BBC News failed to accurately inform the public of the true scale of fundamentalist Islamic group involvement in the Syrian opposition

The purpose of this post is to assess reports made by the BBC during the Syrian conflict and specifically regarding it’s presentation of the opposition to highlight the lack of clarity provided to the public in relation to the true scale, presence & involvement of fundamentalist Islamic groups.

Western main stream media news outlets and establishment politicians have down played fundamentalist opposition group involvement in the conflict & co-operation with Western deemed democratic groups, often neglecting to inform the public of fundamentalist groups that would reveal their ideological position in relation to the Western democratic forces narrative espoused throughout the conflict.

By choosing this approach, many reports contain a broad brush ‘rebels’ narrative that consistently masks the detail of actual group names and in turn masks the presence, territorial control or involvement of fundamentalist groups in defensive & offensive actions undertaken by the opposition.

The post initially focuses on 2012 and 2013 with further examples to be added for the years 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017 going forward.

 


 

July 2012:

BBC News reports on clashes taking place in Damascus involving Syrian government forces and ‘rebels’.

Armoured personnel carriers have been deployed in areas of Damascus, Syrian activists say, with clashes spreading on a second day of fighting.

The activists said troops backed by armoured vehicles had entered the Midan district to try to dislodge rebels.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said armour had not previously been deployed in Midan.

Its director, Rami Abdel Rahman, told Agence France-Presse: “Before, the security forces were deployed to suppress protests. Now, we have army troops engaged in combat.”

Two days of fighting have also seen clashes in the Tadhamon, Jobar and Kfar Sousa districts.

A spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army, Ahmed al-Khatib, told AFP: “Midan and Tadhamon are out of the army’s control. The army… are shelling from the outside, and clashes on the edges of the neighbourhoods continue.”

The pro-government al-Watan newspaper said “terrorist groups” were seeking to launch “the great battle” for the capital, but in its headline it said: “You will never get Damascus.”

 

BBC News report on clashes taking place in Aleppo involving Syrian government forces and ‘rebels’.

The battle for Aleppo was raging all around. The situation on the ground has completely changed from just a few days ago. The fighting has intensified and the government has deployed thousands of troops and tanks to try to recapture the neighbourhoods it ceded a week earlier.

The commander of the Tawhid Brigade, one of the largest groups of rebel fighters in Aleppo, called us in for a meeting.

But the odds they face are daunting. A conventional armed force with tanks, mortars, artillery, helicopter-gunships and fighter jets is now lined up against rebel fighters armed with Kalashnikov rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

However, the terrain of these heavily populated areas works to their advantage.

Many of the fighters are battle hardened in a way that the government’s soldiers are not. The rebels are also making their own improvised explosive devices and Molotov cocktails and are perhaps more willing to make the ultimate sacrifice than an army of conscripts and career soldiers.

Rebel fighters tried to marshal the crowds as hundreds of hungry and increasingly desperate residents clamoured for the thin round loaves.

 

BBC News report on clashes taking place in Aleppo involving Syrian government forces and ‘rebels’.

There have been fresh reports of clashes and attacks by helicopter gunships in Aleppo as the Syrian army offensive enters its fourth day.

State TV said Syrian forces were inflicting heavy losses on “terrorist groups” in Aleppo and also claimed government successes in Homs.

Thousands of refugees are continuing to flee Aleppo – Syria’s commercial hub.

According to Syrian TV, government troops have been gaining ground in several Aleppo neighbourhoods.

On Monday, it reported that the army had won complete control over Salah al-Din, one of the areas of Aleppo where rebel fighters from the Free Syrian Army had become entrenched.

But activists and rebel commanders denied that government forces had gained ground there.

State television completely ignored events in Aleppo in its early morning news programmes on Tuesday, the BBC’s Jim Muir in Beirut says.

Instead, it broadcast a detailed report from Homs, where it said the quarter of Qarabis, which has long been held by rebel fighters, had finally fallen to government forces.

But later bulletins carried reports of Syrian forces inflicting heavy losses on ”terrorist groups” in Aleppo districts.

All reports above label opposition groups as ‘rebels’ and ‘Free Syrian Army’ while adding quotation marks to the Syrian government description of armed groups as terrorists. Quotation marks used in this manner often implies that the author doesn’t agree with the use of the term or the suggestion of their presence.

