Dispatches from Damascus. Part One

My co-editor Alison and I were woken up around 4am yesterday morning by two very loud distant explosions and what turned out to be noise of Syrian air defences. Damascus had been very lively on Friday night, especially so as this was the first weekend in many moons that terrorists were unable to fire mortars into the city from the eastern Ghouta suburbs.

Three people were injured in what I understand was a cruise missile intercepted by air defences which then fell in a residential area.

USA, France and UK paid a collective cost of around $1.4 billion to fire their cruise missiles. It cost Syria about $1.4 million in air defence technology to defend itself against the attack. Call me a cynic but this looks awfully like a massive western money laundering operation to benefit Raytheon, Boeing and other corporate interests in the military industrial complex.

Damascus sky lights up with surface to air missile fire as the US launches an attack on Syria targeting different parts of the capital, early Saturday. (AP Photo)

What western politicians fail to grasp is this latest attack has made the people of Syria stronger, more united and as defiant as ever!

The welcome we’ve received has been overwhelming and we feel very privileged to be here right now. I spoke to a man tonight and he told me one of the worst things about this dirty war is how he and his family (and so many other Syrians) are getting used to this violence. He and his wife did not even wake up when a booby trapped car exploded 500 metres from their house last year and they were only stirred this morning by the sound of the phone ringing after the airstrikes.

It’s always nice to catch up with Vanessa who’s been here a few weeks and doing great and very dangerous work.

Mike Raddie and Vanessa Beeley

An old man came up to me in the street this morning and said ‘whenever we see strangers in Syria it makes us feel optimistic’. I thanked him and told him this was my third trip to the country and I love coming here. He told me I was most welcome. I then, with hand on heart, apologised for the actions of my government and like all Syrians do, he reassured me by saying ‘it’s not the fault of the people’ and we said together in unison ‘but the fault of the governments’. We shook hands and said our goodbyes.

This experience is so common in Syria. People here are intelligent and discerning and do not blame the British, American or French people for what is happening. Can we imagine any other nationalities not holding a grudge? I love Syria. I love the Syrian people. They love, respect and are protected by their sons, daughters, brothers and sisters of the Syrian Arab Army.

We’ll have more updates the coming days.

Mike & Ali

One Comment

  1. Jeremy Dennis

    Heard your interview on Radio 4the other day which made me check out your website. Glad that there are level headed people such as yourself in journalism that don’t capitulate to the narrative forced on us by our governments. I have many Syrian ex-colleagues in the U.K. and they all back up what you are reporting. After your interview, I’ve noticed more and more a point that you made. The mainstream media do not refer to the Syrian government as the ‘government’ but rather the regime. The BBC denied it during your interview but today on Radio 4, they only referred to it as the regime. Keep up the good work!

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