Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 17, 2013

Syria: Reuters Spreads Another 'Massacre' Lie - Debunked

Reuters: Massacre of over 100 reported in Syria's Homs
More than 100 people were shot, stabbed or possibly burned to death by government forces in the Syrian city of Homs, a monitoring group said on Thursday, and fierce fighting raged across the country.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said women and children were among the 106 people killed by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad forces who stormed Basatin al-Hasawiya, a poor district on the edge of Homs, on Tuesday.
Reuters cannot independently confirm reports due to reporting restrictions in Syria.

That last sentence is nonsense and is Reuters' poor self-serving excuse for lazyness and to publish propaganda.

Bill Neely (@billneelyitv) is international editor for ITV News. He is currently in Syria on a legit government visa and reports from Homs. Here are his recent tweets:

9:08 AM - 17 Jan 13

It is clear many people died in the poor farming community at the edge of #Homs. The regime & opposition both say dozens wr killed.
9:10 AM - 17 Jan 13
Local men I talked to put the number of those killed in #Huwaisa at around 30,including women & at least five children.I saw blood & remains
9:25 AM - 17 Jan 13
There has clearly been mass killing in #Huwaisa.It's NOT clear who did this-opposition blames regime frces,local civs blame Jabhat al Nusra
9:35 AM - 17 Jan 13
Local men in #Huwaisa described rebels who came 2 area 2 attack army;some in "black uniforms",some wearing headbands with Jihadi slogans
9:36 AM - 17 Jan 13
Many local men in #Huwaisa cried as they met e'other-1 lost 2 brothers,another his wife & sister.They said rebels wr different-not FSA
Who will know better who killed the people in Huwaisa? The local people on the ground or Reuters propaganda source which sits somewhere in Britain?

Posted by b on January 17, 2013 at 17:51 UTC | Permalink


Per w/p: Bill Neely is a journalist who is International Editor for ITV News, the news service produced by ITN for British commercial broadcaster ITV.

So why is ITV running this rubbish from Reuters, when they have their own reporter in situ?

"The report cannot be independently verified due to reporting restrictions in the country." HaHaHa (if it weren't quite so disturbingly serious).

Alex Thomson a reporter for rival Channel 4 news had a similar experience before Christmas. File copy, see network ignore and put out hasbara.

Anywa, B, keep up the wonderful work. I'm a true and devoted admirer.

Posted by: StrandOfSilk | Jan 17 2013 18:44 utc | 1

Another item twittered by Bill Neely today: "The frontline at Bab al Siba'a in #Homs City has not moved a foot in months - exactly the same positions as when I was last there in Oct 12."

One can see a half-empty jar as half-full, but I see the above as an alarming and perplexing failure of the Syrian security forces.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 17 2013 19:26 utc | 2

@2 Parvizyi

What is the meaning of "the frontline". Usually, it means a series of wrecked houses, with inhabitants killed or fled. On one side army snipers, on the other side rebel snipers. The contested area is probably of no strategic value and capturing it would mean dozens of army deaths to kill some rebels and dislodge others, but for what?

More important is that the rebels have failed in Homs as Patrick Cockburn reported that there is hardly any fighting. What happened to the "Farooq Brigade" and its 7000 fighters?
Same in Hama. In December the FSA announced the liberation of the province and warned people to leave. Nothing happened. Basically, the rebels are only strong in Idlib and parts of Aleppo province.

Posted by: KerKaraje | Jan 17 2013 20:12 utc | 3


Exactly, some months ago Homs was under complete(?) control of the terrorists. Now its almost under complete control of the government, with just few blocks still under terrorists infestation. Why its not 100% cleared? There is no enough army to secure everything, thats obvious by now. Even after districts are cleared, terrorists infiltrate again due to their mobility and leaky borders. Army and militia have to pick their battles - what targets are important, which have priority, etc.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 17 2013 20:43 utc | 4

3 KerKaraje, rebels have a considerable part of Aleppo city, too. Though sure, the Syrian Army will restrict itself to make sure the strategic parts are safe and will avoid to get overstretched. Virtually everybody on Syria's side agrees (Russians, Iran, Hezbollah) that there will have to be a negotiated outcome. So the fighting will not be to win all of the country back but for strength in the negotiations.

There is attrition on all sides. Turkey is getting impatient.

The US provides another ‘expiry date’ for Syria’s government, insisting to Turkish officials that Bashar al-Assad will fall in six months

According to U.S. assessments, 80 percent of the country is under the control of militants, while almost 40 percent of Damascus has fallen into rebel hands. As such, al-Assad has resorted to missiles because he has been unable to redeploy his overstretched forces, U.S. officials told Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu during a recent meeting involving the State and Defense Departments that also touched on Iran, Iraq and the Middle East peace process.