Adding quotation marks to the Syrian government label of terrorist appears to show that the author does not give any credence to the suggestion of fundamentalist Islamic group presence in Damascus & Aleppo while seeking to maintain the democratic opposition narrative already in use by the BBC at this time.

In doing this, BBC News fails to inform the public of fundamentalist Islamic groups already fighting in and around Aleppo & Damascus at the time such as Jabhat al Nusrah, Ahrar al Sham and Fatah al Islam and the scale of their involvement in attacks. Indeed, the group al Tawhid Brigade reported in the second article as ‘rebels’ was actually a fundamentalist Islamic group fighting for an Islamic state governed under Sharia Law, not the ‘democratic, free Syria’ that the Western political & MSM establishments espoused and what they claimed the FSA label signified.

A BBC News report below from the following month shows the same al Tawhid Brigade, still claimed to be ‘FSA’ & ‘rebels’ by the BBC, setting up a SVBIED (Suicide Vehicle Borne Improved Explosive Device) attack in Aleppo.

  • BBC News video (23 Aug 2012) – BBC News HD – Syrian rebels try to use prisoner for suicide bombing 2012:

The reality at the time however was very different to that suggested and implied by the BBC given the fact that SITE Intel Group had already reported on numerous attacks by fundamentalist Islamic groups in and around Aleppo as seen in the links below & up to the date of the BBC report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The reports also lack context and fail to inform the public of the prevalence in fundamentalist Islamic group presence and the myriad of attacks they had already undertaken in areas such as Aleppo, Damascus, Dara’a, Hama and Idlib. It paints a picture of purely democratic opposition groups defending from government attacks while disregarding claims of terrorist presence and involvement in fighting for months before the report was even published.

Below is an article published by The Christian Science Monitor on 17 Feb 2012 in which the then Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper comments on the presence of the then Islamic State of Iraq (now IS) in Syria to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“We believe that Al Qaeda in Iraq is extending its reach into Syria”.

It was the first time that a top US official publicly confirmed the involvement of Al Qaeda in Iraq, or AQI, in the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which began nearly a year ago as peaceful protests for an end to his family’s four-decade-long rule.

Mr. Clapper’s comments came one week after a McClatchy report quoted unnamed US officials as saying that AQI was responsible for suicide bombings in Damascus in December and January, and was believed to be behind two strikes last week in Aleppo.

Clapper said that AQI extremists appear to have secretly joined some of the groups of civilians and military deserters – known collectively as the Free Syrian Army – who have taken up arms in response to the Assad regime’s brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.

Below I have provided additional context of the situation at the time and fundamentalist Islamic group attacks that had already taken place throughout the country before the BBC News reports were published and of which the BBC failed to inform the public at the time. These highlight the frequent attacks by fundamentalist Islamic groups such as Jabhat al Nusrah, already operating at the time undertaking bombings, suicide attacks, assassinations and assaults on military & police targets. One attack is also made on Syrian media outlet, Al-Ikhbariya in Damascus.

Links provided below contain reports in PDF format & video releases by fundamentalist Islamic group Jabhat al Nusrah themselves, detailing operations they have undertaken in various areas of Syria. All reported operations took place before the BBC News 31 July 2012 report on clashes in Aleppo and most before the BBC News 16 July 2012 report on Damascus. This is just one of the fundamentalist groups operating at the time.

 

Unconfirmed AQ group, thought that it could be JAN but un proven, see here for explanation on Jihadology.net

  • Jihadology.net (16 Feb 2012) – Check out my new post at al-Wasat: “Signs Beyond Western Eyes: Unpacking The Announcement of the al-Bara’ ibn Malik Martyrs Brigade”:

 

  • Jihadology.net (27 Feb 2012) – al-Manārah al-Bayḍā’ Foundation for Media Production presents a new video message from Jabhat al-Nuṣrah: “Battle of Revenge for the Free of ash-Shām (Syria)”:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Jihadology.net (20 Jun 2012) – New video message and booklet from Anṣār al-Mujāhidīn Arabic Forum on Jabhat al-Nuṣrah:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below are links to Archive.org videos released by fundamentalist Islamic group Ahrar al Sham, detailing operations they have undertaken in various areas of Syria. All videos were uploaded before the BBC News 31 July 2012 report on clashes in Aleppo and most before the BBC News 16 July 2012 report on Damascus. This is just one of the fundamentalist groups operating at the time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

November 2012:

BBC News report on the capture of al Ward oil field in Deir Ez zor by ‘rebels’.

