Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 07, 2014

The Bogus Aleppo Prison Breach

Yesterday some insurgent groups in Syria claimed that the Aleppo prison was stormed after a suicide attack and that hundreds of prisoners were freed. The claim was widely reported in "western" media:

BEIRUT (AP) — A suicide bomber blew himself up at the gates of a Syrian prison Thursday and rebels stormed in behind him, freeing hundreds of inmates as part of an offensive aimed at capturing key government symbols around the northern city of Aleppo, activists said.

Today the insurgent propaganda office claims that the government has recaptured the prison.

Syrian troops retook Friday most of Aleppo's prison, lost to rebels a day earlier, in fighting that has killed at least 46 people over two days, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

But the fate of hundreds of prisoners reportedly freed after Islamist and jihadist fighters overran the facility was unclear, with suggestions that they may not have been able to flee amid the fighting.

But the facts beg to differ. The vehicle based bomb and the British suicide bomber driving it never came to the prison gate but were defeated before reaching it. The prison's perimeter was not breached and no prisoners were able to escape in the first place. Jabhad al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, which cooperated in the attack, lost dozens of fighters when the Syrian air force hit the areas around the prison.

This case is just another reminder that neither the insurgency propaganda organizations, nor its multipliers in the "western" media can be trusted with regard to their information on Syria.

Posted by b on February 7, 2014 at 14:56 UTC | Permalink


Well caught! We learn here what other media are at pains to obscure.

A classic case of the script being written, the production cast but the performance cancelled at the last moment.

It is not unlikely that the "Syrian Observatory" receives more government money for its banal and dishonest productions than the National Theatre.

Posted by: bevin | Feb 7 2014 15:30 utc | 1

There was a story on thie Great Escape in my local paper, picked up from AP. I doubt we will see a retraction. Wheels really coming off the psy-ops train. The young talent has gone into banking, where the pay is infinitely better, and they can still indulge in dirty tricks.

Posted by: Knut | Feb 7 2014 15:49 utc | 2

'b' the propaganda de-bunker.. you have your work cut out for you!

Posted by: james | Feb 7 2014 16:59 utc | 3

I've been following the Central Prison siege closely and agree with your assesment. It's important to note that this whole attack yesterday on the Prison was a desperate move by Al Nusra. The Syrian Army is moving closer and closer to the prison and should break the siege shortly (the SAA are only a mile or two away just need to fully contol the nearby Industrial Area and a few fields). For Al Nusra this attack on the prison was a "now or never" move.

A Chechen commander, Sayfullah al Shishani, who was one of the main military commanders in Al Nusra was given the job of overrunning the prison. This armoured truck was rigged with explosive, which they planned to blow at the entrance to the prison, however it was hit by a RPG a few meters from the gate but was still powerful enough to bring down the outer wall.

Al Nusra appears to have overrun a courtyard before reaching a second inner wall which they couldn't breach. At which time artillery and airstrikes hit the courtyard forcing a retreat. A Photo of a dead Sayfullah al Shishani has been making the round. As has a Photo of a rebel tank inside the courtyard to the Prison.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Feb 7 2014 17:07 utc | 4

Nice one - I also saw the story that they had captured the prison, and for what it's worth, I believed it. I didn't bother to blog it, though, because it didn't seem to me to be likely to be decisive in the war as a whole.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Feb 7 2014 18:09 utc | 5

The anti-Syria media is desperately trying to divert from the fact that the Syrian Army, contrary to Kerry's assessment, is not in a 'stalemate' but steadily and surely advancing.
In the last few days another scoop: Jarba is going to Russia to 'put pressure on Russia' to dump Bashar al Assad.
Since then total silence from the media. He got a tap in the back and bye bye.

Another more recent scoop: Jarba is pompously announcing that the USA will send heavy weapons to the rebels. The question is which rebels?

The SAA will probably leave the areas occupied by the ISIL and allies to the West to deal with.
In the meantime, the "rebels" are being pushed north toward Turkey's border. Erdogan is starting to panic as they are moving inside Turkey.
He expects some terrorist acts that will add to his headache.
Time to pay.

