Thursday, 19 April 2018

SYRIAN WAR REPORT – APRIL 19, 2018: JOURNALISTS FIND BOY FILMED IN STAGED VIDEO OF CHEMIAL ATTACK IN DOUMA

A group of Russian correspondents led by Evgeny Poddubny has found a boy filmed by the White Helmets in their video showing people “affected” by the alleged chemical attack in Douma on April 7.
According to Poddubny:
  • 11-year-old Hassan Diab is fine;
  • He suffered no injures from the “chemical attack” because there was no attack (at least then and there);
  • The boy participated in the video for food (rice, dates and cookies).
Poddubny also contacted Hassan’s father – he also said that there was no chemical attack in the town.
The April 7 case was not the first time when the White Helmets and other pro-militant organizations used kids for propaganda purposes. During the battle for Aleppo in 2016, a photo of Omran Daqneesh after alleged strike by Russian warplanes became popular in the mainstream media (MSM) and then was used in a wide-scale campaign against the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance’s operation in the city.
After the liberation of Aleppo, Omran’s father accused militants of using his son as a propaganda tool and praised efforts of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) to liberate the city.
Another widely known case is Bana al-Abed, that thanks to the MSM, became a popular twitter blogger constantly accusing the SAA of civilian casualties and other crimes during the operation to liberate Aleppo. De-facto, her content was one big accusation against the SAA.
The only problem is that Bana was almost unable to speak English in 2016 and her account was run by her mother, according to a later version designed to explain how the girl was able to produce all that text and video content.
Russian journalists are not alone in finding no evidence of the chemical attack allegedly conducted by the Assad government.
Pearson Sharp, a reporter of One America News Network also visited the city and found that all the locals say that the chemical attack had been fabricated by militants. Robert Fisk, a Middle East correspondent of The Independent, also visited the site and found no evidence of the attack. However, such reports from the ground face a strong criticism by or ignorance in the MSM.
On April 18, the SAA and the Tiger Forces launched a military operation against militants in eastern Qalamoun. Government troops advanced near the town of al-Ruhaybah and captured the Hawash area.
The advance took place as militants in al-Dumayr are surrendering their heavy weapons and preparing for evacuation. According to the state-run media, about 1,500 militants and 5,000 members of their families will withdraw towards Jarabulus.
The situation in the Rastan pocket was stabilized as the SAA and local militants reached a temporary ceasefire and agreed to re-launch negotiations on a reconciliation deal.
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Bombshell: Professor Stuns MSNBC Panel On Syria


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Windrush Generation and The Zionification of the British Sphere

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It shouldn’t take us by surprise when a country that drops bombs on Syria on behalf of Israel engages in Israeli style racist anti immigration anti black policies.
A lot has been written about the deep cultural and spiritual bonds between Britain and Zionism. Some have cited the roots of English Christian Zionism. Others point to the Balfour Declaration and its historical background. In 1956 Britain and France joined forces with Israel in an attempt to seize the Suez Canal. By the early 2000s it was hard to determine where Israel ended and Britain began. Occasionally it seemed the BBC had been reduced to an Israeli propaganda unit. The once respected British newspaper morphed into a Guardian of Judea. Murdoch’s Sky News didn’t leave much room for speculation either. Last week Sky News crudely cut off Jonathan Shaw, the former commander of the British Armed Forces, the second that Shaw went ‘off script’ and suggested that the Syrian regime might not have been behind the Douma ‘gas attack.’ The next day we learned that the British government had again engaged in a  Zion-led immoral interventionist assault on an Arab country based on what seems to be just another false WMD claim.
Not much is left of the British media’s heritage of freedom, tolerance and impartiality. I guess that since the spiritual and cultural continuum  between Israel and Britain is well established, we shouldn’t be puzzled that the British media is consumed by the ridiculous fight against ‘antisemitsm.’ Jeremy Corbyn, an iconic anti-racist parliamentarian has been subject to a relentless and biased attack by the Israeli lobby and its stooges within British media and politics. But this is shocking. While Corbyn has been subjected to ceaseless criticism for the alleged ‘antisemitic’ sentiments held by a few individuals within his party, the British government and the Home Office have been engaged in institutional racist discrimination against the Windrush Generation.
The Windrush Generation arrived in the UK between 1948 and 1971 from Caribbean countries. The name is a reference to the ship MV Empire Windrush, which arrived at Tilbury Docks, Essex, on 22 June 1948, bringing workers from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and other islands in response to post-war labour shortages in the UK.
It is unclear how many people belong to the Windrush Generation, since many of those who arrived as children travelled on parents’ passports and never applied for travel documents – but they are thought to be in the thousands.
Those who lack documents are now being told they need to provide evidence in order to continue working, get treatment from the NHS – or even to remain in the UK.
Britain likes to see itself as a ‘multicultural success story’ but over the last few days we have learned that Britain plans to deport black citizens who have spent their entire lives in the kingdom.
Prime Minister Theresa May has apologised to Caribbean leaders for the deportation threats. I guess this may suggest that the Zionification of the kingdom is not complete. However if Theresa May is committed to the fight against racism in general, she better cease with the ridiculous antisemitsm frenzy and employ a universal ethical standpoint to fight racism.
If they want to burn it, you want to read it!

