27 April 2013, 15:21

Syria faces info war

сирия химическое оружие жертвы Алеппо раненый медицинская помощь носилки

Reports about the use of chemical weapons in Syria have been coming in at alarmingly frequent intervals in recent weeks. This week was no exception. Syrian opposition forces are believed to have been using the chemical agent sarin. Reports to this effect were on the agenda of a session of the lower house of the Russian parliament this week. The Duma discussions were attended by Syria’s Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi. The Russian MPs came to the conclusion that Damascus is facing a full-scale info war.

According to reports, opposition militants used chemical weapons in clashes with government forces near Aleppo, on April 19th. 14 people were killed and another 50 were injured in the clashes. A Syrian military historian said on Friday that the opposition used the chemical agent sarin. Given that NATO forces are bound to respond to the use of chemical agents with an invasion, the opposition is doing its utmost to secure a good pretext for Washington and its allies to step in.

Meanwhile, Damascus has invited Russian experts to examine the possible use of sarin in Syria. According to Syria’s Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi, who arrived in Moscow with an official visit this week, the clashes near Aleppo were masterminded by terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda.

During his meeting with Russian lawmakers in the State Duma, the Syrian information minister said some western and Arab TV channels knew about the planned terrorist attacks and could thus be regarded partners in the bloodshed in Syria.

"Saudi Arabia and Qatar offered a lot of money to Syrian citizens, including journalists, to get them to take their side and talk about what they want to hear. Unfortunately, their attempts to recruit people could be successful at times. But an overwhelming majority of journalists refused to work for them. Once, while talking to an Al Arabiya reporter before I was appointed information minister, I told her that she had reported about the explosion before it took place. As we follow TV news, we know that once they start talking about an explosion or casualties, these incidents are not happening at the time of the speaking but will happen shortly."

According to Omran al-Zoubi, dozens of Syrian television and radio channels are coming under threats and many program hosts are held by the militants, so journalists choose to stay away from work.

Some western and Arabic media outlets are set on besmirching Syria’s legitimate government as part of the ongoing info war against Syria. The Syrian government outlets are deprived of the opportunity of getting across to the world what is actually happening inside the country. Alexei Mitrofanov of the parliamentary Information Policy Committee, comments.

"Syria is facing a global info war. The masterminds of this war are doing everything they can to prevent information from Syrian official sources from leaking out. The Syrian television channels have no access to foreign satellites. The current visit to Moscow by the Syrian information minister is an attempt to break this information blockade. Those following the developments in Syria understand that the truth about the Syrian conflict is different from the one presented by the western press."

According to Mitrofanov, the Syrian army has regained confidence and has been waging a successful operation against foreign insurgents over the past three months. Meanwhile, western reports say the insurgents are bound to seize Damascus any time now. To illustrate their reports, they use scenes many of which were not filmed in Syria.

Countries have reacted differently to the recent reports concerning Syria. China has spoken against the use of chemical weapons. Beijing says the use of military force against a sovereign state is inadmissible in any form. The US and the UK say they possess “limited but convincing” evidence that testifies to the use of chemical agents, including sarin, in Syria. British Prime Minister David Cameron made it clear, however, that evidence of this would not lead to the deployment of British troops in Syria.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Foreign Minister of Jordan Nasser Judeh discussed options for resolving the Syrian crisis over the phone on Friday. The two ministers underscored that the conflict in Syria could be resolved only through negotiations and with the assistance of the international community.

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