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29 Feb, 2020 18:56

Tulsi to MSM: Stop referring to Al-Qaeda in Syria’s Idlib as ‘rebels’ to make them seem like ‘freedom fighters’

Tulsi to MSM: Stop referring to Al-Qaeda in Syria’s Idlib as ‘rebels’ to make them seem like ‘freedom fighters’

The US media and officials who stubbornly keep referring to armed groups dominated by an Al-Qaeda offshoot in Syria’s Idlib province as ‘rebels’ only disgrace themselves and their country, US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has said.

Gabbard, who is one of the Democratic Party contenders in the 2020 presidential race, castigated American mainstream media and Trump administration officials for a consistent effort to whitewash the extremists entrenched in the north-western province of Idlib – Syria’s last major stronghold of anti-government forces. Such actions betray the memory of the 9/11 terrorist attack, one of the worst tragedies in modern American history, she said.

The corporate media needs to stop referring to Al-Qaeda and their affiliated groups in Idlib as ‘rebels’ in a deceptive effort to make them seem like freedom fighters. I and thousands of Americans enlisted after Al-Qaeda’s attack on 9/11. The media and the Trump administration’s continued labelling of these terrorists as ‘rebels’ is a disgrace and dishonor for all our men and women in uniform and our entire country.

In her address, published on Twitter, the congresswoman also demanded that US President Donald Trump refrain from aiding Turkey in what she called its “invasion of northern Syria,” which she said might lead the US to a conflict with Russia. She also called on Congress to pass her Stop Arming Terrorists Act, which would bar Washington from assisting countries supporting terrorist groups.

The US special representative, James Jeffrey, recently stated that he had not seen Hayat Tahrir al-Sham – an Al-Qaeda offshoot controlling most part of militant-held Idlib – "planning or carrying out international terrorism attacks." This statement, referring to a group already designated a terrorist one in the US itself, provoked an angry reaction from Moscow, which called it “absolutely unacceptable.” 

Also on rt.com US proposals to start dialogue with terrorists in Idlib are unacceptable – Russian FM

Earlier, the US media repeatedly referred to militants and extremists in Idlib as ‘rebels’ suffering from the actions of the Syrian Army, while completely ignoring the atrocities committed by Islamists. 

Gabbard’s statement comes amid a rapid escalation of tensions in Syria’s Idlib province, where the Syrian Army operation against militants and extremists – some of whom were supported by Ankara – led to deadly clashes between the Syrian and Turkish forces deployed to the area. Ankara then vowed to launch a full-scale military operation to stop the Syrian Army’s advancement.

The developments also strained Turkey’s relations with Russia, which is both a Damascus ally and Ankara’s close partner. Moscow still actively seeks to ease the tensions through diplomatic means, though Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has so far seemed determined to continue on his current path.

Turkey also asked the US to deploy Patriot air defense systems on Turkish soil as a demonstration of the support it expects from a NATO ally.

Also on rt.com Thanks NATO, but what about missiles? Ankara urges US to deploy Patriot systems to Turkey amid Idlib standoff

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