At 10 am on the 10th of October, two F-16s bombed Aleppo’s power station, cutting the supply of power and of pumped water to the city. As reported by TASS, the F-16s came from Incirlik base in Turkey, and were presumed to belong to the US, but it can be noted that both Turkey and Israel have F-16s and commonly violate Syrian airspace.
Evidently exasperated at this criminal act against civilian infrastructure, Vladimir Putin asked ‘why would they do this?’ – but without saying who ‘they’ were. We may assume however that he was not in the dark like the beleaguered citizens of Aleppo, who could only wait and hope that the previously intermittent supply would be restored soon – as it very fortunately now has been.
One can hardly resist extending the metaphor, in questioning who tried to extinguish the lights and why, and who now has more power in the fight to liberate Aleppo, both from the siege by terrorist groups and from the evident ambitions of Syria’s enemies. We can only ask these questions if we know what happened of course – and we mostly don’t, even from reliable alternative sources. Why this crime didn’t become a big story in Western media does however give us some useful clues – at least that the attempt to destroy the power station was no accident of ‘friendly fire’. (That’s Syria’s true friends of course – not the ‘Friends of Syria’.)
In recent conversations, a friend in Aleppo described how conspiracy theories abound in the Arab world, many on questions around the motivations and covert agenda of the US and its allies. Such things flourish in the absence of reliable news, or rather of news that can be considered reliable; in the Syrian context the spreading of ‘false news’ by some foreign agencies – Al Jazeera being the prime culprit – has had a corrosive effect on people’s confidence. While we in the West seem to see extra credibility in horrible stories ‘that cannot be independently verified’ coming from such agencies and through networks of ‘activists’ – many people on the ground have found those stories to be verifiably false, and came to rely only on personal experience or on Syrian media. (And now also Russian, Iranian and some Lebanese networks.)
Al Jazeera’s role in supporting the Syrian insurgency has too long been unrecognised in the West however, and despite some changes in the power structure in Qatar, it remains a key agent in maintaining the false narrative about the ‘Syrian revolution’ which permeates Western governments, media and commentary. Not only are its reports on Syria (not from Syria) completely slanted towards the NATO narrative, but Al Jazeera’s footage also dominates reports from the main Western media. The constant anti-government focus on ‘barrel bombs’ and ‘market bombings’ has now seamlessly morphed into ‘Russian bombs’, but the reporting is increasingly shrill with indignation as these supporters of the violent sectarian insurgency see their project failing.
It is in this light that we can also see the bombing of Aleppo’s power station, as a combined assault by the new ‘Russian coalition’ looks set to finally rid the remaining ‘rebel-held’ suburbs of their fighters. The bombing looks rather like an act of spite by one of the insurgency’s supporters, aimed directly at the steadfast citizens of the city who have refused to succumb to ‘the revolution’. And we needn’t look too far for a likely suspect, just across the nearest border.
Which brings me back to the subject of the Syrian conspiracy, previously referred to, and my friend’s recent reports. There have long been stories circulating in Syria about atrocities committed by unidentified armed men in the first months of the conflict, particularly in areas close to the Lebanese and NW Turkish borders. These were evidently attempts to foment an uprising, and often accompanied by false claims against the Syrian Army. As the insurgency has increasingly been exposed as a foreign conspiracy, and widely accepted as such by Syrians, some things previously dismissed as ‘just conspiracy theories’ are being re-examined. My friend reports:
“A lady we know, who lives in Antioch (today’s Hatay, Turkey), called before the Syrian crisis starts in 2011, wondering what’s happening in Syria or Aleppo in particular. We told her that everything is normal and fine. The lady told us that the Turkish government is building camps at the borders, and the words in the streets were saying that these camps are for Syrians!
I heard a lot about those refugee camps, that they had been erected and built up before any Syrian refugee reached them. However that was the first time I know that at least some of these camps had been built up before 17 March 2011!”
“In another real story, and when we suddenly started to see some Syrians going to Turkey as refugees without any reason yet at the beginning of the crisis, some of them had been tricked and fooled to go to the trap! In a testimony of a senior woman from Jisr ash-Shughur, a little town close to Turkish borders in Idlib province, she said that many of the guys that became as Free Syrian Army in the near future, or the ones who were just spreading lies about the very soon collapsing of the ‘regime’ and the born of the new era, those guys were encouraging people of that town to go to Turkish borders to be given money to take home (as ‘aid’ for them from Turkey). But then they had been trapped in Turkey, labelled as refugees, the Turks took their ID’s or/and passports, and they are mostly still there to this date as numbers without names.”
With the latest revelations from Wikileaks that discussions and serious planning for the ‘Syrian uprising’ was underway in some Western capitals years before it ‘began’, my friend’s conspiracy theory now looks more like solid evidence that Ankara was one of the key conspirators.