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Thursday, December 01, 2011


Who is dying in Syria?

Multiple headlines today proclaim: "19 killed in Syria." No doubt that's all that will stick in people's minds, as they reinforce the lesson that is being drummed into them — the Syrian government is slaughtering its citizens. But if you read closer, you find the truth is more complicated:
Seven soldiers and 12 civilians, among them a woman and child, were killed in the fresh violence that engulfed areas in the provinces of Daal and Idlib. 'Two security force vehicles were blown up. Seven (troops) were killed.'
And who were those 12 "civilians"? Well, they might have been "innocent civilians," killed by Syrian government troops in a wanton slaughter. No doubt that's what most people will believe. But they might also be innocent civilians killed by the blast which blew up the government vehicle, that is, they might have been killed by the rebels. Or, presumably excepting the woman and child, they might not have been "innocent civilians" at all, but armed rebels who were killed as the army counter-attacked after the attack which killed 9 soldiers.

The Syrian Office of Human Rights (per Wikipedia) says 2,738 civilians and 970 security forces have been killed. But that's conveniently nebulous. Who were those "civilians"? Were they all just non-violent "Occupy Syria" protesters, and not a one part of the group responsible for the deaths of 970 security forces? Hardly likely. The Syrian government claims that 1,400 security forces, 716 insurgents, and 700 civilians have been killed, which may reflect its own bias, but at least tries to differentiate between the types of civilians killed.

Whatever the exact numbers, one thing is clear — the one-sided picture presented to consumers of Western media of a Syrian government slaughtering innocent civilians and nothing more is utterly false. And also utterly intentional.

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