"Assad apologists" are those who have refused to face up to Assad's outrageous record of atrocities, even in the face of all the solid evidence that the US and its allies, and the entire Western press, have not presented.
That's right. If you examine that outrageous record of atrocities, looking into each and every one, you'll see the West's whole nasty case against him waft away like so much smoke, that being exactly what it is.
This--let me be clear--is not to say that Assad's government is as benign as Costa Rica's, or Vermont's: Bush/Cheney sent several captives in its "war on terror" off to Syria (along with over 50 other countries) for torture; and Assad's rule may otherwise be comparable to the draconian regime in (say) Egypt, or Morocco, or Iraq. It's hard to say, since so much of the Western literature on "human rights" throughout the Middle East is heavily infused with propaganda. (On the other hand, Assad is, demonstrably, a far less brutal ruler than the House of Saud--or the Likud overlords of Gaza.)
An accurate survey of human rights in Syria may have to wait until the war there ends, and the brain-deadening fog of Western propaganda finally lifts.
Meanwhile, it's safe to say that "Syria" today--i.e., the nation as depicted for us--is much like "Germany" in 1917. Thundering through Belgium way back then, the German army surely was a ruthless force; and yet it surely was not guilty of a single one of the specific horrors cried up all throughout the Allied press. It took some ten years for all those catastrophic fabrications
to be properly debunked (in Arthur Ponsonby's eticulous Falsehood in Wartime, published in 1928).
Today we have a lot less time to do that sort of necessary work. But we have to start somewhere--so let's start here and now, with this quick catalogue of the correctives that too few of us have ever even heard of, our masters having had "our free press" black them out, or laugh them off.
As I'll be sending something on the latest "gas attack" (in Douma), it's not included in this catalogue, which deals with the Big Lies on both the "gas attacks" in 2013 and 2017; Assad's "barrel bombs"; the "crematorium" at Saydnaya military prison; the heart-breaking storyof little Omran Daqneesh; Bana al-Abed, the seven-year-old "girl whose tweets told of Aleppo's horrors"; and--last but not least--the White Helmets.
(This catalogue is necessarily a work in progress; so if you know of other pieces that the rest of us should know, please send them to me.)