The Life and Death of Zahran Alloush

Zahran Alloush addresses a Jaish al islam military parade in the Damascus countryside in April 2015.
Zahran Alloush addresses a Jaish al Islam military parade in the Damascus countryside in April 2015.

December 31st, 2015.

Who was Zahran Alloush?

Zahran Alloush was born in Syria in 1971, his father Abdullah is a respected Salafist religious figure based in Saudi Arabia.

Zahran Alloush studied at the University of Medina in Saudi Arabia, but unlike his father, Zahran returned to Syria after completing a Masters Degree in Islamic Studies.

In 2009 the Syrian Government arrested Alloush for unclear reasons (either weapon possession or miscellaneous plotting) and held him in prison until mid 2011 when he was released under a general amnesty designed to calm the forces of insurrection.

The decision to release Alloush turned out to be another spectacular miscalculation on the part of the Syrian Government and Alloush became the most high-profile militant leader operating in the greater Damascus area where he commanded a force of 10,000 fighters.

(Alloush stated that Jaish al Islam comprised 17,000 fighters, 10,000 in the Damascus area under his direct command and a further 7,000 in other parts of Syria, since his death the number has been inflated to 25,000)

Jaish al Islam is one of the big four insurgent outfits operating in Syria along with Ahrar ash Sham and the better known al Nusra front and ISIL/Daesh.

Ahrar al Sham is a Salafist conglomerate without a well-known leader, the al Nusra leader is a designated terrorist who hides his face and the leader of ISIL/Daesh is in the same category so Zahran Alloush was  presented as the “respectable” face of the Salafi jihadist factions that comprise at least 90% of the Syrian insurgency.

Zahran Alloush even put on a shirt and jacket and was interviewed by mainstream US journal McClutchy, where he tried to present himself as a moderate and reasonable man.

Islamist rebel leader walks back rhetoric in first interview with U.S. media | McClatchy DC

In truth he was a Salafist and his stated goal was to bring Islamic government to Syria, a ridiculous and despicable idea given that a large proportion of the Syrian people are not Muslims and his particular brand of Islam rejects the status of many Muslims also.

Syria Comment » Archives Zahran Alloush: His Ideology and Beliefs

 

“Zahran’s  calls for cleansing Damascus of all Shiites and Nusayris. (“Nusayris” is the old term that referred to the Alawites prior to the adoption of “Alawite.” It is considered a term of abuse by Alawites. “Nusayri” refers to the founder of the religion, Ibn Nusayr.

Alloush calls for ridding Damascus and Greater Syria of the evil works and impure deeds of the Nusayris, using Qur’anic language throughout to underline their deviant ways. Such language makes Assad’s effort to demonize the revolutionaries and rebels easy. On hearing this sort of talk from the leaders of the revolution, Alawites and other non-Sunni sects worry that their struggle is a fight for their very existence.”

Alloush’s remarks regarding the Shia and Alawi population of Syiria were reprehensible and counterproductive, but this is the worldview Saudi Arabia backs.

This is what the term “takfiri” means, those that are so arrogant as to proclaim that only those who belong to their specific school of thought are Muslims.

Takfiri – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“A takfiri (Arabic: تكفيريtakfīrī) is a Sunni Muslim who accuses another Muslim (or an adherent of another Abrahamic faith) of apostasy.

Massive destruction, Jobar East of Damascus is a surreal sight after four years of war.
Massive destruction, Jobar East of Damascus is a surreal sight after four years of war.
Map of Greater Damascus, Jaish al Islam have controlled a broad swathe to the east of the city for several years.
Map of Greater Damascus, Jaish al Islam have controlled a broad swathe to the east of the city for several years.

The Insurgency in Greater Damascus.

Zahran Alloush was by far the most prominent insurgent in the Greater Damascus area. This area fell into the hands of the insurgents by late 2012, the Marj al Sultan airbase fell in November 2012 and remained under insurgent control until December 2015.

The Syria Army failed to dislodge the insurgents from these places despite the use of massive and often indiscriminate air strikes that along with the ground fighting have left the place a desolated ghost town of complete destruction.

By mid 2013, heavily armed insurgent groups were well entrenched in Eastern Ghouta, Jobar and Douma, small towns in the area east of Damascus.