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Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto,
Amazon.co.uk , Amazon.com and  here (gilad.co.uk).

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بومبيو وكيم جونغ أون… ماذا بعد؟



أبريل 19, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– يستقبل الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب وزير خارجية كوريا الجنوبية والموضوع هو التحضير للقمة التي ستجمعه مع زعيم كوريا الشمالية كيم جونغ أون. وفي اليوم نفسه يكشف عن زيارة سرية تمّت قبل أيام لمدير مخابراته الذي صار وزيراً لخارجيته مايك بومبيو إلى بيونغ يانغ لبدء التفاوض مع الزعيم الكوري الشمالي، ولا يتردّد في القول إن المباحثات كانت إيجابية تحت عنوان نزع السلاح النووي في العالم. ومعلوم أن الزعيم الكوري الشمالي الأسبق الراحل كيم إيل سونغ جد الزعيم الحالي كيم جونغ أون، كان صاحب مبادرة لنزع السلاح النووي في العالم تبدأ بتجميع هذا السلاح لدى الدول الدائمة العضوية في مجلس الأمن، بنقل مخزون الدول النووية خارج مجلس الأمن لدى مَن يختارونه من الأعضاء الدائمين مقابل تقديم الضمانات اللازمة لهم بعدم تعرّضهم للعدوان، ومنحهم الحوافز الاقتصادية للمشاريع التنموية بدلاً من سباق السلاح.

– الحفيد كيم جونغ أون يضع هذه المبادرة على الطاولة، ويقول إنه مستعدّ لتخزين سلاح كوريا الشمالية النووي لدى كل من الصين وروسيا مقابل الضمانات لأمنها وسلاحها واقتصادها وتشريع وضعها الدبلوماسي عالمياً من جهة، وتخلّي واشنطن عن استخدام كوريا الجنوبية كقاعدة عسكرية لتهديد الجيران. وهذه المبادرة هي التي فتحت باب التفاوض. وهذا يعني شراكة صينية روسية حتمية لنجاح المفاوضات التي يرغب ترامب جعلها تتصدر جدول أعماله للسنة المقبلة على الأقل، هذا عدا كون بلوغ التفاوض هذه المرحلة كان مستحيلاً من دون توقع مساهمة صينية روسية واضحة على أكثر من صعيد لمنح كوريا الشمالية الاطمئنان بأنها لن تكون في موقع تفاوضي ضعيف.

