Syrians flee government advances in eastern Ghouta; Douma convoy approved

Introduction — March 4, 2018

This Reuters report is yet more disinformation presented to us in the guise of “news”. Far from being an objective account from reporters on the ground, it has probably been crafted by psy-ops specialists in Western intelligence.
The giveaway comes in the third sentence. There it is revealed that much of the article is based on information provided by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. A one-man outfit run by Rami Abdulrahman who is based in Coventry, England, he has not been back to his native Syria in more than twenty years.
The thing is the SOHR repeatedly carries unverified reports that cast the Syrian Army and its Russian and Iranian allies in a poor light. Moreover, these reports often remain unconfirmed.

What’s more the SOHR is allegedly bankrolled by the U.S. and British governments so it has a vested interest in portraying events in Syria in line with U.S. and UK foreign policy.
So why is a major news agency relying on the SOHR for information about events in Syria?
The answer may be that the world’s corporate “news” media are now in bed with western intelligence to create a false narrative more in keeping with western policy.
Another giveaway is revealed further in the Reuters article where reports from the White Helmets rescue service in eastern Ghouta are cited. Like the SOHR the Syrian White Helmets are also allegedly financed by the U.S. and UK governments.
While their links to Western intelligence can be seen in the fact that they were founded by James Le Mesurier, a Sandhurst trained former British Army officer turned private military contractor.
According to former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter: “the White Helmets function as an effective propaganda arm of the anti-Assad movement… “
Yet here we have Reuters regurgitating information provided by these two questionable sources without question.
Even the headline strives to portray Syrian Army in a negative light while the article itself doesn’t refer to militants who are holding eastern Ghouta as al Qaeda linked Al-Nusra fighters or ISIS terrorists, which is what they are. Instead it simply refers to them as the more neutral sounding “rebels”.
This is not “journalism” in the full sense of the word. It is, in effect, carefully crafted disinformation disguised as “news”. Ed.

Syrians flee government advances in eastern Ghouta; Douma convoy approved

Tom Perry and Stephanie Nebehay — Reuters March 4, 2018

A handicapped man rides a bicycle past damaged buildings in the besieged town of Douma in eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria, March 1, 2018. Or so the Reuters caption claims. Click to enlarge

A handicapped man rides a bicycle past damaged buildings in the besieged town of Douma in eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria, March 1, 2018. Or so the Reuters caption reads. Click to enlarge

Thousands of civilians have fled advances by Syrian government forces in eastern Ghouta in the last two days, a war monitor and a resident said, as Damascus makes rapid gains against the last major rebel enclave near the capital.

Government forces need to advance just a few more kilometres (miles) further to split the enclave in two, said a commander in the alliance that backs President Bashar al-Assad.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government forces had seized around a quarter of eastern Ghouta in a ground assault that began on Feb. 27, building on a ferocious air and artillery bombardment that has killed hundreds.

One of the main insurgent groups in eastern Ghouta, Jaish al-Islam, said the“scorched earth policy” had forced rebels to retreat and regroup, but vowed to recover lost territory.

A U.N. humanitarian official said 400,000 people in eastern Ghouta were being subjected to unacceptable“collective punishment”, which is illegal under the Geneva Conventions.

The official called for the implementation of a 30-day ceasefire demanded by the U.N. Security Council a week ago. U.S. President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Thursday for its immediate implementation.

With the war entering its eighth year, capturing the eastern Ghouta area would be a major victory for Assad, who has steadily recovered control of rebellious areas with military support from Russia and Iran.

The multi-sided Syrian war, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people since 2011, has escalated on several fronts this year, as the collapse of Islamic State has given way to other conflicts between Syrian and international parties.

Turkey, backed by allied Syrian militias, has gained ground in recent days against the Kurdish YPG militia in an offensive it is waging in northwestern Syria.

The UK-based Observatory, which reports on the war using what it describes as a wide range of on-the-ground sources, said the advances threaten to encircle Afrin city, where 1 million people are estimated to live.

It says shelling and air strikes have killed 659 people in eastern Ghouta since Feb. 18, making the offensive one of the deadliest of the war, while rebel shelling of Damascus has killed 27.

Orient TV, which supports the opposition, said advances by pro-Assad forces had triggered large-scale displacement.

One resident estimated that thousands of people were on the move and seeking shelter in areas further from the frontlines.

The Observatory estimated that between 300 to 400 families, which is likely several thousand people, had fled areas seized by government forces since Saturday.

The pro-Assad commander said civilians were fleeing to the town of Douma.“There are about three and a bit kilometres (to go) and they will cut (eastern Ghouta) in two,” the commander told Reuters.

The White Helmets rescue service in eastern Ghouta posted footage on its Facebook page showing rescue workers carrying away on a stretcher a man they said had been wounded in an air strike in Douma.

Gunfire was audible during a broadcast by a Syrian state television journalist from a position he said had been captured by the advancing forces.

The Syrian army said it had been attacking rebel positions for the last two days in response to the shelling of Damascus and had recovered control of farmland and towns.

The Observatory said the territory captured so far by the Syrian army was mostly farmland and the big towns of eastern Ghouta were still in rebel hands.


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