In August 2013 the Syrian Army was bombarding Eastern Ghouta with heavy artillery when persons unknown conducted the false flag chemical attack, the last mad grab for US led regime change in Syria. The attack does not seem to be connected to Zahran Alloush, with the al Nusra front being the prime suspect behind the mass murder. The claim that the Assad government was responsible is beneath contempt at this point.

Apocalyptic Scenes: Drone footage shows destruction in Jobar, Damascus, Syria

The Syrian Air Force whether by accident or design, conducted numerous air strikes against public areas in these districts leading to massive civilian casualties and undoubtedly strengthening the position of the insurgents with the people.

In January 2015 a series of Syrian Air Force strikes on Eastern Ghouta markets left as many as 160 people dead. In response Zahran Alloush ordered his fighters to shell the Shia and Christian concentrated areas of Damascus, they managed to fire a barrage of between 80 and 120 rockets that left at least ten civilians dead.  Alloush tried to claim that his forces had attacked Government and military facilities,  they may have hoped to do so but in fact they lacked the weaponry to direct their shells with any accuracy and it was a criminal terror attack that only made Alloush look weak and foolish.

EXTREMELY GRAPHIC – SYRIAN AIR STRIKE – DOUMA – AUG 2015

The Russian Air Force, like all air forces also kill civilians but the strike against Zahran Alloush and his colleagues is indicative of a massive improvement in the quality of the air operations against the insurgents.

The operations are no longer semi-random bombardments but are targeted against military centers based upon intelligence and intense aerial surveillance.

The Easter Ghouta military parade of April 2014. Jaish al islam leader Zahran Alloush surveys his troops.
The Eastern Ghouta military parade of April 2014. Jaish al islam leader Zahran Alloush surveys his troops.
Jaish al Islam military parade, Eastern Ghouta April, 2015.
Jaish al Islam military parade, Eastern Ghouta April, 2015.

The Grand Parade.

The standout moment of Zahran Alloush’s public life and the only time he received intense Western attention was after the remarkably audacious Jaish al Islam military parade in Eastern Ghouta of April 2015.

When I first saw this I could not believe it, It hought it must be filmed in Turkey or some other neighbour of Syria but the Jaish al Islam had the audacity to hold this massive parade,involving 1700 troops, in the middle of the day, close to Damascus out in the open and it was a PR triumph. They were out in the open for at least 40 minutes.

ZahranAlloush gave a nine minute speech,  it was a very standard speech of a Sunni extremist fighter.

The video is here if any care to watch but it is very stock stuff.

If they tried to do it today they would all die.

Human rights lawyer Razan Zaitouneh, her husband Wa'el Hamada and two colleagues, Samira Khalil and Nazem Hamadi have been missing since their abduction by unknown armed men in December 2013.
Human rights lawyer Razan Zaitouneh, her husband Wa’el Hamada and two colleagues, have been missing since their abduction by unknown armed men in December 2013. Zahran Alloush’s men are the only suspects due to their control of the area the four went missing.

Abduction and Murder Allegations.

In late 2013 a Syrian human rights activist named Razan Zaitouneh disappeared from an area under the control of Alloush’s men, she and her three colleagues have never been heard from again.

This lack of chivalry raised its head again this year when Zahran Allloush under the increasing pressure of a campaign from a real air force- that of Russia, thought it would be a good idea to parade a group of kidnapped civilians through Eastern Ghouta in cages.

Syrian rebels cage people as human shields

Death.

On December 25th a drone watched and waited as leaders of Jaish al Islam (Army of Islam) gathered in their secret base inside their stronghold in the Damascus countryside.

Thye drone observes the arrival of a white sedan, a man leaves the vehicle and is met by a larger group of men.
The drone observes the arrival of a white sedan, a man leaves the vehicle and is met by a larger group of men.

Once the leaders were spotted arriving at the meeting point, the Russian Air force attacked the site with several bombs, flattening all of the buildings in the area and killing Zahran Alloush along with several of his key aides.

Russian airstrike follows the confirmation that the leaders of Jaish al Islam have arrived.
Russian airstrike follows the confirmation that the leaders of Jaish al Islam have arrived.
Apparently unclear on the precise location of the meeting at least three buildings in the area were flattened by air strikes.
Apparently unclear on the precise location of the meeting at least three buildings in the area were flattened by air strikes.

Syria: Top opposition commander killed by airstrikes near Damascus

Zahran alloush

Conclusion.