– بومبيو الذي كثرت التحليلات عن سبب مجيئه لوزارة الخارجية، يتولّى التفاوض أو ربما يتولى مواصلة التفاوض الذي بدأه قبل مغادرته مقرّ وكالة المخابرات الأميركية، والذي تمّ عبر قنوات مع أجهزة موازية في روسيا والصين والكوريتين الشمالية والجنوبية. والسؤال الطبيعي في ملف يبدو إنجازه بنجاح ورقة الرئيس الأميركي الرابحة في نيل فرص الولاية الثانية في البيت الأبيض، أن يجري توظيف سائر الملفات في خدمة إنجاحه. وهذا يعني استحالة قراءة المواقف الأميركية تجاه مستقبل سورية في دائرة فتح الباب لمواجهة مع روسيا، وهذا يقدّم تفسيراً وافياً لما رافق ما قيل إنه ضربة تحت السقف الروسي، لا تزعج ولا تؤذي، ويسهل التعامل معها، لكنها تمنح ترامب رصيداً داخلياً من جمهور لن يدقق في النتائج بقدر ما سيتلقى عبر الإعلام الأميركي الأنباء والصور عن الصواريخ الأميركية تنطلق نحو سورية.

– المسار الذي سترسمه المفاوضات الأميركية مع كوريا سيمنع الذهاب للمزيد من التصعيد الأميركي مع روسيا، وخصوصاً في سورية، الملف الأهم للرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين. وهذا يعني أن تكون إيران مرتاحة و»إسرائيل» قلقة. فإخلاء واشنطن لسورية عملياً لحساب روسيا، يعني أن «إسرائيل» باتت وحيدة في مواجهة إيران عملياً، وأن إيران لن تكون تحت ضغوط مواجهة خطر تصادم مباشر مع الأميركيين. وهذا سيرسم معادلات من نوع جديد، لحلفاء أميركا في التعامل مع إيران، وفي طليعتهم السعودية التي لا تزال تقود خطاباً إعلامياً تصعيدياً بوجه طهران، لكن هذا التبدّل الجديد ربما يفسر سبب ما يُحكى عن تقدّم في التوجه نحو التسوية في الملف اليمني، وما يُحكى ضمن هذا السياق عن تقدم في مفاوضات سعودية إيرانية غير مباشرة تقودها سلطنة عمان بينهما.

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“Killing Mosquitoes: The Latest Gaza Massacres, Pro-#israel Media Bias And The Weapon Of ‘Antisemitism’” is locked Killing Mosquitoes: The Latest Gaza Massacres, Pro-#israel Media Bias And The Weapon Of ‘Antisemitism’

