Don’t Touch the Terrorists

Recently, Secretary of State John Kerry declared that the actions of Damascus and Moscow in Syria give cause for concern. “And it is critical, obviously,” the secretary of state said, “that Russia restrain both itself and the Assad regime from conducting offensive operations…”

It must be noted that such a statement is far from the first of its kind. As soon as the Nusra Front, which is banned in Russia, and affiliated organizations take a beating, we immediately hear the outraged voices of American politicians and human rights monitoring agencies alternately accusing the Russian air force and the Syrian army of decimating the civilian population, bombing hospitals and other abuses of the civilian population.

Russia has learned to view this journalistic shrieking with dispassion.

The hysteria is aimed at preventing the complete defeat of terrorist groups in Syria.

At present, we see a paradoxical situation: the Syrian army has surrounded the area of Aleppo, which is controlled by terrorist groups, and is preventing those groups from expanding their sphere of influence.

At this very moment, we hear calls to end our strikes. Our American “partners” raise the question of the need to secure the civilian population in this section of Aleppo and supply it with humanitarian aid.

But the Russian helicopter recently shot down was not a combat vehicle. It was a transport helicopter that supplied Aleppo with the very humanitarian aid that Americans and their allies insist upon.

At the same time, we are well aware that Aleppo has humanitarian corridors extending in three directions that are open to civilian residents, and anyone who wishes to escape the authority of the thugs may leave the city through these corridors. Members of rebel groups may also leave through a fourth corridor, the northern one. But this doesn’t suit the Americans. They pretend that they don’t notice either the corridors or how their subordinates have shot down a helicopter delivering humanitarian aid.

It is curious that in other analogous situations, our “partners” react in a diametrically opposite way.

On the same day that the secretary of state called for halting the offensive against terrorists just outside Aleppo to “preserve the lives of civilians,” we saw the U.S. Air Force commence mass bombings of the Libyan town of Sirte, which had been under siege by General Haftar’s Libyan military forces.* Those forces hadn’t yet begun to bomb the town because they didn’t want to shell and kill civilians.

So the Americans started to bomb them; but on this occasion, U.S. politicians and human rights organizations were silent.

An analogous situation is developing in Iraq, in the vicinity of the city of Mosul, which has been surrounded by the Iraqi army with the assistance of the U.S. Air Force, resulting in the blockade of 1.5 million people.

In this case, too, we don’t hear any statements about the suffering of the civilian population from either human rights advocates or the U.S. government.

But as soon as the Syrian army’s offensive begins, the media outcry surges with voluble statements, including official ones.

In that regard, statements similar to the ones periodically made by Kerry are a part of information warfare.

In this war, Americans have powerful channels of influence at their disposal: a significant share of television channels broadcast in Arabic from Washington, as well as from London, Berlin, Doha, the Emirates and Cairo.

The position taken by these channels is invariable: Russia is at fault, Russia must put an end to the Syrian army’s offensive, and Russia must stop the shelling of civilians. Meanwhile, every emotional outcry and every volley of propaganda from the Americans and their allies testify to the fact that terrorist groups in Syria are being defeated and their American sponsors are beginning to feel uncertain.

This is fully applicable to the current situation. The fact is that the operation outside Aleppo is becoming a key event in the Syrian war.

If the Syrian army establishes total control over Aleppo, this will be grounds for ending the war and suffering in Syrian territory.

Aleppo is the largest city in Syria after Damascus. This is the country’s industrial and cultural heart. The largest Armenian diaspora in Syria lived in the city with a population of 2.5 million. Here Shiites, Alawites, Eastern Orthodox and Catholics lived over the span of decades.

Thus, to say that its population has heeded the call of the Muslim Brotherhood—which is also banned in Russia, and has never enjoyed support in this city—and taken up arms and made a stand against the government, is a distortion of reality to say the least.

Foreigners who terrorize local populations are the primary leaders of the armed struggle against the Syrian army. Moreover, according to our sources, terrorists are not allowing people to avail themselves of the humanitarian corridors that have been created for them by the Syrian army.

The Americans must understand all this, above all. Their attempts to pretend that they do not see or possess the information about the real circumstances testify to only one fact: Washington has set for itself the goal of saving terrorist groups from destruction to continue using them for its own geopolitical advantage.

The author served as adviser to the Soviet Embassy in the United States between 1990-1992 and now heads an organization on the Near and Middle East.

The author’s opinion may not reflect the position of the editorial staff.

*Editor’s note: The quoted remark, while accurately translated, could not be independently verified.

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