The people of Syria have been the victims of this war and nothing other than suffering and destruction has been achieved.

After three months of intense Russian support, the changes to the Syrian map are very minor. The only area where the Syrian government have made major gains that can be seen on the map is in Aleppo.

The Suth Front map from October 1st, 2015.
The South Front map from October 1st, 2015.
The Suth Front map from December 30th, 2015.
The Suth Front map from December 30th, 2015.

The maps only tell part of the story and the manner as much as the fact of Zahran Alloush’s death makes it clear that the trajectory of the war has completely changed now that the SAA and Hezbollah are backed by a high quality air force.

The arrogant powers  (the USA, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, France and Britain) will presumably intervene further should Syria and Russia make too much progress.

The ideal solution to the crisis would be a political settlement but unless and until the arrogant powers amend their world view, stop believing that they have the right to control every inch of the earth and destroy all who resist, the suffering is going to continue.

If the West and their allies maintain their position of arrogance and Russia and Iran maintain their position of opposition to the regime change project in Syria a regional or even a world war is a more likely outcome than a diplomatic solution.

13 thoughts on “The Life and Death of Zahran Alloush

  1. The powers are arrogant, proud, cocky and very determined. I am not sure what to say. But this much seems clear to me. To resist the powers that be? Well, to quote the Borg from Star Trek Next Generation, “resistance is futile.” I don’t say a like it, but I would not like gravity after jumping from a very tall building. Arabic and/or Muslim peoples face the same harsh bullies that we all do. We are forced to take vaccines, send our kids to programming centers, I mean, Schools. Some of those schools in the UK are even rape centers. who would have ever imagined that? Authorities resent our wanting to do anything our own way. How dare we have a will or a desire! But to some degree, we still have some options while avoiding the larger objections of the bullies.

    Of course, I speak as one who accepts the passivity instructed in the Bible, to obey the relative authorities as long as we do not compromise God’s laws in doing so. Perhaps the Arab world ought to give thought to such things. In fact, many “Christians” also ought to give thought to such things. Sooner or later, we are going to be required to part with our guns. I have none so its no big deal to me. Many do have them and ought to be able to have them, but if push comes to shove, and it will, we can release our guns and trust in God for His protection and deliverance. For many today, believing or trusting in a God that has seemed to be on vacation for about 1900 years, is the hard part.

    It is said that Islam worships the same God as Abraham and they believe Jesus was a prophet. If so, they might want to learn to accept God’s will and Let God protect them, rather than trying to enforce their way against bullies so far more powerful than they are. It is one thing to say “I believe.” But do they really believe? Belief could be expressed as trust or faith or confidence in. I watched the video of the carnage after a bombing. Some were hardly recognizable as former human beings. And it was clear that life means nothing to those in power. but that really should not be a surprise in 2015 or 2016.

    So my challenge to all the world that in some way respects the God of Abraham, to really give some thought to how much we really believe or trust God. Enough to temporarily sacrifice some of our will? Or much worse, that we dare reconsider what we believe and why we believe it and if it can stand up to some harsh analysis. Human life is not something to disregard. If we love our lives then maybe we should try to walk a path of lesser resistance and more cooperation, without sacrificing the important aspects of our faith. The time will come when God will free us from having to submit to bullies, but there is at least 8 or 9 more years before that. But on the other hand, if it is only 8 or 9 more years, that is not such a bad prospect.

    It is said, that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Jesus said as far as it is possible with you, be peaceable with all men. I think perhaps Arabs should consider the words of that prophet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many thanks for an extremely interesting comment truth1. I was reading the gospels recently and trying to make sense of that render unto Caeser” section. I think you have helped me understand what it means.

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      • I am pleased that what I wrote helped. I often think about Jesus’ instruction:

        NKJV) Matthew 5:
        39 “But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
        40 “If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.
        41 “And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.
        42 “Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.
        43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
        44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
        45 “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

        When I read that, to me, he is trying to provoke the Pharisees and what was typically believed and practiced at that time, which was antagonism toward the Romans ruling. To tell Jews to love Rome and pray for Rome? Jesus was a brave man. He was trying to correct an attitude, I think. To go as far as you can, to be fair, decent, and reasonable and not to be contentious or have a chip on your shoulders or have an attitude, perhaps of defiance.