The Palestinians have long been seen as an obstacle by Israel’s leaders; an irritant to be subjugated. Noam Chomsky commented:
‘Traditionally over the years, Israel has sought to crush any resistance to its programs of takeover of the parts of Palestine it regards as valuable, while eliminating any hope for the indigenous population to have a decent existence enjoying national rights.’
He also noted:
‘The key feature of the occupation has always been humiliation: they [the Palestinians] must not be allowed to raise their heads. The basic principle, often openly expressed, is that the “Araboushim” – a term that belongs with “nigger” or “kike” – must understand who rules this land and who walks in it with head lowered and eyes averted.’ (Noam Chomsky, ‘Fateful Triangle,’ Pluto Press, updated edition, 1999, p.489)
Recent events encapsulate this all too well. On Friday, March 30, Israeli soldiers shot dead 14 Palestinians and wounded 1400, including 800 hit by live ammunition. By April 5, the death toll had risen to 21. During a second protest, one week later on Friday, April 7, the Israelis shot dead a further 10 Palestinians, including a 16-year-old boy, and more than 1300 were injured. Among those killed was Yasser Murtaja, a journalist who had been filming the protest. He had been wearing a distinctive blue protective vest marked ‘PRESS’ in large capital letters. The brutality, and utter brazenness with which the killings were carried out, is yet another demonstration of the apartheid state’s contempt for the people it tried to ethnically cleanse in 1948, the year of Israel’s founding.
On the first day of the protest, on March 30, many Palestinians had gathered in Gaza, close to the border with Israel, as part of a peaceful ‘Great March of Return’ protest demanding the right to reclaim ancestral homes in Israel. 100 Israeli snipers lay in wait, shooting at protesters, including an 18-year-old shot in the back while running away from the border. The Israel army boasted in a quickly-deleted tweet that the massacre had been planned, deliberate and premeditated:
‘Nothing was carried out uncontrolled; everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed’
BBC News and other ‘mainstream’ news outlets, including the Guardian, carried headlines about ‘clashes’ at the Gaza-Israel border ‘leaving’ Palestinians dead and injured. As we noted via Twitter, an honest headline would have read:
‘Israeli troops kill 16 Palestinians and injure hundreds’
When the Israelis shot dead yet more Palestinians on the second Friday of protests, the BBC reported, ‘Deadly unrest on Gaza-Israel border as Palestinians resume protest’. BBC ‘impartiality’ meant not headlining Israeli troops as the agency responsible for the ‘deadly unrest’.
Adam Johnson, writing for Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, observed of news reports carrying inappropriate headlines about ‘clashes’:
‘We do not have one party’s snipers opening fire on another, unarmed party; we have “violent clashes”—a term, as FAIR has noted before, that implies symmetry of forces and is often used to launder responsibility.’
Later, the Guardian quietly removed the word ‘clashes’ from its headlines, while adding Israeli military spin: that the protest was a Hamas ploy to ‘carry out terror attacks’; compare this early version with a later version.
On the first Friday of mass killing, we noted that the Israeli newspaper Haaretz had reported the presence of Israeli snipers. We asked the public to look for any mention of this on BBC News. Around the time we made the request, the Newssniffer website picked up the first reference to ‘snipers’ on the BBC News website (albeit buried in a tiny mention at the bottom of a news article). Coincidence? Or were BBC editors aware that their output was under public scrutiny?
Within just one day, the BBC had relegated the news of the mass shootings in Gaza to a minor slot on its website. It considered ‘news’ about television personality Dec presenting Saturday Night Takeaway without Ant, and royal couple Harry and Meghan choosing wedding flowers, more important than Israel killing and wounding many hundreds of Palestinians.
When BBC News finally turned to Gaza, with a piece buried at the bottom of its World news page, it was from Israel’s perspective:
‘Israel warns it could strike inside Gaza’
and:
‘Palestinian groups using protests as a cover to launch attacks on Israel’
This disgraceful coverage strongly suggested that Israel was the victim. As political analyst Charles Shoebridge observed:
‘Editors especially at the BBC aren’t stupid, they know exactly what they’re doing, and the use of very many devices such as this isn’t somehow repeatedly accidental. Indeed, it’s a good example of how the BBC is perhaps history’s most sophisticated and successful propaganda tool.’
By contrast, a powerful article in Haaretz from veteran Israeli journalist Gideon Levy pointed to the reality that the mass shooting by Israeli ‘Defence’ Forces:
‘shows once again that the killing of Palestinians is accepted in Israel more lightly than the killing of mosquitoes.’

The Silence of Liberal ‘Interventionists’

Last year, Jeremy Corbyn was hounded by ‘mainstream’ media jounalists, demanding that he condemn acts of violence by the socialist government in Venezuela. But there was no corporate media campaign calling upon Theresa May to denounce much worse Israeli violence. The same media that devoted sustained, in-depth coverage of Spanish police brutality during the Catalan independence referendum swiftly relegated Israel’s mass murder to ‘other news’.
Imagine if Russian or Syrian troops had shot dead almost 30 civilians, and injured well over 1000, during peaceful protests. ‘MSM’ headlines and airwaves would be filled with condemnations from senior UK politicians and prominent commentators. But not so when it is Israel doing the killing.
We tweeted:
‘Twitter task for today: think of any of the famously impassioned, outraged “humanitarian interventionists” in the Guardian, The Times, the Observer and so on, and check how much they’ve tweeted about the mass killings and woundings in Gaza. Go ahead, try it.’
Examples were glaring by their absence.
Writing for The Intercept, journalist Mehdi Hasan asked rhetorically:
‘Where is the moral outrage from former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, the famously pro-intervention, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of a “A Problem From Hell,” which lamented U.S. inaction in Rwanda […]?
‘Where is the demand from Canadian academic-turned-politician Michael Ignatieff, who was once one of the loudest voices in favor of the so-called responsibility to protect doctrine, for peacekeeping troops to be deployed to the Occupied Territories?
‘Where are the righteously angry op-eds from Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, or Richard Cohen of the Washington Post, or David Aaronovitch of The Times of London, demanding concrete action against the human rights abusers of the IDF?’
Hasan concluded:
‘The ongoing and glaring refusal of liberal interventionists in the West to say even a word about the need to protect occupied Palestinians from state-sponsored violence is a reminder of just how morally bankrupt and cynically hypocritical the whole “liberal intervention” shtick is.’
Global realpolitik was highlighted yet again when the US government blocked a vote at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council calling for an international investigation into the mass shooting of civilians by Israeli troops on March 30. The US repeated its block a week later after the second wave of Israeli killing. We have found no coverage in the UK ‘mainstream’ media of the US blocking a UN investigation. In other words, Israel can act with impunity when committing grievous crimes against humanity, backed to the hilt by its biggest sponsor in Washington.

