BRITAIN was involved in smuggling arm shipments to the terrorists in Syria from the beginning of 2012, training and organising them under the name of ‘moderate opposition’, in an operation that lasted many years in cooperation with the US and Saudi Arabia, alleges British journalist and writer, Mark Curtis.
New documents obtained by Curtis, in an article published on the ‘Middle East Eye’ website reveal that Britain began secret operations against Syria at the beginning of the terrorist war on Syria.
According to Curtis: ‘Documents obtained by investigative journalist Ian Cobain at Middle East Eye provide details of five UK covert propaganda programmes in Syria that began in 2012, involving the creation of a network of citizen journalists across the country to shape perceptions of the conflict.’
The new revelations challenge some of the dominant narratives of the war promoted in the British mainstream media, notably that the UK has played only a small or no role in the conflict, and that it has supported only ‘moderate’ opposition groups, Middle East Eye said.
‘They also confirm that the British public can be seen as a target for propaganda operations by their own government,’ it added.
The journalists involved in the propaganda programmes were hired from offices in Istanbul and Amman set up by UK government contractors with funding from Britain, the US and Canada. They were commissioned to produce TV footage, radio programmes, social media, posters, magazines and even children’s comics.
The projects were run by Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) and military intelligence officers, and guided by the government’s National Security Council, Britain’s highest policy-making body, with a budget of £9.6m ($11.9m) during 2015-16 alone, with more money earmarked for later years.
The documents show that the UK was covertly running parts of the Syrian opposition. It awarded contracts to communications companies that selected and trained opposition spokespeople, managed their press offices and developed their social media accounts.
Pursuing the same theme, Chairman of the Commission on Information and Media of the Russian Federation Council Alexey Pushkov said that Western countries are still supporting terrorist organisations in Syria, and insisting on imposing their unilateral coercive measures against the country despite the global pandemic due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Pushkov’s remarks came during a press video conference quoted by Rossiya Segodnya agency on Thursday.
Pushkov called on lifting unilateral and coercive US and Western sanctions imposed on countries such as Syria and Iran in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, as the sanctions have further complicated the epidemiological situation in these countries and the international health situation in general.
In response to a Syrian News Agency (SANA) reporter’s question, Pushkov expressed regret that the pandemic has failed to create an opportunity for resolving crises and conflicts in international relations, indicating that Syria is one of the examples of this, as the pandemic did not contribute to finding the will among some countries to resolve the crisis in Syria.
Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Vasily Nebenzia, renewed his country’s call for lifting the coercive economic measures imposed on Syria.
In a statement via video during the UN Security Council session on the situation in Syria on Monday evening, Nebenzia stressed that these measures harm the Syrian people and hinder the efforts of the Syrian government to confront the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
He clarified that the coronavirus poses an additional challenge for the Syrian people in light of the unilateral coercive measures which caused damage to the economic and health sectors in Syria.
Nebenzia pointed out that the coercive measures impede the purchase of medical equipment and that international humanitarian NGOs cannot work effectively for fear of imposing sanctions on them.
He pointed out that the spread of the coronavirus had an impact on the process of a political solution to the crisis in Syria, like other political processes around the world, indicating in this regard that the Syrian government and the Syrian people are working together to restore normal life.
On the situation in Idlib, Nebenzia talked about the terrorists’ repeated violations of the cessation of hostilities agreement and their continuous targeting of the Syrian Arab Army sites.
The Russian diplomat stressed the necessity of returning all areas to the authority of the Syrian state, explaining that the American forces are illegally present in the al-Hawl camp, al-Tanf area, and in al-Rukban camp.
‘It is impossible to achieve security and stability in these areas unless they return to the state authority,’ he said.
Nebenzia demanded answers about what is happening in northeastern Syria, where the American occupation forces are present, regarding terrorists fleeing to other countries.
The Russian official concluded by calling for helping Syria in the reconstruction and the political process for reaching a solution to the crisis between the Syrians themselves without external interference.
The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned ‘the illegitimate and unjust’ sanctions imposed by the European Union on Syria, calling for lifting them immediately to confront the coronavirus.
‘We call on the EU to lift the unilateral measures against Syria and suggest it would take a stance in solidarity with the Syrian people and stand by them in confronting the dangerous threat posed by the coronavirus,’ the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on its website page.
It added that the EU sanctions against Syria are illegitimate and unilateral and they were taken from outside the UN Security council.
The statement pointed out that the EU medical and humanitarian shipments to Syria are at a zero level because of the wide bulk of restrictions imposed on the country and though the EU’s recognition that the sanctions may affect the capabilities of countries to face coronavirus.
The Canadian Global Research website in an article published on Thursday likewise stressed that the unilateral coercive economic measures imposed on Syria deprive the Syrian people of medicine and medical equipment which enhance their ability to confront the coronavirus.
The website pointed out that the United States’ failure in achieving its goals in Syria through the terrorist war pushed it to use another kind of war, particularly through targeting the health sector in an attempt to achieve its ends.
In Syria itself, meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry affirmed that terrorist organisations in Idlib province are continuing their attacks in the de-escalation zone.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov told Interfax in a statement that terrorists, especially Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists, are increasing their capacities in the area, and impeding the Russian joint patrols with the Turkish regime.
He underlined that Moscow continues to implement the memorandum signed with the Turkish regime in Sochi in this regard, but the reports received indicate that the situation remains tense there.
The Syrian Arab Army’s checkpoint intercepted on Wednesday a convoy of military vehicles of the US occupation forces, and forced it to retreat in Tal Tamer northwest of Hasaka.
A SANA reporter in Hasaka said that the army’s checkpoint intercepted a convoy of military vehicles of the US occupation forces, preventing it from crossing towards Um al-Khair village in the western countryside of Tal Tamer northwest of Hasaka, forcing it to return to its illegitimate bases.
Meanwhile, several people were injured when an IED exploded in Efrin city in Aleppo’s northern countryside where Turkish occupation forces and terrorist groups backed by them are positioned.
Local sources told SANA’s reporter that an IED exploded on Jendairis road near al-Qabban roundabout in Efrin city, injuring a number of people and causing damage to property.
Finally, the resumption of the Syrian Football Premier League has taken the front headlines of a number of the international websites, the latest of which was the site of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
A report for the Asian Confederation, posted on its official website, said that the resumption of the Syrian Premier League will be a good turning-point for the return of the Arab leagues to compete after the suspension of sport activities in the majority of the world’s countries because of coronavirus.
The Iraqi Sport federation decided to resume the local League as of July 3rd.
The report appreciated the preventive measures taken by the Syrian Federation as the games will be held without spectators.
Tishreen leads the Premier league with 39 points, followed by al-Wathaba with 33 points, then Hiteen and al-Jaish with 30 points each.