        But as well, Hebrews and later Jews, had that sort of literary technique we might call facetiousness, in that exaggerations are used to make a point. I once read a comment by Josephus that made this clear to me. He said that Masada was so high up and so far down that you could not see the bottom. I assume he means you could not discern any details that far down.

        Jesus spoke of the rich man who asked that Abraham dip his finger in water that the rich man might cool his tongue with a drop. Now I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I doubt a drop is going to really help anything, but it was using an extreme to point out just how badly he was thirsting/suffering in the “place” where he was.

        I say this, because reason would tell me that in today’s world, lending is a dangerous thing. Getting sued is a nightmare. Getting slapped might be reason to be concerned. But what Jesus really was getting at by means of exaggeration and distortion, was, do you best and utmost to be fair, decent, and reasonable. Jesus promised that once he returns to establish God’s kingdom, then he will be able to speak to us plainly. I assume that the devil had originally required that things be spoken in sort of disguised (cryptic or symbolic) ways to see if people are really willing to put forth effort to understand what God, His Son, or prophets might say.

        Then there is this one:
        Romans 12:
        18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
        19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
        20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
        21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

        Romans 13:
        1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
        2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
        3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.
        4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
        5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.
        6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing.
        7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
        8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.

        To me, Paul is the 2nd witness to this same idea, and his comes out just slightly modified from Jesus.
        Since God is in control, ultimately but not always relatively, since Satan has been allowed relative control of all the earth, that nothing Satan does is without God’s knowledge and allowance. So to give Satan a hard time is nearly a rebellion of God. God does prescribe fighting Satan’s philosophies and religions, but the nations he owns, we are to obey where they do not violate God’s laws. but no one wants to hear that they have to pay taxes or respect customs borders and rules. “Caesar,” whoever he may be from one nation to the next, is not nice, fair, decent or reasonable, but we still have to be cooperative and obedient except when it comes to war. No war! No killing people who even in name, have the same religion as ours. or anyone’s. No killing, period.

        these are the concepts I would like Muslims to consider, not for my benefit anywhere near as much as their own. For people who live in peace in their nations, are apt to receive some mercy from police and governments. But those who blow up abortion clinics, kill abortion doctors (which is murder)) and harass people getting abortions, are not serving God. God will judge the nations and their laws and peoples. A Christian can only judge those of his own faith and more particularly of his own church. We are not the police of the world. God is. We are not the enforcers. God is. I do not even vote as I see that as interfering with the political machinery, which is totally corrupt. I let them do whatever they want so that they can not blame me or suggest that I am interfering. Nothing could be further from the truth.

        So to Muslims, I suggest you maybe take a look at this:
        http://www.truth1.org/neutrality.htm

        And stop resisting the evil doing nations, and they are evil, beyond dispute. They obey Satan as ruler and Not God Or Allah. Those who follow God or Allah do not kill or hate. So embrace peace and live, and care for your families. If you get killed, how will that help your families? Spare yourself and your families and please Allah, who rewards those who obey Him.

        War is hell and war is Satanic. Flee from war and live in peace. Any who die for being peaceful and obeying God? They are guaranteed everlasting life. In this respect, the Amish do have something praiseworthy.

        And me? I might be in a straight jacket and relaxing in a nut house for all anyone knows. So always read the Bible for yourself. There are lots of damaged heads in the world and one never knows who is behind their computer screen. But it never hurts to discuss what you read. discussion is good.

