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The 'revolutionary' face of the Syrian conflict

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By Nicola Nasser*


Anatomy of Syria's rebel-terrorist operation
(image by Google)
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Reports are abound by international organizations about the responsibility of the Syrian government for the human rights violations in the ongoing conflict in Syria, now in its fourth year, but the responsibility of the insurgents has been kept away from media spotlight for political reasons.

However, the horrible image of the "revolutionary" performance imposed itself on the media and public opinion to an extent that it has become impossible to black it out anymore.

Internationally last Thursday, for example, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said that Russia's and China's vetoes against a United Nations Security Council resolution to refer allegations of war crimes in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) "protect monstrous terrorist organizations operating in Syria " who are pursuing a fundamentalist assault on the Syrian people that knows no decency or humanity."

Regionally on the same day, The Yemeni Coordination Committee for the Support of Syrian Revolution dissolved itself in protest against what it called in a statement "the diversion and transformation of the leaders of the revolution and opposition into terrorist gangs and groups."

Since U.S. President Barak Obama imposed sanctions on April 29, 2011 on some Syrian officials reportedly accused of using violence against civilians, the U.S., European and regional sponsors of a "regime change" in the country have so far held the Syrian government as the only party accountable. The UN and western international human rights organizations followed suit.

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Their blackout of the insurgents' responsibility could not be avoided otherwise those sponsors would be held accountable as well and consequently could not continue their support to the insurgents with impunity, because without their support the insurgents would not have survived.

Their reluctance to arm the Syrian rebels with advanced weapons lest they fall into the hands of the terrorist organizations could not cover up their initial and ongoing arming and recruitment efforts, which empowered the militarization of the peaceful civilian protests with its most extreme Syrian and non-Syrian insurgents.

On last April 8, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay was quoted as saying in a briefing to the UN Security Council that the actions of the forces of the Syrian government "far outweigh" the crimes by the "opposition" fighters.

Statistics Tell a Different Story

However, scrutiny of the statistics of the death toll and the facts of the humanitarian fallout of the conflict tell a different story. On this May 19, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said it had documented more than 162,000 deaths in the conflict until this May 17, more than 61 thousand of them were government troops, 42,701 rebels and more than 1600 foreign fighters; SOHR believes that both sides of the combat strongly tend to be very conservative about their human casualties. The rest were civilians many of whom were victims of suicide bombing and mortar shells fired by the rebels.

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The breakdown of these figures show the government a victim rather than a culprit and indicate that the actions of the rebels "far outweigh" those of the government, contrary to Navi Pillay's conclusion.

"Questioning the Syrian 'Casualty List'" in the Lebanese Alakhbar on February 28, 2012, Sharmine Narwani documented that, "The very first incident of casualties from the Syrian regular army that I could verify dates to 10 April 2011, when gunmen shot up a bus of soldiers travelling through Banyas, in Tartous, killing nine," i.e. few weeks after the first peaceful protests broke out in Syria, a fact which questions the now wrongfully accepted public knowledge that the government was the party who initiated the "violence."

The communique issued by the eleven western and Arab foreign ministers of the core group of the so-called "Friends of Syria" after their meeting in London on this May 15 was the latest example of the political motives behind the blackout, which they have imposed for too long on the insurgents' responsibility.

They called the upcoming presidential elections on next June 3 "illegitimate" and a "parody of democracy," ignoring the fact that any power vacuum in Syria would only create the right environment for the collapse of the central government. The inevitable result would be an exacerbation of the humanitarian crisis in the country, rendering their humanitarian rhetoric a parody of humanity.

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*Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist in Kuwait, Jordan, UAE and Palestine. He is based in Ramallah, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

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