For its part, the Turkish side asked the Barack Obama administration to be more active now that the presidential elections are complete, while conveying its concerns over the 22-month-long crisis. Turkey also criticized the timing of Washington’s decision to declare the Jabhat al-Nusra front, an Islamist group at the forefront of the fight against the Syrian government, as a terrorist organization.

In other news FSA have started to fight against Al Nusra. However, Al Nusra is the most efficient force according to the sympathizing BBC.

So "Western" countries have the choice of diminishing their negotiation power or be caught red handed in supporting terrorists.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 17 2013 20:47 utc | 5

@5 somebody.
Back in August the rebels through their commander Al-Oqaidi claimed to control "between 60 and 70%" of Aleppo. This would mean that despite several allegedly "major" or "strategic" victories in and around Aleppo (capture of the Sheikh Suleiman base, capture of the base of the 46th regiment, capture of Maarat al Numan, making unusable of Abu Duhur airport and and and) the rebels have not managed to make further gains.
There is endless talk of rebels "controlling" Aleppo countryside, but Andan, Azaz, Al-Bab, Heiratan, Maarat, Saraqeb and many other rebel-held areas are bombed and pounded almost on daily basis.

I am quite sure that while the rebels may hold up to 50% of Aleppo, the portion of the population living on the government controlled side is much bigger. It´s the same with many Homs refugees going to governmen controlled Damascus. Means life under rebels or in rebel-controlled areas is much worse.

Posted by: KerKaraje | Jan 17 2013 21:23 utc | 6

Nice debunking job by "b".

Posted by: вот так | Jan 18 2013 1:54 utc | 7

Has anyone else noticed that these fictional "massacres" are always of around "100 people"? It seems probable the zionists writing this toss are getting this information from a "study" that found the figure of 100 would be the best to use for their propaganda purposes. Something like a "marketing formula" probably worked in a private study at one of their "think tanks". I've noticed they reuse the same concepts often (like the hasbara web trolls do), these are not very creative or original thinkers who invent this stuff. More like the sort who suck and backstab their way up military and corporate chain of commands. The only reason this propaganda works at all is because zionists run the media and work very diligently to actively prevent people getting any other information.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 18 2013 3:17 utc | 8

So effectively the rebels control the the largely sunni countryside and outer suburbs that was probably sympathetic to the muslim brotherhood anyway while the Assadies still hold enough of everywhere else to continue fighting. The point was of this war again? to push Iran out and isolate Hizbolah? if so it's failed miserably.

Posted by: heath | Jan 18 2013 3:27 utc | 9

Al-Shihabi: We Have Decisive Evidence on Turkey's Involvement in Robbing Factories in Aleppo

"Head of the Federation of Syrian Chambers of Industry, Eng. Fares Shihabi, stressed that Aleppo Industry Chamber has decisive evidence on the involvement of the Turkish government in stealing production lines and machines from hundreds of factories in Aleppo city and smuggling them into the Turkish territories in clear breach of the international laws."

Turkey gets more like Israel by the day...

Posted by: вот так | Jan 18 2013 3:45 utc | 10

Here is a rundown of Syrian military ops against the Israeli-American terrorists for the day of 17 Jan.:

Terrorists Killed, Vehicles Destroyed in Several Areas

As one can see, a lot of action took place in several regions. This isn't an unusual amount of fighting, either. As one can also see, fighting these terrorists is like fighting criminal gangs (bandit gangs), rather than a stand up fight between rival military forces. The terrorists invade an area, kill, terrorise, sack and run back to some safe spot and hide. Then they do it again. From the descriptions I've read lately of clashes, most of these seem to be raids by the Syrian military on terrorist hiding spots. It's likely the Syrian military is concentrating on hitting these terrorists in their "safe spots" and are better able to find them there.

See also:

17_01_2013 ~ Syrian Video News from National Syrian Television (ENG)

About halfway through it they talk about an arms cache captured, showing the weapons, from one of the government raids on a terrorist "hideout". Quite a bit of stuff, including some Israeli weapons.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 18 2013 4:06 utc | 11

I can't confirm whether this picture actually depicts the Syrian students who died in Allepo, but as there have been way too many faceless victims during this onslaught, I add the link to it anyway.

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Jan 18 2013 4:12 utc | 12

@heath #9:
How broad and deep is support for the Muslim Brotherhood militants among the Syrian Sunni population? It's probably higher among rural and traditional Sunnis, especially men, but how accurate are interviews with people who may hesitate to speak openly because of worries about government minders on the one hand and about fundamentalists (with limited tolerance for Sunni moderates) on the other?

