Western capitals, reeling over Syria, 'consumed by mass hysteria & propaganda'
Western media is still complaining about the liberation of Aleppo, in that way empowering those militants, radicals, terrorists and justifying them holding people hostage, says Catherine Shakdam, from the UK's Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies.
Evacuation of people from Aleppo has been halted after rebels broke the truce struck with the government.
The militants tried to bring heavy weapons out with them instead of small arms which were allowed, violating the provisions of the agreement with the Syrian authorities, according to a senior Syrian general in Aleppo.
They were also supposed to release captives taken from the pro-government forces, and it was agreed they would be evacuated from the city before the last group of militants leaves.
Nevertheless, despite these setbacks, the liberation of eastern Aleppo has been completed, according to the Russian Defense Ministry's Center for Reconciliation.
RT: It's not the first time the rebels have violated the terms of the truce, however they now only control two percent of the city of Aleppo. What's their end game here?
Catherine Shakdam: The problem is, first of all, I don’t like calling them ‘rebels;’ for me they are terrorists. The problem that we have is that those radicals are absolutely bent on inflicting as much suffering as they can on civilians. And you can see the fact that they have hijacked and taken hostage two villages… because they are trying to target those people they have labeled as being infidels. We have to remember that this is a sectarian fight when it comes to the radicals. What they are trying to do is to genocide any tiny segment of the population so they could claim they sanctified Syria and the rest of the Middle East.
And so what they are doing is targeting those Shia villages because what they are trying to do is just to make a point and try to murder as many people as they can to maybe force the Syrian Arab Army to back away because they actually have humanity left in them and they are trying to protect their own people. So they are doing the most abominable actions so that President Assad would cower and back away. I very much doubt that is going to work because there is only one way forward and it is forward when it comes to handling those radicals. There is no logic to the insanity because all they want is bloodshed.
What really sickens me is that our Western media is still grandstanding, complaining about the liberation of Aleppo when in fact what they are doing is empowering those militants, radicals, terrorists and justifying the fact that they are holding those people hostage… And this is a problem today. When you see Western media continue to paint those so-called rebels as the good guys we have a really big problem. There is an issue here. It’s not even semantic at this stage. We have Western capitals enabling terrorism, and we are supposed to go along with it. Enough is enough…
The corporate media in the West - BBC, CNN and all the usual suspects, – they are calling this the ‘fall of Aleppo.’ When those who are there – they are calling it the ‘liberation of Aleppo.’ And all the people that are escaping four and a half years of captivity are calling this escape, and the liberation of Aleppo. But the powers-that-be, the Western governments that have been hell-bent on regime change in Syria – they have exposed their hands. They can’t let the liberation story hold water because they’ve got all their cards on the table and must double-down and say ‘this is the fall of Aleppo.’ It’s insanity. - Mike Raddie, co-Editor of BSNews
RT: Russia is still getting criticism from the West for its strategy in Aleppo. Russia and the Syrian government halted the offensive, to evacuate civilians and transport the rebels out of the city, why are they still being branded as the bad guys?
CS: Because first of all I think that the Western capitals and media at this stage are completely hysterical. It’s mass hysteria at this stage; propaganda has completely taken over. The problem that they have is that those Western capitals planned for the Balkanization of the Middle East and were planning for President Assad to go away. It didn’t happen, and they are quite upset with it, and they are trying desperately to still make it happen… Western capitals are trying to find a way to spin this and somehow again paint Russia and Iran as the devils. But what have they done but support a sovereign nation to free themselves from the yoke of radicalism?
'Syrians don't want regime change'
RT: The evacuation was organized by both the Russian reconciliation center and the Syrian government. So, why are we still hearing so much condemnation from Western leaders?
Baroness Caroline Cox: The condemnation by the Western leaders makes me very angry. I have friends in western Aleppo, who tell me what’s happening. They tell me that the people, who had to flee from eastern Aleppo when it was held by the rebels, have terrible stories to tell of the atrocities they suffered. There was one lady, who saw her husband and 8-year-old daughter shot by one of the rebels and another, who was asking for food, shot in the mouth. Those, who have been trying to flee, were shot by many of the rebels. This news should be coming out.
And one of the things that surprises me and worries me is that, when I look at much of the Western news like the BBC, I hear from correspondents, who are not in Syria, not in Aleppo – they are in Lebanon. We need to know what’s happening in Aleppo, eastern Aleppo, western Aleppo, we need to hear from the people of Syria and, as I understand it, the vast majority of people of Syria are very relieved to know that ISIS-related groups are being driven out of eastern Aleppo and that people are free to come out.
RT: The UN's Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs has praised the work of the Russian military in helping the evacuation. But we're still hearing only criticism from many Western leaders. Are they ignoring any positive developments?
CC: Western leaders are ignoring the positive developments in Syria. One of the things that really worry me about the UK foreign policy and the US foreign policy is that it is still committed to regime change. When I was in Syria, in Aleppo and Damascus, the people there do not want regime change imposed by the West. They want to decide their own future, and they see that there is no moderate armed opposition left. If you have a regime change, you will have another disaster like Iraq, like Libya. I wish that the Western governments could stop this commitment to regime change, would listen to the people of Syria and let the people of Syria choose their own future…
RT: The spokesman for the US-led coalition in the Middle East says the situation in Aleppo right now complicates the Washington-led fight against ISIS in Raqqa. What’s your thought about that?
CC: The liberation of the people of eastern Aleppo and the driving out of the ISIS-related Islamist groups can only help the people of Syria to free them from this terrorist tragedy. That is a very strange comment.
RT: During the same briefing, Lieutenant-General Stephen Townsend said the US-led coalition had renewed its anti-ISIS offensive in the city of Raqqa. Why do you think it was put on pause in the first place?
CC: One of the greatest problems of the previous ceasefires was that they were broken by the rebels and used to rearm and gather more resources [for the rebels] to [let] them continue their offenses. Many of these rebels are being helped by western forces, by western governments.
If you visited Syria, you would see that there is no moderate opposition left. I met the opposition leaders within the ruling party, and they told me that there were no moderate rebels left.
On the one side people do die from shelling, but on the other side people die from shelling and beheading and torture and slaughter. So the Syrian people want to see ISIS defeated and they celebrate the removal of the rebels from eastern Aleppo.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.