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      • Wow, many, many thanks for that truth1. You make a lot of great points there. On a side issue here are a couple of quotes from Wikipedia regarding the Muslim view of Jesus and the God/Allah issue. Thanks again for that comment.
        Jesus in Islam – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
        “Jesus in the New Testament, is considered to be a Messenger of God and al-Masih (the Messiah) in Islam[1][2]:30 who was sent to guide the Children of Israel (banī isrā’īl) with a new scripture, al-Injīl (the Gospel).[3] The belief that Jesus is a prophet is required in Islam. This is reflected in the fact that he is clearly a significant figure in the Quran, appearing in 93 ayaat (or verses) with various titles attached, with Moses appearing 136 times and Abraham 69 times.[4] The Quran states that Jesus was born a ‘pure boy’ to Mary (Arabic: Maryam) as the result of virginal conception, a miraculous event which occurred by the decree of God the Creator (Arabic: Allah) which follows the belief of the prophetic message in the Old Testament passage Isaiah 7:14 and referenced in the New Testament passages Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 1:26-38. To aid in his ministry to the Jewish people, Jesus was given the ability to perform miracles (such as healing various ailments like blindness, raising the dead to life, casting out demons, etc.) which no other prophet in Islam has ever been credited with, all according to God’s will. According to the Quran, Jesus, although appearing to have been crucified, was not killed by crucifixion or by any other means. This view disagrees with the foundation of the Gospel. Instead, the Quran says “God raised him unto Himself,” which happens to agree with the Gospel message of Isa ascending into heaven. In the 19th Sura of the Quran (verse 33), Jesus is believed to have said “And peace is on me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive”, a similar statement that John the Baptist declared a few verses earlier in the same Sura. Muslim tradition believes this to mean Jesus will experience a natural death with all mankind after returning to earth, being raised to life again on the day of judgment.”
        Allah – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
        “Allah is the Arabic word for God (al ilāh, literally “the God”), referring to the God in Abrahamic religions.[3][4][5] The word has cognates in other Semitic languages, including Elah in Aramaic, ʾĒl in Canaanite and Elohim in Hebrew.[6][7]”

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      • Well, then it is clear that Jesus should have enough respect by them to at least consider his words,, maybe along with Paul’s. I know that the instinct for humans to defend themselves is strong, natural, and sensible ordinarily. But the times we are in are not ordinary, nor is God ordinary. God asks us to be non-involved in political struggles. The main reason for that is that God is full in control and He does not want interference for one, and

        2nd, He wants us to be innocent, and avoid being psychologically harmed, if possible.

        and 3rd, He wants us to be blameless and innocent so that if any should attack us, it would be far beyond any good excuse. It will often justify His intervention or punishment of evil.

        So God had His will made known to us and thought He was being nice in sparing us much grief. But some just don’t want that. They would prefer getting bombed into oblivion and having their kids taken prisoner (If not killed immediately) and trafficked all over the world for sex and sacrifice. Surely these would be good things to avoid if possible.

        So I hope that maybe one or two might eventually catch wind of this and try to spare their brothers what has already happened to many. To die senselessly seems such a waste. God went to great trouble to have His stuff all written out and preserved by human servants throughout history, that we might know what God wanted and expected at this critical time in Human History. It was for His benefit only to resolve Himself of any guilt by not warning us. But is it people who stand to benefit the most from this warning to us of what is about to happen. We don’t need to be caught off guard if we do not want to be. I hate not knowing about important things. We all should. Ignorance is not bliss.

        and thank you James, for giving me voice and support. Your obvious concern for those without power will hopefully get around to them.

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      • Thanks for that truth1, you make a lot of very good points, it is a very unique and interesting worldview that you have developed. Thanks for the comments and the kind words, the quality of the commenters more than compensates for the small quantity of people making them. Thanks again.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I guess this is as good as anywhere to make a small point. I know Palestinians would like to stay in a land they have been in for at least nearly 2000 years. And that is perfectly reasonable. But I don’t think it wise if they love life and want to pass it on. S I note that many Muslim refugees were happy to come to Europe from their homelands and expect Europe to put them up for free. If you ask me, Palestinians should be getting in on this deal. In fact, I’m thinking about putting on some brown make up and putting on a phony accent and claiming to be Arabic and get some of that sweet cash. That’s better than I can do in the USA, I’ll have you know 😉 Of course, the only reason the immigrants were so eager to accept the invitation was that the leaders of those nations were generous enough offer their young women, without asking the women if it was OK or not. And given the general quality of European women (very good), that is a tempting offer. But my religion does not allow conversion by sword or rape at all. And in fact, it does not even allow willing sex, without marriage. I did pick a pretty stringent religion, didn’t I? But ya know, the benefits package was hard to pass up. So I guess I’ll have pass Europe up. I suppose invite some Euro women over here. It beats what they got right now.

    Well, anyway, I do think the Palestinians would make better guest than some of the bums there now, who seem to enjoy really beating up a woman. There is something a bit sick in that. My religion only allows love and kindness. And ya know, I don’t have a problem with that at all. Hope Palestinians give it some thought.