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jan 18 2013 7:15 utc | 13

12 months ago, 6 months ago or even just a few months ago, this story would have been big news as the drums for intervention grew louder. But it has now been largely ignored. Why? Three reasons strike me for this. One, the realisation that it's Assad v Al Qaeda (one reporter for The Times even described him as 'charismatic' during his recent speech. More recently, most speculated that the university attack in Aleppo was the work of the opposition); two, that the opposition and their 'activists' are compulsive liars (asides from others 'massacres' that never were and blaming the Government for their own heinous crimes, images of a thousand supporters chanting Assad's name during his speech can't have done much for opposition claims that 'the Syrian people' want him gone); three, lack of interest - see Iraq.

I can't imagine that any of these reasons will favour the opposition, let alone the beating that militants receive at the hands of the Syrian airforce.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Jan 18 2013 10:13 utc | 14

Neely's report is out:

I saw blood and human remains inside one house.

Local men say a woman and five children were killed there. They say rebels in black uniforms had come to the house and wanted to use the roof to attack the base. Many of the locals had refused.

At that point, say the men, they were shot. The bodies of the women and children were burned. I saw blood on the floor, a room where there had been a fire and human remains. The children's clothes were hanging on a washing line.

The men said the fighters were different from before. They wore "black uniforms" and had headbands with Jihadi slogans. One young man was very animated - wide eyed - as he described these men.

Most were Syrian they said, some were not. One said they were from Jabhat al Nusra.

Posted by: b | Jan 18 2013 10:44 utc | 15

"I can't imagine that any of these reasons will favour the opposition, let alone the beating that militants receive at the hands of the Syrian airforce. "

hence the need for the recent rash of stories emanating from BBC and Reuters telling us how the "rebels" are luverrly peepil really, totally supported by the people of Homs and Aleppo. No, really!

apparently, in between raping, murdering, beheading, bombing etc etc these guys are very kind to kittens as you can see here also

Posted by: yeah, but . . . | Jan 18 2013 10:54 utc | 16


I'm not so sure about that any more. The BBC didn't have to produce a report which presents the opposition as militants in ski masks and proponents of Sharia law and an Islamic state (see link in #5). Sure, we're told about their reputation "for discipline and honesty, bravery and piety", and the BBC undoubtedly leans in favour of the opposition, typically attempting to justify rather than explain the actions of terrorists, but few will see past the masks and those same black flags that adorned the walls of execution chambers of Western prisoners in Iraq.

And I've seen a number of fairly decent articles from reuters that depict the opposition as unwelcome savages. It's just taken 2 years for it to happen.

CNN on the otherhand...

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Jan 18 2013 11:55 utc | 17

proof the West can't walk and chew gum at the same time? Maybe Mali has turned their focus to nearer and dearer issues. Syria is about ME geopolitics, Mali is about powering the nukes that turn lights on in Nice.

Posted by: scottindallas | Jan 18 2013 13:25 utc | 18

Mayaleh: News on Printing Banknotes of SYP 2,000 Baseless

"Governor of the Central Bank of Syria, Dr. Adib Mayaleh said that news broadcast by media outlets on printing banknotes of SYP 2,000 is ''categorically baseless, and is part of the conspiracy against Syria which aims to undermine the Syrian economy, spread concerns and discredit the Syrian currency.''

In a statement to SANA, Mayaleh warned the citizens of dealing in this fake currency if found and urged them to tip off the authorities concerned, adding that only banknotes of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 Syrian pounds are in circulation."

Both Mossad and the CIA have a documented history of counterfeiting the currency of other countries in order to cause economic problems in them.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 18 2013 18:58 utc | 19

Syria, an alternate reality. Interview with Anastasia Popova

"Pressenza has recently re-launched an article written by Silvia Cattori, that reported the documentary made by Anastasia Popova and transmitted by the channel Russia 24. This publication has attracted praise and criticism for the point of view about what is happening in Syria that is very different from the one circulating in the European media.

For this reason we decided to pursue this issue by talking to the author of the report, a young journalist who covered the “Arab spring” in different countries and has spent some time in Syria, in contact with many people involved in the conflict.

What is your general impression about the state of the conflict?

From the time when we arrived in August all the way until December, what struck us the most was the difference between what was being said about Syria from the outside and what was actually happening inside the country. Sometimes it would reach the point of absurdity, when we would get calls from our channel asking us about so-and-so square where an anti-government demonstration was being shot at by tanks or artillery. We would get to that square and there was literally nothing — a few pedestrians and a policeman directing traffic.

