Thursday, December 15, 2016

Militants are being given safe passage out of Aleppo


The siege of Aleppo has resulted in an extraordinary amount of savagely partisan propaganda. The absence of reliable journalists and humanitarian organisations on the ground there means that distortions, exaggerations and lies from either side have spread like wildfire.

One incredible example of the spread of bizarrely distorted propaganda is the endlessly repeated claim that up to 100,000 civilians remained trapped in the 2km militia controlled area of Aleppo. If this claim is true then that besieged district of Aleppo was by far the most heavily populated area on the planet, with over seven times the population density of Hong Kong!

It's not clear where this ludicrous 100,000 claim originated, but it was soon being spread all over the mainstream media, being repeated unquestioningly by mainstream media stooges and supposedly anti-establishment commentators like Owen Jones alike.

The brazen misrepresentation of reality can also be seen in the mainstream media coverage of the ongoing evacuation of the last militant occupied area of Aleppo. In reality the evacuation has been carefully negotiated to allow the militant occupiers of Aleppo safe passage to the militant controlled area of Idlib in return for the safe passage of aid convoys into the besieged Assad-loyal villages of Al-Fu'ah and Kafriya.

The fact that the combatants who occupied Aleppo for four years have been allowed to leave on convoys of busses to fight another day (perhaps in Syria, perhaps elsewhere in the Middle East, or in Europe) is being portrayed very oddly in the British mainstream media.

Instead of admitting that militants and their families are being allowed to escape from the small besieged district of Aleppo they had been cornered in, so that the relentless fighting in Aleppo can finally come to an end, the British press are describing the evacuation of militant fighters purely as an evacuation of civilians.

The Daily Mirror described the evacuation of militant fighters and their families as "buses packed with terrified civilians leaves besieged city". The Guardian coverage barely even implied that militants were amongst the evacuees by quoting an International Red Cross source saying that the "majority" of evacuees were civilians (meaning some were combatants). The BBC at least openly admitted the fact that militants were being evacuated, but waited until the fourth paragraph to do so. Not only did the ITV coverage fail to mention that militant fighters were among the evacuees, but they also recycled the ludicrous 100,000 trapped civilians figure too.

It's a sign of the contempt that mainstream journalists hold towards the general public that they expect us to believe that all of the evacuees from Aleppo are all innocent civilians, and presumably that the militants who occupied the city for four years just somehow just disappeared into the ether, despite being totally surrounded in their final besieged enclave.

The question has to be why the UK media appears so reluctant to tell the British public the truth about Islamist militants being allowed to leave Aleppo amongst the civilian evacuees.

Another mainstream media agenda to consider is the glaring contrast between the hysterical mainstream media reaction to the siege of Aleppo and the near complete silence over the ongoing siege of Mosul in Iraq. The parallels between the two sieges are undeniable. Both cities are occupied by Islamist militants with thousands of civilians trapped in the crossfire. The big difference is that the siege of Aleppo was carried out by Syrian government forces, Iranian fighters and Russia, while the siege of Mosul is being carried out by Iraqi government forces, Kurdish fighters and the United States.

One battle has been routinely described in the western media with phrases like "complete meltdown of humanity" while the other has gone almost totally ignored since the early days of the siege.


The mainstream media's over-reliance on the grandiose sounding Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is another example of western media organisations reporting biased material at face value. Reports in the mainstream press never mention the fact that this official sounding organisation is actually run from Coventry by a single anti-Assad campaigner who hasn't visited Syria in ten years. It doesn't matter how often this is pointed out, the mainstream press continue to give the partisan SOHR the same kind of billing as the United Nations or legitimate aid organisations like the Red Crescent.

Of course Russian media outlets are biased in the other direction (some of them describing all of the evacuees as "militants and their families"), but that's absolutely no excuse for the western mainstream media spreading absurdly inflated figures, relying on information gleaned from partisan sources, or the absurd efforts by the UK press to portray the evacuation of militants from Aleppo as a purely civilian relief operation.


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