Syrian rebels have captured a key oilfield in eastern Deir Ezzor province, activists say, after a siege lasting several days.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights group said al-Ward fell after fierce fighting, although the reports have not been independently confirmed.

The Observatory said it was the first time the rebels had taken control of an oilfield.

The head of the UK-based Observatory, Rami Abdel Rahman, said: “Rebels in the Jaafar Tayyar Brigade took control of al-Ward oilfield, east of the town of Mayadin, after a siege that lasted several days.

The report describes the Jaafar Tayyar Brigade as a ‘rebel’ group but makes no mention that it was a known fundamentalist Islamic group and co-operated with Jabhat al Nusrah as seen in the video below from 22nd February 2013 after both groups took control over the al Kibar/Kubar nuclear site just three months after the BBC article above was published.

This is also corroborated by a France 24 article dated the 28th February 2013 reporting the capture of al Kibar/Kubar as seen in the video above.

Jihadists fighting the Syrian regime – including the al-Nusra Front, the Jaafar al-Tayyar brigade and Soukour al-Suna – have taken control of the military site at Kubar, 60 kilometres from the city of Deir al-Zour.

Jihadist rebels and rebels from the Free Syrian Army currently surround another military site, the “113” aerial defence base (Brigade 113) in the same region of Deir al-Zour. This base contains mobile launch ramps and ground-to-ground, short-range Frog missiles – also of Soviet construction – that could soon be in the rebels’ hands.

 

BBC News report on the operation to capture Taftanaz airbase by ‘rebels’.

Rebels in Syria say they are locked in a fierce battle with government forces to take control of a key airbase.

The attack on Taftanaz took place as dawn broke, with as many as five different units of rebel fighters reportedly opening fire with multiple rocket launchers, mortars and other weaponry.

The Daily Telegraph’s correspondent Richard Spencer, close to the base, says the attack represents a change of tactics by the rebels.

“They’ve been making very slow progress in grinding the regime down in the big cities like Aleppo and Damascus, so they’ve started attacking the supply lines,” he told the BBC.

“The rebels are short on weapons. They have Kalashnikovs, they have rocket-propelled grenades, they are thought now to have a few shoulder-mounted missiles, but that doesn’t really go a long way against tanks, against helicopters in the air particularly, and MIG fighter jets.”

Rebel forces are reported to have taken control of the main roads in much of the area south-west of Aleppo.

The video said the rebel groups involved included several brigades of the Free Syrian Army, but also the radical Islamist al-Nusra Front.

The BBC’s Jim Muir in neighbouring Lebanon says that although nothing certain has been established, al-Nusra has been named in connection with the killing of captured army soldiers two days ago at Saraqeb, just 15km (10 miles) from where this latest attack is taking place.

The report labels the different opposition groups attacking Taftanaz airbase as rebels and Free Syrian Army with a small mention made of fundamentalist Islamic group Jabhat al Nusrah.  This may give the deceptive impression that fundamentalist groups played a minor role in the offensive. In fact a number of fundamentalist groups took part in the operation including Jabhat al Nusrah, Ahrar al Sham and Ansar al sham, playing a leading role in the eventual capture.

The al Jazeera videos below highlight this fact after it’s capture in early January 2013.

  • Youtube video (11 Jan 2013) – Opposition fighters overrun Taftanaz airbase in Syria:
  • Youtube video (11 Jan 2013) – Syria rebels speak out after capturing main Idlib airbase:

The following video shows footage allegedly taken inside Taftanaz airbase likely shot by Ahrar al sham, the logo in the top right hand corner is that of the Syrian Islamic Front, a fundamentalist Islamic coalition made up of a number of Islamist groups including Ahrar al sham.

  • Youtube video (10 Jan 2013) – From inside the airport of Tuftnaz Military 10-1-2012:

 


 

February 2013:

BBC News report on the capture of al-Jarrah/Jirah air base in Aleppo by ‘rebels’.

Syrian rebels have captured a military air base near the northern city of Aleppo, activists say.

