With War Looming, the Voices of Syrians Are Being Suppressed Once Again

April 14, 2018 in News by Slad

A mortar launcher left behind by rebels in Eastern Ghouta. The freshly liberated district of Damascus was used as launching pad for indiscriminate shelling of Damascus by rebel groups. (Photo: © Bas Spliet)

Civilians from eastern Ghouta tell a horrifying story of starvation, withholding of food and medical aid, rape, and the imprisonment and murder of innocent women and children. Their voices are suppressed, however; for their testimonies expose the true nature of the armed opposition and the insanity of world leaders who are currently threatening a global war, supposedly on behalf of the Syrian people.

GHOUTA, SYRIA (War report) — With the danger of a new artificial war in the Middle East looming, the whole world is talking about Syria. People in Damascus rejoice in the long-desired cessation of the heavy indiscriminate shelling of the capital, with the liberation of Douma, the last Eastern Ghouta town under control of the armed opposition, completed. Peace was made possible by a deal between the Syrian government and Jaysh al-Islam, the last remaining militant group in Eastern Ghouta, which stipulated the evacuation of the rebels and their few supporters to other parts of rebel-held Syria in exchange for the liberation of dozens of hostages held by Jaysh al-Islam. This, rather than the alleged use of chemical weapons, is what occupies the mind of most Syrians at the moment.

Yet aggression replaced arrogance when Israel took it one step further than the threatening rhetoric of Western and allied heads of state by bombing a Syrian airbase on Monday, killing at least 12 people. Although all these countries – the U.S., France, Britain and Israel chief among them – claim to do this in the name of the Syrian people, they somehow manage to completely ignore the opinions of those who have an actual say in all of this —  i.e., the civilians in and around Damascus.

I was in Damascus from the moment the reciprocal bombardment of Douma and the capital resumed, after negotiations broke down on Friday, through the signing of the final deal, the release of hostages, and the start of the evacuation of the militants out of Douma. During my stay, I visited both the Eastern Ghouta town of Zamalka and al-Harjallah center for internally displaced Syrians, where I had the honor to talk to some of the civilians who have lived under the occupation of the jihadis.

This article tells their tragic and horrendous testimonies.

A rebel mortar launcher in Eastern Ghouta. The liberated district was used as a launching pad for the indiscriminate shelling of Damascus by rebel groups. (Photo: © Bas Spliet)

After having walked around a bit, I did manage to find some civilians to talk to. One man, aged around 60, was happy to answer some questions. When I asked him about the food aid that had been brought into Eastern Ghouta from outside, he made the startling remark that the militants kept 80 percent of it for themselves.

A while later, I asked another man the same question, and he went as far as to claim that all of it was kept by the militants. Although the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, this is baffling, especially because Western mass-media accounts have consistently attempted to blame the suffering of civilians from Eastern Ghouta on the siege the SAA imposed on the enclave, selectively drawing from comments by international aid organizations.