10.03.2018 Author: Salman Rafi Sheikh

Why is Syria Bleeding—Again?

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There is a lot of vendetta in the mainstream western media when it comes to reporting on the war in Syria, on the ‘brutal’ destruction of Syria at the hands of its ‘dictator’ Bashar ul Assad and the support he is getting from his allies, Russia and Iran. One is almost taken away by the way the war in Syria is projected as the one between the ‘forces of good’ and ‘forces of evil’. Even a cursory look at the mainstream western media headlines of past few days would reveal that Russia is the primary villain in the crisis and that its role in protecting Syria against the notorious ‘regime-change’ policy is a ‘massive disservice’ to the democracy loving West. The recent projections are also based upon a dubious UN report that says that Russian air strikes might have caused “mass civilian deaths” in Syria and that Russia might have committed “war crimes” as well. Such projections are not only a reflection of typical American mindset vis-à-vis Russia, but also signify how momentum for more years of warfare in Syria is being developed gradually but definitely.

Russian and Syrian forces have been accused of killing civilians, but the fact that the Western powers and their allies in the Middle East continue to arm and fund the so-called “rebel” forces has been completely ignored in explaining as to why Syria continues to bleed. The fact of the matter is that if Russian and Syrian forces are engaged in a seemingly un-ending conflict, it is due only to the fact that Syria has a legitimate right to clear its territory of all the elements that have caused virtual havoc in the length and breadth of the country in past 6 years. And the fighting is not going to end any time soon.

The West is still following a certain war strategy and it is moving its chessboard pawns accordingly. The pawns have been moved to Eastern Ghouta, from where the US sponsored “rebels” are firing, on average, 70 rockets per day into Damascus, forcing people to flee from the capital once again. As such, while the western media was quick to point fingers at the Russians and Syrians for “war crimes”, no statements have been made or are forthcoming with regard to how the foreign-funded terrorists have turned the enclave on the suburbs of Damascus into a launch pad for mortar attacks on the Syrian capital.

According to reports—which are nonetheless not going to appear in the Western media because these reports don’t fit well with the western projections of Russia and Syria as ‘evil’ powers—Russia and Syria have already declared a unilateral ceasefire across Syria, except in areas that are overflowing with the foreign-funded terrorists of ISIS, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra Front and other individuals, groups and entities associated with these terror groups.

And, it is these funded groups which are spearheading the western agenda. While no official confirmation from Russia has come, one of the so-called “rebel groups” based in Eastern Ghouta have claimed responsibility for downing the Russian transport plane. While the claim cannot be verified, what, however, this claim explicitly shows is that the foreign-funded “rebel” groups are very active in Ghouta, that it is they the Russians and Syrians are fighting and that they are still bent upon bringing ‘regime change’ to Syria despite the fact that this objective hasn’t worked for them in past 6 years of war.

And, it is not just Russia and Syria that the US is targeting by using its proxy groups. Turkey, too, is starting to feel the heat of this renewed push for massive destruction. According to reports emerging in Turkish media, the Turkish government has been alarmed by an extraordinary movement of Kurdish groups from the east to the west of Euphrates river i.e., Afrin, where Turkey has been fighting the US-backed Kurdish militias, who in turn are pursuing an agenda of carving out a big territorial slice for themselves and divide Syria.

What adds more substance to the assumption that the US is actually funneling these groups to expand the fighting scene in Syria and raise stakes is that the US has previously denied repeatedly that they don’t have any link with the Kurds operating in northwest and that they are not aiding their operations there. Now the fact that the US is allowing these groups to move to Afrin shows how the US, contrary to previous claims, is actually aiding their fight and that it shares their objective of territorially dividing Syria.

Even according to western media reports, the Kurdish dominated SDF is using the territory under its control to bring in other groups to fight against Turkey, a situation that clearly shows the imminent disaster Syria is once again heading towards after years of successful fighting against ISIS.

What the new fighting scenario also proves is that ISIS was never the actual enemy of the people of Syria; it is those powers and forces that have been funding and continue to arm these “rebel groups” to rip Syria apart and thus lay the foundation for the success of the ‘US twenty-first Century Grand Strategy’, of which ‘regime-change’ is an essential part—an objective that has still not died out.

In nutshell, the reason why Syria continues to bleed even after ISIS has been completely destroyed is that the western war machine is still working as the chief perpetrator of the crisis. With the US still manipulating its proxy groups, both Kurds and Islamist groups, and with Israel finding new reasons to start its “first northern war” in Syria, there remains little doubt that Syria will continue to bleed and that if there is any force to be blamed for this massive humanitarian crisis, it’s the sponsors of terror—those who make money out of war and those who make money by first destroying and then by rebuilding the destroyed.

Salman Rafi Sheikh, research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.


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