Fighters took control of al-Jarrah base after days of clashes there with security forces, reports said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based activists group, said rebels killed or held about 40 government troops as they took over al-Jarrah air base.

AFP quoted SOHR director Rami Abdel Rahman as saying that, for the first time, rebels captured usable MiG fighter jets, whereas previous air bases had yielded only damaged aircraft.

Amateur video posted on the internet appeared to show rebels overrunning the air base, with helicopters and fighter jets on the tarmac and in shelters.

The report makes no mention of fundamentalist opposition group Ahrar al sham involved who filmed the captured base in the video’s below (deceptively labelled as ‘FSA’) and confirmed in the following al Jazeera report.

 

Amateur video shot by fighters overrunning al-Jarrah and distributed via the Internet showed a fleet of warplanes lining the airport’s runways.

“Thank God, Ahrar al-Sham [an armed opposition group] have overrun the military airport” at al-Jarrah, said an unidentified cameraman who shot a video at the site.

“MiG warplanes are now in the hands of Ahrar al-Sham. And here is the ammunition,” the cameraman added, filming two Russian-made fighter jets similar to those used by the army since last summer to bombard rebel targets.

 


 

March 2013:

BBC News report on the capture of Raqqa by ‘rebels’.

Syrian rebels have captured the governor of the northern province of Raqqa after over-running most its capital city, activists say.

Amateur video said to be from Raqqa appeared to show Hassan Jalili and another senior ruling party official seated among jubilant armed fighters.

In the past rebels have often struggled to hold on to territory they have taken.

In video posted on the internet, a large number of purported government soldiers and pro-government gunmen are seen sitting on the ground, surrounded by rebels shouting “Allahu Akbar!” (God is greatest).

The SOHR is one of the most prominent organisations documenting and reporting incidents and casualties in the Syrian conflict. The group says its reports are impartial, though its information cannot be independently verified.

The group said the jihadist al-Nusra Front were among the rebel groups which took part in fierce fighting against regime forces in the city.

Throughout the report, the BBC refers to all groups as ‘rebels’ and making one mention of fundamentalist Islamic group Jabhat al Nusrah participation while quoting the SOHR.

The BBC News report remains vague and fails to make clear that the capture of Raqqa was achieved largely by fundamentalist Islamic groups including IS (Islamic State of Iraq & the Levant at the time), Jabhat al Nusrah, Ahrar al sham and Western deemed moderate groups including the Syrian Martyrs’ Brigade, Raqqa Revolutionaries & God’s Victory Brigade, of which the latter two groups would join Jabhat al Nusrah just six months later as seen in the following Reuters link.

A report released on the same day as the BBC News article (05 March 2013) by Stratfor clearly states Jabhat al Nusrha’s key role in spearheading the offensive to capture Raqqa.

The following videos show fundamentalist Islamic group Ahrar al sham (part of the Syrian Islamic Front) attacking the Syrian Army 17th Division in Raqqa, fundamentalist Islamic group ISIL public execution in May 2013 & Western deemed moderate Syrian Martyrs’ Brigade allegedly downing a military aircraft.

  • Youtube video (18 Mar 2013) – Ahrar Al Sham: throw with a cannon 23 on the band 17 Al-Raqqa:
  • Youtube video (18 Mar 2013) – Ahrar Al Sham: combing the building of Al Rahba leadership in Band 17:

 

WARNING: Graphic content.

  • Youtube video (14 May 2013) – The Islamic state in Iraq and the Levant implements the rule of punishment with a discipline of pigs of Nasiriyah in Raqqa:
  • Youtube video (08 Mar 2013) – The landing of a military aircraft in al-Raqqa:

 


 

May 2013:

BBC News report on the assault of Aleppo prison by ‘rebels’.

Rebel fighters have launched a massive assault on the prison in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo, reports say.

The rebels apparently detonated two car bombs to blast through the walls of the prison, which holds 4,000 inmates including anti-government activists.

Rebel sources told the BBC that they had broken into the prison, and had made progress in their fight against government forces.

The report fails to inform the reader of fundamentalist Islamic groups taking part in the assault, choosing instead to amalgamate both Western deemed moderate and fundamentalist Islamic groups under the one label of ‘rebels’.

