PRABIR PURKAYASTHA | 24 AUGUST, 2016
NEW DELHI: Along with the battles on the ground in Aleppo, the media war is also hotting up. A video, along with a picture of a little boy being pulled from the rubble and taken to an ambulance is doing the rounds in the global media. Is this a doctored publicity exercise , similar to the infamous testimony by Nayirah, the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the US during the Iraq War created by a public relations agency? Remember those stories of Kuwaiti babies being thrown out of incubators by Saddam's soldiers?
The AP report concedes that the injuries to the child and others shown in the video are superficial cuts and bruises. Whether it is a genuine picture or a doctored one, there is little doubt that it is being used by those who are advocating “humanitarian' invasions of Syria a la the Libyan and Iraqi invasions.
The issue here is not whether civilians including children are being injured in bombings from either side. Of course they are. Or whether this is a real or a doctored video. The key issue is why are some focussing on only one side as the victims of the war -- only those who are affected by the Syrian and Russian bombings? Why are al Nusra's attacks not shown in western media? Or the US bombings in Syria?
The US and the UK have heavily funded media groups dedicated to creating a narrative of sympathy for the rebels and vilification of the Syrian government. While Helmet, a group widely publicised in the western media , for its “humanitarian” work has been funded by the British, the US and other NATO governments, trained by western “humanitarian” agencies such as MI6 and supply video footage and images against Russian and Syrian bombings.
The antecedents of the group who have shot the video and the videographer Mahmoud Raslan are damning. The video was shot and supplied to all the news agencies by the Aleppo Medical Centre, whose connection to the Nusra is well documented . Here is a tweet from the Aleppo Media Centre in support of the “brave” al Nusra boys and extolling their killing of Syrian soldiers:
Raslan, credited by the western news agencies as the photographer, has an even worse record. He not only shot this video, but has been filming the exploits of the Nusra in Aleppo. He also has pictures of himself in the proud company of those who beheaded a sick Palestinian child on camera after torturing him. The al Zinki group involvedin the beheading is one of the “moderate” groups in alliance with al Nusra and backed by the US.
The two picture at the bottom above are from the Aleppo Media Centre, which has distributed the injured child's video. It shows Raslan in a blue shirt, shooting a video of the rescue. The picture at the top show Raslan in the same blue shirt, in company of those who were identified as the key figures in the beheading of the Palestinian child.
The al Nusra forces have been bombing East Aleppo, which is fully functional and has over 1.5 million people. No stories of the Nusra bombings and killing of civilians make it to the western news agencies or press. It is only stories of West Aleppo, which originally housed about 150,000-200,000 people, and has numbers that may be much lower today that are in the news. The attempt is to create a picture of entire Aleppo being under siege of the Russians and the Syrian government forces, while obscuring that both parts of Aleppo are under under siege, albeit from different sets of forces.
Yes, the Syrian government and Russian forces bombing Eastern Aleppo is subjecting its occupants to intolerable conditions. Children are dying and getting hurt. So does mortar and rocket attacks on the government held East Aleppo. How come when the US Airforce bombs Manjib in support of the SDF and Kurdish forces, the western media cannot find any such stories? Or pictures? What about Fallujah, which was flattened, again by US airforce when the Baghdad government captured it from the ISIS? How is it only Russian airforce bombs hit civilians?
The battle of Aleppo can tip either way, though a Syrian government defeat is unlikely. We can expect the larger media war against Russia, Syria and Iran to intensify along with the battle on the ground. The casualties continue to be Syrians, men women and children.
The other casualty of this war is truth, the first casualty of any war. This is the western media war against Syrian and Russian bombings. It is to provide a helping hand to al Nusra and its allies in Aleppo. And ratchet up cries for US intervention in Syria.