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Have May and Blackford forgotten about Syria's jihadists?

PARLIAMENT witnessed a double act between Theresa May and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford yesterday to blame Syria and its allies for loss of life in eastern Ghouta.

Blackford repeated the total of deaths claimed by the jihadist groups that control the area in the previous 48 hours, asking the Prime Minister what talks had been held on enforcing UN resolutions to end attacks on civilians.

For some reason he failed to refer to the ability of the jihadists to maintain constant deadly mortar attacks on civilians in Damascus.

May eagerly took the bait offered her, telling Blackford how “appalled” she was by the escalation of bombing and urging Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to cease his "campaign of violence" and allow humanitarian aid in.

She lashed out at Russian President Vladimir Putin too, ordering him to “ensure this violence stops.”

Tory-SNP single-mindedness is reflected in similar one-sided TV coverage where jihadist groups supply video recordings of air raids and artillery strikes, heart-rending pictures of children being recovered from rubble and medical facilities where doctors berate the world for turning its back on the people of the area.

TV network journalists provide a commentary as backdrop to the video coverage as though they were in eastern Ghouta rather than in another country.

Never do they question the total absence from the videos of the thousands of jihadist fighters from different factions who dominate eastern Ghouta, bombard Damascus daily and prevent civilians from fleeing their fiefdom.

Far from Syria being ignored, too many countries, including our own, have taken it upon themselves to decide what kind of government Syrians should have and sought to impose their will by aerial bombing and supplying huge amounts of weaponry to terrorist groups recruited from all over the world.

Despite the carnage wreaked on Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya by this formula for effecting regime change, Britain and the US remain wedded to their blood-soaked and failed model.

Eastern Ghouta is divided into three main zones of influence by Saudi-supported Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam), Qatar-backed Faylaq al-Rahman (al-Rahman Legion) and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (Levant Liberation Front), which is the Syrian “former” affiliate of al-Qaida.

Other groups active include Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyya (Islamic Movement of Free Men of the Levant), which has enjoyed backing from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey and announced a merger earlier this week with the once US-financed Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki, which gained notoriety in 2016 for beheading a captured Palestinian boy on video.

Russia, Iran and Turkey proclaimed eastern Ghouta a de-escalation zone last summer, to be followed by an end to air raids, a ceasefire and free access to the area for humanitarian aid convoys.

The jihadist groups responded by disagreeing over whether to accept de-escalation, followed by internecine warfare, expulsion of Medicines Sans Frontieres staff from the area and renewed mortar bombing of Damascus.

Commentators have suggested that eastern Ghouta is akin to the siege of jihadist-occupied western Aleppo.

There are certainly parallels, as there are with Raqqa or with Iraq’s second city of Mosul, but these aren’t mentioned, possibly because the warplanes deployed to assist the liberation of these cities from terrorist occupation were under US military command.

Civilians, including children, died in their thousands in these operations.

Ending this in eastern Ghouta is best achieved by the jihadist groups’ outside masters telling them to lay down their weapons not by expecting Syria’s government to accept terrorist attacks on its citizens in perpetuity.




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