The BBC News report does not make clear the specific involvement of fundamentalist Islamic groups that included Jabhat al Nusrah, Ahrar Al-Sham and the Army of the Muhajireen in the assault which continued for a further year before the Syrian Army eventually broke the siege in May 2014.

The Institute for the Study of War reported that Jabhat al Nusrah was leading an assault on the prison alongside ‘other FSA brigades’ on August 2013 as stated on their twitter account below.

ISW 2013

The same group initiated the suicide car bomb attacks as mentioned in the BBC article above and continued to do so as seen in this Long War Journal article below from February 2014 below showing a suicide attack on the prison by a British member of Jabhat al Nusrah.

Additional videos also show attacks on the prison by fundamentalist Islamic groups including Ahrar al Sham & the al Tawhid Brigade as seen in the top left hand logo of the videos linked below which title’s the groups as ‘FSA’.

  • Youtube video (01 April 2013) – Declaration of the battle to disband the prisoners in the city of Aleppo:

 

  • Youtube video (01 April 2013) – The beginning of the battle – the battle to dismantle the prisoners in the city of Aleppo:

 

 

Upon the breaking of the year-long prison siege in May 2014 by Syrian forces, a BBC News article was released that now mentioned Jabhat al Nusrah had taken part since the offensive started in 2013 stating that groups included ‘Jabhat al Nusrah and other Islamist rebels groups’ that it didn’t mention in the May 2013 article.

Yet much of the article again generalizes the opposition as ‘rebels’, and ‘rebel held parts of Aleppo’ making no distinction between both fundamentalist Islamic groups & alleged Western deemed moderate groups and their territories.

The area is strategically important as it lies near a key supply route for fighters in rebel-held parts of Aleppo.

Fighters with the al-Nusra Front, which is affiliated to al-Qaeda, and other Islamist rebel groups began besieging the prison in April 2013.

They have since launched several attacks – including car bombs – trying to free as many as 3,000 inmates believed to be held inside the prison.

Briton Abdul Waheed Majeed died in February driving a truck bomb into the gates of the prison.

Mr Abdul Rahman said the recapture of the prison and its surrounding area by government forces had blocked a “path for essential supplies to rebel fighters between areas they control and the Turkish border”.

 


 

May / June 2013:

BBC News report on the re-capture of al Qusayr/Qusair by the Syrian Arab Army and allied militias including Hezbollah.

The defeat of Syrian rebel forces who have now withdrawn from their positions in the town of Qusair represents a significant victory for the government and its Hezbollah allies.

The report makes mention of ‘rebel’ forces withdrawing from Qusayr/Qusair but makes no mention of who the rebel forces are that occupied the area before withdrawing.

More information is provided by a New York Times report published a couple of weeks before the BBC report which highlighted fundamentalist groups fighting the Syrian Army and affiliated militias including Hezbollah.

The Free Syrian Army, the loose-knit rebel umbrella group backed by the United States, issued a statement bound to fuel its frontal battle with Hezbollah, attacking the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah. “We are today calling Nasrallah a killer of the Syrian people,” a spokesman, Louay Mekdad, told the Al-Arabiya channel

The battle also increasingly seemed to pit Hezbollah, the region’s most battle-hardened Shiite force, head-on against Sunni jihadis, some accused of affiliation with Al Qaeda. Rebels flying the black banner often used by Al Nusra Front, the extremist rebel group — listed, like Hezbollah, as a terrorist group by the United States — filmed themselves attacking armored vehicles at close range with machine guns and taking deadly fire.

 


 

July 2013:

BBC News report on the capture of Khan al Assal by ‘rebels’.

A strategic town close to the northern city of Aleppo has fallen to Syrian rebels, according to UK-based activist group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The rebel victory comes after several defeats at the hands of Syrian armed forces.

A rebel group calling itself the Ninth Division announced it had captured Khan al-Assal in an online video.

“We the leadership of the Ninth Division announce that the town of Khan al-Assal has been completely liberated,” a rebel commander said in a video posted on Youtube.

Syria’s main opposition alliance has condemned the alleged execution of government forces when rebels captured the northern town of Khan al-Assal.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 150 soldiers had been killed last week, 51 of them summarily executed.

State media accused “terrorist groups” of committing a massacre, and said most of the victims had been civilians.

