A girl is seen at a damaged site in Aleppo’s Sheikh Maqsoud neighbourhood, Syria. © Omar Sanadiki / Reuters
Caitlin Johnstone in Medium, via SottNet:
Al Jazeera, not often known to rock the establishment boat when it comes to the official narrative about Syria, has published an interesting new report on some recent findings of the International Organization for Migration. According to IOM, nearly 603,000 Syrian refugees returned to their homes in Syria between January and July of 2017.
And, naturally, those hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians who are returning home are all returning to areas that are securely protected from the bloodthirsty tyrant Bashar al-Assad by the Freedom Fighters and Moderate Rebels who oppose him, right? They’d never willfully return to an area ruled by a sadistic dictator who routinely drops barrel bombs on his own people for no reason and kills children with poison gas, would they?
Well yes, if you believe the things that the western mass media have been saying about Assad, they would. IOM reports that of those displaced Syrians returning home this year, about 400,000 of them were coming home to their city of Aleppo, which was fully recaptured by pro-Assad forces in December.
You remember Aleppo, don’t you? I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t; corporate media outlets hardly ever talk about it anymore. It’s almost like they want us to forget the horror stories they told us about how the city that had been occupied by good, noble freedom fighters was about to be taken by an army of depraved psychopaths who wanted to rape women, burn children alive, and shoot civilians in their homes. Back at the tail end of 2016, though, it was all you ever heard. If the west didn’t intervene to stop Damascus and Moscow from retaking East Aleppo from the good-hearted rebels, everyone there would be raped, tortured, and butchered by the army of the Syrian government.
But oh my my, it sure is odd and peculiar and funny and interesting that hundreds of thousands of Syrians can’t wait to get back there. This same bloodthirsty government which wanted nothing more than to slaughter, rape and destroy them still controls the region, but people have been running back to rebuild their city anyway.
What’s up with that? Could we really have been misinformed about what’s been happening in Syria on such a massive scale? Could the near-unanimous perspective of pundits and politicians everywhere, the perspective that Bashar al-Assad is a sadistic tyrant who enjoys slaughtering civilians, be so dead wrong that the behavior of Syria’s own people seem to contradict it so directly?