Weaponising ‘Antisemitism’ Against Corbyn

Meanwhile, the ‘MSM’ was continuing to deploy charges of alleged antisemitism against Corbyn-led Labour; and, seen in a wider political context, against realistic hopes of even moderately progressive changes to UK government policy.
A Facebook comment made in 2012 by Corbyn about a mural depicting Jewish and non-Jewish bankers was unearthed and used to mount a remarkable barrage of vehement media attacks. BBC News took its lead from the obviously right-wing, anti-Corbyn agenda across the ‘spectrum’ of the country’s ‘free press’.
The attacks continued with a vicious front-page ‘exclusive’ in the extreme right-wing Sunday Times:
‘Exposed: Corbyn’s hate factory’
The article, based on a trawl of Facebook posts, painted a hugely exaggerated picture of ‘racism, violent threats and abuse by leader’s fan base’. Alex Nunns, author of The Candidate, a book about Corbyn’s ‘improbable path to power’, pointed out the absurdly cynical nature of this Murdoch ‘journalism’. Nunns undertook his own Facebook search for posts by Conservatives and quickly discovered examples of misogyny, abuse, an implied threat of violence and implicit racism. The Tory Facebook page he found:
‘appears to have links to The Bruges Group, which in turn has links to leading Conservative politicians including Iain Duncan Smith. Headline: “EXPOSED: Iain Duncan Smith’s hate factory.” See how this is done?’
Guardian columnist Owen Jones picked up Nunns’ tweets and pointed out in a live BBC interview:
‘Why has there been no coverage of the despicable racism and abuse found in Conservative Facebook groups’?
The BBC news presenter replied:
‘Because Labour is the story at the moment’.
That the ‘MSM’, including the BBC, had made Labour ‘the story at the moment’ was simply not worthy of comment by corporate journalists or, perhaps, permissible thought.
Shamefully, the BBC published a big splash based on the Sunday Times article on ‘Jeremy Corbyn’s hate factory’. The BBC piece was almost gleeful in saying that there was ‘no let up for Labour’:
‘With negative stories on the front pages of at least four newspapers, this is not a happy Easter Sunday for Labour.’
In other words, as it so often does, the BBC was following the lead of the right-wing, anti-Corbyn ‘mainstream’ press. The onslaught of ‘news’ linking Corbyn to ‘antisemitism’ continued with an account of how Corbyn had attended a ‘left wing Jewish event’ organised by Jewdas. The BBC stated:
‘Jewdas, which describes itself as a “radical” and “alternative” Jewish collective, is at odds with mainstream Jewish groups over allegations of anti-Semitism in Labour.’
Three of the principal pro-Israel bodies in the UK, the Jewish Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council and Jewish Labour Movement, criticised Corbyn for attending the event. The BBC reported:
‘Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: “If Jeremy Corbyn goes to their event, how can we take his stated commitment to be an ally against anti-Semitism seriously?”‘
The BBC not only ran with this latest ‘story’ linking Corbyn to antisemitism, but promoted it as the lead item on the BBC News website.
However, there is nothing that says we must allow BBC News to determine what is ‘mainstream’ and what is not. And, in particular, when it comes to the Jewish Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council and Jewish Labour Movement, journalist Asa Winstanley of Electronic Intifada notes:
‘Their primary function is to lobby for Israel, an institutionally racist, apartheid state.’
A measure of the Jewish Board of Deputies’ staunch pro-Israel stance can be seen from the tweet they sent in the wake of the brutal Israeli killings in the first Friday border protest:
‘Alarming developments at Gaza border as Hamas once again using its civilians – inc children – as pawns.’
The lack of condemnation from ‘mainstream’ voices in politics and the media to such a disgraceful message reveals widespread deep fear of being accused of antisemitism. This fear, used to constrain reasoned debate, needs to be seen in a broader historical context. In 2002, former Israeli minister Shulamit Aloni explained the rationale behind the charge of antisemitism:
‘Well, it’s a trick – we always use it. When from Europe somebody’s criticising Israel then we bring up the Holocaust.’