At the same time, the SOHR said it had received reports from locals that more than 150 “regime forces” had been killed by rebels who took over Khan al-Assal on 22 and 23 July.

“About 51 of the casualties were summarily executed by the rebels. They included about 30 officers and line officers,” the UK-based activist group.

In the first BBC report, they credit the ‘rebel’ group Ninth Division in the capture of Khan al Assal but make no mention of the close co-ordination of Western deemed moderate and fundamentalist Islamic groups highlighted in the Syria Direct article below who also took part.

In the second report, the BBC also make no mention of groups involved in the mass execution of Syrian government troops following its capture by Western deemed moderate & fundamentalist groups. The executions were committed by Jabhat al Nusrah and the Ansar al-Khilafa Brigade yet the BBC still refer to them as ‘rebels’.

The Syrian army continues its floundering Northern Storm campaign, launched on June 9th and aiming to retake Aleppo and the surrounding areas from rebel hands. Hezbollah militias were reportedly deployed by the Assad regime across Aleppo to assist in the operation, but even they have not been enough to fend off the rebels.

Activists credit effective coordination between disparate rebel factions, from FSA brigades to the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra as a key factor in the resurgence.

“There are a number of operations rooms designated for joint efforts [between factions],” says Abu Wahid, an activist with the revolution’s Local Coordination Committee in Aleppo, who provided only a nickname.

Mr. Abdulrahman said the killers were members of the Nusra Front and Ansar al-Khalafa al-Islamiya Brigade, among the many jihadist groups, some affiliated with Al Qaeda and populated with foreign fighters, that have entered Syria to join the insurgency battling the forces of President Bashar al-Assad in the conflict, now in its third year.

 


 

August 2013:

BBC News reports on the capture of Menagh Air Base following a long siege by opposition groups that began in 2012.

Rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have captured a key airbase in Aleppo province, near the Turkish border, activists say.

The pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said rebels took Menagh airport early on Tuesday.

The opposition has been trying to capture the base since last year.

The Menagh airbase, north of Aleppo, is isolated in rebel-held territory and had been under siege since last December.

Rebels gradually captured most of the sprawling base in recent months, leaving only about 70 loyalist troops pinned down in the command headquarters.

Our correspondent says the final push, carried out by at least nine different rebel groups, began with a suicide bomb attack on the headquarters, reportedly by a Saudi militant.

The report refers to the myriad of opposition groups taking part as ‘rebels’ and makes no mention of exactly who the opposition groups involved were despite being known at the time.

The attack involved the FSA group North Storm but was led by fundamentalist groups Jabhat al Nusrah (still part of ISIS at this time), Ahrar al Sham and Chechen led Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar, a fundamentalist group made up of foreign fighters as highlighted by the New York Times report below.

while it is too early to say who played the decisive role at Minakh, Islamist battalions and Free Syrian Army fighters seem to have worked together there.

The base was first besieged by a Free Syrian Army brigade called North Storm, and joined by fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham and a group calling itself Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar. Muhajireen means emigrants, and the group, which carried out several suicide attacks at the base, is led by Russian speakers from Chechnya and other parts of the Caucasus.

Mr. Farzat said Chechen Islamist fighters near the airport had refused to let the defecting government soldiers flee, so he helped them escape by another route. “I give the Islamic fighters credit for the liberation,” he said.

 


 

December 2013:

BBC report on the capture of al Kindi hospital by ‘rebels’.

Rebels in the Syrian city of Aleppo have set off a massive suicide lorry bomb to seize back a strategic ruined hospital occupied by Assad loyalists.

Militants driving up in an armoured personnel carrier later piled into one of its wings.

According to an unconfirmed report, 35 rebels died in the attack.

Analysts say the capture of the ruined hospital does not alter significantly the balance of forces in Aleppo, Syria’s battle-scarred second city, but it is a boost for the rebels and their Islamist allies after recent reverses.

The gunmen who overran the ruined hospital included both conservative Muslim groups and factions with links to al-Qaeda, Aleppo-based activist Abu al-Hassan Marea was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

The BBC report makes brief mention of Islamist groups taking part in the operation to capture al Kindi hospital and also includes a video showing part of the assault stating that the video was uploaded ‘by a rebel group’.

