month, but that injustice is unlimited and makes me and many feel like we gonna explode with cursing and swearing against all that nonsense of people lecturing in the conference in Britain or people of the UN who has nothing but lies and hypocrisy.
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the road to Palestinian liberation lies…where?

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I’ve expressed the similar sentiments to these below in the past, but the subject came up again today on social media and, as it is of utmost importance, I’m posting the commentaries here.

Navid Nasr began the needed exchange with these words:

“Apparently, for a lot of both Palestinian and non-Palestinian advocates for Palestine and the Palestinian people, the road to Palestinian liberation lies through the destruction of Libya, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Tunisia, and now Egypt. Good to know.”

Ahmad Barqawi:

“Islamist Palestinians… and that’s a direct outcome of saudi indoctrination, this is in fact a very familiar tune that we’ve all heard before during that woebegone cold war era when, at the time, the road to palestine essentially went through “communist afghanistan”; except that palestine was never at any point intended to be the destination of their GCC/CIA-sponsored jihad after the “liberation of kabul” just as it will never be their destination after their intended “liberation of damascus”; that was basically one of saudi arabia’s (and other gulf reactionary regimes’) main calling cards to recruit thousands of “arab mujahideen” to fight the soviet presence in afghanistan on behalf and at the behest of the reagan administration, and at the same time ensure the continued deliberate marginalization of palestine as a central cause for the arab and islamic worlds.

it’s the same brand of insidious indoctrination that prevails today and relegates palestine to the back burner while giving credence and urgency to whatever rotten cause that the saudi ruling dynasty chooses (or is instructed) to champion in their ever onward quest to serve the imperial interests of the west; everything takes a back seat to their unrelenting efforts to plant the seeds of discord and fan the flames of an all-out sectarian war across the region.”
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