Despite all our attempts we didn’t manage to find the thousands-strong demonstrations against the government so often talked about by the Western media. We spoke to the opposition, and even they told us that it was very difficult to gather people to protest. The only way to do this was through the mosques, and if they managed to get even 50 people to come out for fifteen minutes and film them, they considered it a victory. The vast majority of the population was just not interested.

Then provocations started, people were killed for belonging to the wrong religion, armed attacks on government buildings and employees, police stations and court houses began.

We have received criticism that Russia 24 is a channel that only reflects the position of the Russian government: what can you reply?

It’s easy to attack the messenger when you don’t like the message. When people see reports done from comfortable hotel rooms in Lebanon, citing “unverified information” from activists about supposed government atrocities, they chant “Yes! Yes! Kill the evil dictator!”, but when someone actually spends considerable time in Syria trying to figure out what’s going on, then comes back and says, “Hey guys, that is not AT ALL what is happening…”, people brand it as government propaganda. So what can I reply? That a ticket to Syria is not that expensive and its borders are open. Over 300 foreign media outlets worked there and sent their reports via the Internet, freely and without any censorship from the Syrian government; 3G is available all over the country. If you do not trust me, “a young reporter from a state-owned Russian channel”, go and see for yourself. But don’t be surprised to end up in an alternate reality."

This is an outstanding interview, which the above is a sample.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 18 2013 19:17 utc | 20

AFP seems to admit, that Nusra Front terrorists coming with tanks from Turkey (!) attacked the Syrian city Ras Al-Ain:

So, AFP reports, that Al Qaeda linked terrorists are in Turkey allowe to drive tanks, cross borders into neighboring countries and attack civilian cities there.

I wonder if there exists any law in Turkey forbidding Al Qaeda linked terrorists to drive tanks in Turkey and to attack neighboring countries with tank incursions? An if there exists any law forbidding Al Qaeda linked terrorists to drive tanks in Turkey, I wonder if they have any law inforcement in Turkey doing something against terrorists driving tanks to attack peaceful neighbor countries.

Posted by: Bandolero | Jan 19 2013 0:14 utc | 21


"So, AFP reports, that Al Qaeda linked terrorists are in Turkey allowe to drive tanks, cross borders into neighboring countries and attack civilian cities there."

You don't understand. With Bin Laden officially dead now, there's no reason not to let Al Qaida run about driving tanks. We can go back to the good old days when Al Qaida fought the commies and spread democracy for Israel-America.

On a serious note, one has to admit the Turks got themselves into a no win situation. They are being undercut by the PPK, for the most part, an Israeli-American cut out org now. They are having to host the bog dwellers collectively labeled Al Qaida, also an Israeli-American front used to destabilise regions and do those things Israel, the USA and their European pet regimes can't officially be caught doing, so these mercs can attack Syria and beyond. They have to suck up to Israel and at the same time pretend they are independent of the Israeli colonial thumb. They get to do everything the Americans tell them to, not question such authority, and get to be on the front lines of a series of wars that can only leave them eventually in a destroyed state similar to Iraq. They get to be a pawn of NATO, but the EU isn't interested in them joining at the trough. I could go on, but it is obvious, the Turkish puppets are being played like Saddam Hussein and Manuel Noreiga were by Israel-America. Perhaps Erdogan et al think that this time things will be different, the Israel-Americans wont bugger them like they eventually do the rest, but that is just a variation on one of the definitions of stupidity - thinking that continuing to do something the same way will bring about a different out come.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 19 2013 1:15 utc | 22

Missile Attack in Aleppo, Car Bomb Blasts in Daraa, Casualties Reported

"A terrorist group on Friday fired a missile on the residential area of al-Mouhafza in the city of Aleppo, resulting in casualties.

The missile, which was launched from al-Kallasa area, also caused material damage in the place.

Later, Initial information indicated that two car bombs exploded in Daraa al-Balad, resulting in victims and injured people, most of them are prayers at al-Hassan mosque.

The blasts also caused material damage."