The ‘rebel’ group that uploaded the video is fundamentalist Islamic group Harakat Fajr ash-Sham al-Islamiya, now part of Jabhat Ansar al Din, a western deemed terrorist organisation and Jabhat al Nusrah (AQ) affiliate. Jabhat al Nusrah also took part in the operation as stated in the video below by the participants.

  • Youtube video (06 Dec 2013) – Al-Nusra Front Attacks The Al-Kindi Hospital In Aleppo:

Again the BBC does not provide any specific information and chooses to generalise its descriptions of fundamentalist Islamic groups involved, preferring to use the term ‘rebels’ and a vague description of ‘conservative Muslim groups and factions with links to al Qaeda’.

Below is a video link to part of the attack by fundamentalist Islamic group Harakat Fajr ash-Sham al-Islamiya on al Kindi hospital.

Below is another video link of a suicide attack (SVBIED) by fundamentalist Islamic group Harakat Fajr ash-Sham al-Islamiya on al Kindi hospital from the December 2013 assault.

 


 

May 2014:

BBC News reports on the evacuation of ‘rebels’ from the city of Homs but makes no mention of the fact that this includes fundamentalist Islamic groups, their fighters & families as well as Western deemed moderate groups.

Hundreds of rebels have been evacuated from their last stronghold in the central Syrian city of Homs.

The withdrawal is part of a deal that will also see rebels release dozens of captives and ease two sieges.

The BBC’s Paul Wood in Beirut says the rebel fighters and their families were sad and bitter as they said goodbye to a place they swore they would never leave.

The first convoy arrived soon afterwards at the rebel-held towns of Talbisah and Dar al-Kabira, about 20km (12 miles) to the north.

The BBC failed to make clear the presence of fundamentalist Islamic groups that made up much of the remaining opposition in Homs and again consistently used a broad brush ‘rebels’ label masking this reality. However the Washington Post managed to include a quote by a pro opposition activist mentioning fundamentalist Islamic group Jabhat al Nusrah’s presence and evacuation.

About 600 rebels had left the city by the end of the day, activists said Wednesday, with evacuations expected to continue Thursday. They said that even hard-line fighters from Jabhat al-Nusra, a rebel group affiliated with al-Qaeda, had agreed to the deal.

This is also corroborated by the Independant who state that the remaining evacuees were members of Jabhat al Nusrah and other Islamic groups.

The rebels had pledged to fight to the end in 13 neighbourhoods in and around the historic quarters of Homs where they had been holed up under siege for more than a year. Some fighters had said they would rather die than give up the city.

The rebels are believed to be members of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front group and other Islamic factions.

 

2014 to be continued.

 


 

2015:

 

2015 to be continued.

 


 

August 2016:

BBC News report on-going conflict in Aleppo between Syrian Army and ‘rebels’.

Rebel factions who claim to have made gains in Syria’s city of Aleppo have come under intense air bombardment from pro-government forces.

The rebels earlier said they had broken a weeks-long government siege of Aleppo – a claim denied by Damascus.

Meanwhile, the rebel coalition said it would double the number of fighters to launch a new offensive and retake the whole city.

 

The report refers to the myriad of opposition groups as ‘rebels’ and does not make clear who the opposition groups involved were despite being known at the time. The actual name of ‘rebel coalition’ was Jaish al Fatah (The Army of Conquest) which was led by fundamentalist Islamic groups Jabhat al Nusrah/Jabhat Fatah al sham and Ahrar al sham and worked in direct co-operation with Western deemed moderate groups.

The BBC withholds the name of the group from the article despite being well-known at the time and reported in a Daily Mail article on the same day as seen below.

The BBC quotes the fundamentalist coalition as stating “We will not rest until we raise the flag of the conquest over Aleppo’s citadel,” but avoids making clear that the coalition is made up of fundamentalist groups, fails to state any group names and indeed fails to state the coalition name Army of Conquest / Jaish al Fatah, to which ‘the flag of the conquest’ in the quote refers.

The “Army of Conquest”, a coalition of rebels and jihadists, said it would “double the number of fighters for this next battle”.

“We announce the start of a new phase to liberate all of Aleppo” after a week of continuous fighting, the group said in a statement.

“We will not rest until we raise the flag of the conquest over Aleppo’s citadel,” it added.

 

2016 to be continued.

 


 

2017:

 

2017 to be continued.

 


 

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