And it works. Professor Greg Philo of the Glasgow Media Group related that he was once told by a senior BBC News editor:
‘The BBC waits in fear for the telephone call from the Israelis.’
None of the above is to deny that there is a significant problem of antisemitism in British politics, or in wider British society. But, as the group Jews for Justice for Palestinians notes, the facts are that:
‘Levels of antisemitism among those on the left-wing of the political spectrum, including the far-left, are indistinguishable from those found in the general population.’
Moreover, antisemitism has decreased in Labour under Corbyn, and public polling indicates that it is more prevalent among Conservative and UKIP members than among Labour and Liberal members. Indeed, there is ample evidence of an extraordinary scale of Tory racism and abuse.
In summary, then, here is the horrible irony of recent coverage on Israel and antisemitism: the corporate media continued to headline Corbyn’s ‘antisemitism crisis’ – supposedly triggered by a comment about a mural in 2012 – while quickly relegating Israel’s massacres of civilian Palestinians to ‘other news’ at the bottom of the page and running order.
The truth is that the deadliest racism today is indicated by the casual way in which the West and its allies rain violence down on countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. Although human rights are typically used as a pretext, the real goal is control of natural resources and the global economy; the tears of compassion evaporate the instant that an Official Enemy obstructing Western control has been overthrown. As Chomsky has noted, this is actually closer to a kind of speciesism than racism:
‘Namely, knowing that you are massacring them but not doing so intentionally because you don’t regard them as worthy of concern. That is, you don’t even care enough about them to intend to kill them. Thus when I walk down the street, if I stop to think about it I know I’ll probably kill lots of ants, but I don’t intend to kill them, because in my mind they do not even rise to the level where it matters. There are many such examples. To take one of the very minor ones, when [President Bill] Clinton bombed the al-Shifa pharmaceutical facility in Sudan, he and the other perpetrators surely knew that the bombing would kill civilians (tens of thousands, apparently). But Clinton and associates did not intend to kill them, because by the standards of Western liberal humanitarian racism, they are no more significant than ants. Same in the case of tens of millions of others.’
A further example, as we have seen, are the yawns of indifference from the corporate media as hundreds of civilian protestors – Palestinian ‘mosquitoes’ – are gunned down by Israeli snipers

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Syrian Army uncovers massive rebel tunnel network in Douma

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:40 A.M.) – Footage from Monday showed a massive labyrinth of underground tunnels used by the Jaish al-Islam militant group sprawling under the recently-liberated Douma in Eastern Ghouta.
“The warehouse in Douma is like a city beneath a city… tunnel upon tunnel, even extending to the other [Western] Ghouta,” a local said.
 According to one resident of Douma, rebels starved the locals to force them to work on the tunnels’ clearance and reinforcement. “It took about a month or two to move the rubble and reinforce these locations,” he said.
“They [the Jaish al-Islam militant group] starved us, besieged us, they traded in our blood. As you see, these tunnels are massive…They had captives work on them, as well as civilians. They wouldn’t feed those who wouldn’t work,” another resident added.
The tunnel is 15 metres (49ft) deep and is equipped with electricity, rooms, parking lots and workshops. Weapons and underground artillery were also found inside.
The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) announced on Saturday that it had “fully liberated” the eastern suburbs of the capital Damascus, after the last group of militants was evacuated from the area.
Video credit: Ruptly

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River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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