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  3. Hi James, just a short question to the video of the supposed airstrike on the market in Douma. Has anyone else noticed the complete absence, as far as I can tell, of any female dead or injured? It was supposed to have been a marketpäce after all – the half or dozen randomly strewn about apples are probably meant to be an indication of this. It surely can’t be the case that islamic rebels don’t even allow their women folk to do the daily shopping? I know the film is quite grainy and the cameraman moves around at quite a pace, but I couldn’t see one single female victim either dead or injured. Interested in your thoughts.
    Kind regards
    Brian

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    • Many thanks for that Brian. I must admit from the start that I did not view that video with a skeptical eye. I will have to take another look but my general impression regarding that attack and similar others is that there was probably a military target adjacent to or underneath the Douma market, I have seen footage from Idlib that clearly showed a militant tunnel in the middle of a market place, I have also seen heavy weapons hidden in the middle of a supposed refugee camp in Latakia, there were war trucks parked in the middle of a crowd of UN provided tents.
      A very similar air strike to the Douma incident took place in July in Manbij, an ISIS BMP was parked in the central square/market place, the US bombed it and killed many many civilians in the process including small children.
      I do not know what happened in Douma but the pattern I see is that all parties use disproportionate force, all parties are in breach of international law according to the strict definition. If the Douma bombing had been a cause celebre in the Western media I would be far more suspicious, but because it was barely reported to my recollection I have assumed that the Syrian air force were responsible, your point about the lack of females is a very good one. I am sorry that I could not really answer your question. Thanks for commenting.

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      • Hi James,
        Thanks for the speedy response. I had another look online and found this article from globalresearch.ca: http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-the-douma-market-attack-outside-damascus-another-fabricated-pretext-for-us-nato-military-intervention/5470662
        The writer also mentions the strange absence of any female victims.
        Amd here’s another video: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=8da_1446205569
        Other questions that pop to mind are: surely there should be some sort of crater or craters? And how come those flimsy looking market stalls were able to withstand the blast?
        One could of course spend hours going into the details, and I take your point that all parties are in breach of international law but I have yet to find any credible account of any breach by the SAA or Russian Air Force. Surely the question is which side is fighting for the idea of Syria as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious state and which one for an Islamic, Sharia-based state?
        Best wishes
        Brian

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      • Many thanks for that response Brian. I had previously read the Eric Draitser piece, for some reason I find it fairly unpersuasive. There was a link to a video of the aftermath of a terrorist bombing in the Baghdad suburb of Dora supposed to contrast with the scene in Douma but it looked quite similar to me.
        You make some good points regarding the craters and intact stalls.
        They have created completely false atrocity stories before, it may well be the case in Douma, at the very least it is extremely likely that the death toll was severely exaggerated. I have been watching the war very closely for the past year and there have not been any terrible air strikes by either the Russians or Syrians during that time. The terrible airstrikes in recent months have been conducted by the US and France in and around Manbij with one French strike in mid July killing 70, entirely civilians.
        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/20/us-airstrike-allegedly-kills-56-civilians-in-northern-syria
        It was so bad that the US’s own puppet group in Syria asked them to stop air strikes but this is a story our media will never cover at any length.
        http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-airstrikes-idUSKCN1010PH
        “The head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition called for a suspension of the U.S.-led air campaign against Islamic State in Syria while reports of dozens of civilian deaths from air strikes around the northern city of Manbij are investigated.”
        The use of disproportionate force is a (somewhat lesser) war crime This is a crime that Israel commits every-time they so much as fire a gun. Every air force breaches this rule every time they drop a bomb anywhere near civilians, and this includes Russia- but your larger point is absolutely spot on and much appreciated ” which side is fighting for the idea of Syria as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious state and which one for an Islamic, Sharia-based state?”
        This is a great point, one that I have made numerous times in near identical terms but the people running this simply do not care what happens next, any more than a shark is concerned for it’s victims.
        They identify a target, they lie until their masters are able to destroy it and then they move on to the next target. Patting themselves on the back and never ever looking back at the legacy of carnage they have left. That is why the situation is so worrying and intolerable, these people are pure filth, they will tell any lie, do anything and they are completely irrational and deluded and when such people seize control of a civilisation as these foul creatures have done in the West, they always destroy as much as possible until they are physically stopped.
        They are the enemy of humanity, they have killed tens of millions and it seems that until they are destroyed they will not stop.
        Apologies for rambling, many thanks for your comments.

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