BBC Newsnight featured an interview with Australian Jabhat Fateh al Sham spokesman Mostafa Mahamed (Director of Foreign Media Relations), a US designated fundraiser and facilitator of a terrorist organisation (Jabhat al Nusrah, now Jabhat Fateh al Sham) on 12 September 2016.
The BBC informs it’s viewers that Jabhat Fateh al Sham has fought and continues to fight alongside Western deemed moderate groups, but fails to inform viewers how long this co-operation has taken place for and why such co-operation has not been reported by the BBC throughout the conflict.
This is particularly important given the reason given for Western opposition support throughout the conflict is to achieve a democratic, free Syria.
- BBC Newsnight (12 Sep 2016):
- Youtube video BBC Newsnight interview with Mostafa Mahamed (12 Sep 2016):
In some what of a PR campaign, Mostafa Mohamed alleges that the opposition cannot be separated from Jabhat Fateh al Sham due to their close integration and embedded within society. He states that Jabhat Fateh al Sham fighters allegedly return to their homes among civilians after fighting on the battlefield and therefore cannot be targeted.
This only confirms The WIDER View’s earlier post regarding Western deemed moderate and fundamentalist Islamic groups opposing the latest ceasefire agreement. One main reason for this rejection is the requirement of Western deemed moderate groups to separate from Jabhat Fateh al Sham and other fundamentalist opposition groups fighting on the ground in Syria.
Western politicians and main stream media news outlets have consistently turned a blind eye to the scale of presence, influence, dominance and respect that fundamentalist groups like Jabhat Fateh al Sham and Ahrar al Sham have among Syria’s opposition groups.
Left to fight openly on the battlefield by US and coalition forces from the start of the conflict, fundamentalist Islamic groups are integral and indispensable to the opposition fighting force. They have proven time and again to be the most fierce and successful fighting groups among the opposition, spear heading attacks and taking areas long held by Syrian government and allied forces.
In typical fashion, the US, UK and other allied nations have ignored such groups for short term foreign policy gains but now the problems are surfacing from this approach, problems that may well bring down the ceasefire agreement.
The stated aim of Western support for opposition groups throughout the conflict is the implementation of a free, democratic Syria. With such dominant, powerful and influential fundamentalists cemented among Western deemed moderate groups, this stated aim was compromised by naive and ignorant Western foreign policy long ago.
UPDATE: 20 September 2016:
Jabhat Fateh al Sham Emir Abu Muhammad al Jawlani / Joulani expresses his opinion of the latest US and Russian brokered Cessation of Hostilities agreement in a recent interview with al Jazeera Arabic.
He ultimately believes the latest agreement is designed to create division among the opposition and the revolution, referring to the section in which the agreement requires that Western deemed moderate groups must separate from Jabhat Fateh al Sham and their affiliates or risk airstrikes.
He states that this cannot be achieved due to their deep integration among opposition groups, they have worked together throughout the Syrian conflict and continue to do so.
This is a point The WIDER View has raised on multiple occasions, it brings into question the very reasoning of support, for an armed insurrection, quoted by politicians and main stream news outlets for the duration of the conflict to present day.
He also states that civilians and JFS reject proposed aid being delivered into Aleppo and mentions protests by civilians to this regard. This rejection is based on the futility of sending aid into besieged areas as token gestures rather than addressing the siege situation itself.
- Youtube video Jabhat Fateh al Sham (17 Sep 2016) – Al Jazeera Arabic interview with Jabhat fateh al Sham Emir Abu Muhammad al Jawlani / Joulani (English subtitles):
Previous related post from The WIDER View:
- Following the start of the new Syrian ceasefire agreement, some opposition groups are not in agreement with the proposals: