In a rare, frank report regarding the Syrian conflict, The Boston Globe has broken ranks, publishing an article on the deceptive narratives that politicians and main stream media news outlets have deployed during the conflict to their audiences.
‘Coverage of the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the American press. Reporting about carnage in the ancient city of Aleppo is the latest reason why.
For three years, violent militants have run Aleppo. Their rule began with a wave of repression. They posted notices warning residents: “Don’t send your children to school. If you do, we will get the backpack and you will get the coffin.” Then they destroyed factories, hoping that unemployed workers would have no recourse other than to become fighters. They trucked looted machinery to Turkey and sold it.’
‘Militants, true to form, are wreaking havoc as they are pushed out of the city by Russian and Syrian Army forces. “Turkish-Saudi backed ‘moderate rebels’ showered the residential neighborhoods of Aleppo with unguided rockets and gas jars,” one Aleppo resident wrote on social media. The Beirut-based analyst Marwa Osma asked, “The Syrian Arab Army, which is led by President Bashar Assad, is the only force on the ground, along with their allies, who are fighting ISIS — so you want to weaken the only system that is fighting ISIS?”
This does not fit with Washington’s narrative. As a result, much of the American press is reporting the opposite of what is actually happening. Many news reports suggest that Aleppo has been a “liberated zone” for three years but is now being pulled back into misery.’
The same narratives used in the US are also used in the UK and have continued for the entire conflict to date. This helps to maintain a coherent front by those involved, ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’, whether it represents reality or not.
Changes in these narratives have occurred such as ‘Assad must go’ before any further progress can be made, to ‘Assad can stay’ temporarily in order for a stable transition of power. Incidentally this proposal was floated by Russia over three years ago but was ignored by the West and it’s regional allies.
Despite this the general over arching narrative remains unchanged. That narrative being the support for the formation of a free and democratic Syria.
Other narratives have remained consistent such as Assad barrel bombing all civilians and opposition groups in opposition held territory (including democratic/moderate groups) with indiscriminate fire, forcing mass movement of refugees to neighboring countries and towards Europe.
What isn’t reported and made clear is the indiscriminate fire from unguided weapons by opposition forces into populated areas of Syrian government held territory. These include grad rockets, mortars, ‘hell cannon’ (large self made mortars), tanks, artillery pieces, technical’s , self made unguided rockets, IED’s etc. Much of this has also forced the mass movement of refugees to neighboring countries and towards Europe.
The true extent of fundamentalist opposition groups operating in Syria has purposefully remained out of reports by most main stream media news outlets and has hidden the reality that many groups harbor similar views and aspirations to that of IS.
For example, Sharia rules have been implemented in areas controlled by fundamentalist groups within the opposition, the same fundamentalist groups often found working with groups deemed moderate by the West.
Another example being the forced conversion or subsequent execution of civilians and religious minorities who do not convert to the Muslim faith once fundamentalist groups have captured a city, town or village, and the forced taxation of religious minorities in order to remain ‘safe’.
Negative reports relating to opposition forces in Syria are predominantly directed at IS and more recently Jabhat al Nusrah, although the extent of Jabhat al Nusrah’s influence and assistance on the ground with moderate deemed groups remains opaque.
This leaves the audience with a simplified, easy to swallow narrative that Assad and IS are bad, the rest of the opposition fighting on the ground are (predominantly) moderate and therefore good.
A propaganda war has been in full swing among all participants of the Syrian conflict since the beginning despite the fact that journalism is intended to be independent and free from bias.
The WIDER View continues to inform readers of the on-going misrepresentation of reality and flaws in narratives shamefully espoused by politicians or main stream media news outlets to their citizens.