These are the sort of terrorist attacks Israel-America uses its proxies (and, as its been documented on several occasions, special forces/intelligence operatives) to keep Iraq and Pakistan in turmoil. Same kinds of targets and methods. This suggests that they are working to keep Syria in chaos, like Iraq and Pakistan, as an alternative method of neutralising Syrian influence in the region - specifically so Syria is kept to busy to help the Palestinians, Hezbollah and Iran. It seems, for now, Israel-America has given up the idea their death squads will conquer Syria, and has opted for maximum terror to disrupt the country as much as they can.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 19 2013 2:07 utc | 23

21) yeah Turkey does have anti-terrorism laws
Turkey Anti Terror arrests target prominent human rights lawyers

Posted by: somebody | Jan 19 2013 4:16 utc | 24

Yet another massacre lie?!
shakes head

Did you all happen to catch the chem weapon denial?
Covered this the day before christmas, the allegations of chem weapon use
Of course they were bogus as called by myself
Vindicated! :)
But the question is why?
Why go to the trouble of denying rather then just letting it slide, like all the other lies?

US shoots down chemical/hallucinogenic report

Posted by: Penny | Jan 19 2013 12:57 utc | 25

@25 Penny

"Why go to the trouble of denying rather then just letting it slide, like all the other lies?"

I guess its because US said they'll "intervene" if chemical WMD is used, but since they arent ready (or Syria isnt weakened enough), to save the face they are downplaying their mercenaries red-flag event.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 19 2013 13:36 utc | 26

Well, France, and the rest of the west, at least stands on the government side in Mali against the angry little floaters of Al Qaida, though, why they weren't on the right side in Syria too from the start is a harder one too explain in the history books.

Posted by: Alexander | Jan 19 2013 15:04 utc | 27

Harry @ 26

I wonder if Israel was putting the pressure on the US prior to the Israeli election?

Posted by: Penny | Jan 19 2013 15:05 utc | 28

"Well, France, and the rest of the west, at least stands on the government side in Mali against the angry little floaters of Al Qaida, though, why they weren't on the right side in Syria too from the start is a harder one too explain in the history books."

A gross misreading of the situation, from what I can see.

"France and the rest of the west" have created this situation, just as they did the one in Syria, and just as they did the one in Libya, to give them an excuse to publicly overtly move-in. Except in Syria it hasn't worked out so well, so they decided to re-jig the template. So instead of this time covertly supplying the Islamist mercs with supplies, weaponry etc and comdemning Gov't reaction to such terrorism, like they did in Syria and Libya, instead "France and the West" have decided to encourage the Islamist Mercs while at the same time supporting the Malian Gov't with direct Military intervention.

Win/Win for the French/Western Pirates/Psychopaths.

What is it about that that you seem unable to process?

Calling that "stand[ing] on the government side in Mali against the angry little floaters of Al Qaida," is bordering on moronic, to be honest.

have you understood anything that has been written here thus far?

Posted by: yeah, but . . . | Jan 19 2013 17:44 utc | 29

Another rocket attack against civilians in Aleppo by the Israeli-American terrorists:

Army Command: Armed Forces Targeted Terrorists' Rocket Launching Pads

"The General Command of the Army and Armed Forces affirmed that armed terrorist groups, in an attempt to reduce the pressure on them and turn attention away from the defeats they're suffering in several areas in Aleppo province, committed a new massacre against the people of Aleppo on Friday.

In a statement, the General Command said that the terrorists launched a rocket from al-Kallaseh neighborhood to the heavily-populated area of al-Muhafaza, leading to the martyring and injuring of a number of innocent citizens and causing severe damage to residential buildings."

Accounts of actions for 19 Jan. In one (Yabroud) it was terrorist vs terrorist as two terrorist groups fought over stolen property.

Terrorists Suffer Heavy Losses in Several Areas

From the above it's becoming more clear why the Israeli-American war on Syria is failing from a military perspective. For these terrorists and mercs to succeed, they would need NATO/Israeli air support (like in Libya) at the very least. Thanks to China and Russia, they didn't get that. The death squads would probably also need real soldier help in the form of invading NATO/Israeli ground forces. Something the Israeli-Americans don't seem to want to risk right now. While Israel-America cant conquer Syria, they will continue to terrorise the country and try and destroy it economically.

Posted by: вот так | Jan 19 2013 18:19 utc | 30

Unarmed Syrian opposition welcomed to join the Cabinet

"Any opposition parties that lay down their weapons and agree to take part in a national dialogue are welcomed to join a new Cabinet with wide executive powers, Syria’s foreign minister Walid al-Moallem said in an interview with state TV.

“I tell the young men who carried arms to change and reform, take part in the dialogue for a new Syria and you will be a partner in building it,” Moallem stated, adding that “those who want foreign intervention will not be among us.”

The Syrian government has already started contacting “representatives of the Syrian people,” Moallem added.

Earlier in January President Bashar Assad proposed a national reconciliation plan which included talks with representatives of the opposition parties, elections and a new constitution."

Posted by: вот так | Jan 20 2013 1:20 utc | 31

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