Posted by: Virgile | Feb 7 2014 19:10 utc | 6

It seems to me that the leak of Nuland's 'private' conversation, from what I assume to be a Class 1 Secure Channel, has dire implications for the security of "rebel" and other clandestine communications in Syria and elsewhere. It tends to make the NSA's snooping look futile and amateurish when one considers that:
1. The NSA scoops up more data than it can ever hope to process
2. The people who scooped up Nuland's conversation (and Syria's "rebel" conversations) knew exactly what they were looking for, and found it in plenty of time to do something about it - unlike the NSA.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 7 2014 21:41 utc | 7

Interesting account claiming it was a completely Chechen operation:

See also this one regarding the anti-russian Sochi propaganda:
'Stray dogs in Sochi to be killed by contractor.'

Posted by: Toby | Feb 8 2014 0:26 utc | 8


And, may I say, it couldn't happen to a more deserving neocon.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Feb 8 2014 1:01 utc | 9

Today, from the 'insurgent propaganda office'...

U.S. Treasury says Iran helping Al-Qaeda in Syria

Iran is assisting key Al-Qaeda figures to transfer Sunni fighters into Syria, the Obama administration charged Thursday.

The accusation, detailed in new sanctions imposed by the U.S. Treasury department targeting Iranian terror links, indicates Iranian officials are backing opposing sides in the Syrian civil war.

Olimzhon Adkhamovich Sadikov, described by the Treasury Department as an Iran-based Islamic Jihad Union facilitator who “operates there with the knowledge of Iranian authorities,” was designated for providing logistical support and funding to Al-Qaeda’s Iran-based network.

Posted by: CTuttle | Feb 8 2014 2:44 utc | 10

@9 the comments in response to that article sum it up pretty well.. you've described it quite well too, lol..

Posted by: james | Feb 8 2014 3:29 utc | 11

"Al-Qaeda’s Iran-based network"


Posted by: guest77 | Feb 8 2014 3:35 utc | 12

just tangentially related. But as predicted, the République “Israel’s concerns”-çaise has gone begging to Iran for business deals.

French minister hits back at US on Iran business ties

PARIS: A visit to Iran by a 116-strong delegation of French business figures is "a bet" on the future and not "business as usual", France's finance minister said Wednesday, brushing off US criticism of the trip.

"It's not about doing 'business as usual'," Pierre Moscovici told journalists at an entrepreneurs' gathering in Paris, referring to an expression used by US Secretary of State John Kerry when he phoned his French counterpart to complain about the visit.

The French delegation, with representatives from major companies such as Total, Lafarge and Peugeot, is the largest of its kind from Europe since a landmark nuclear deal reached with the major powers in November gave Iran limited relief from crippling US and EU sanctions.

Kerry told French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius that the trip -- even though organised through the private sector -- was "not helpful" in sending the message that "it is not business as usual" with Iran.

Read more:

Posted by: guest77 | Feb 8 2014 3:43 utc | 13

james @10 *heh* That was b's appellation, but, I did love this comment...

What a silly article... USA trying to link THE -Al-Qaida- to Iran? What's next, USA linking Iran to 9/11?

Posted by: CTuttle | Feb 8 2014 4:12 utc | 14

@CTuttle | 13

"What's next, USA linking Iran to 9/11?"

Was that rhetorical? Because its already done, US court declared Iran guilty for 9/11 :))

In any case, this asinine propaganda about /insert US's victim/ being supporter of Al Qaeda is done over and over again, and I doubt anyone with more than two brain cells buys such stupid claims.

Just from the top of my head:
* Saddam was fighting against Al Qaeda, yet he was charged with their support by US, and it was one of the core "reasons" why Iraq was attacked, after fake WMD claim.
* Gaddafi was charged with terrorists support, even though he intensely fought against them.
* Iran was many times charged as Al Qaeda supporter, even though they are mortal enemies.
* Syria is being destroyed by Al Qaeda and the likes for over two year, and guess what? US claims Assad supports Al Qaeda! It couldnt get more bizarre than that.

Irony is especially strong considering its US who created Al Qaeda, and supported it in many countries, including recently in Libya (openly) and in Syria (through proxies).

Posted by: Harry | Feb 8 2014 7:02 utc | 15

Harry @14 Naturally, it's 9/11 'terra, terra, terra' 24/7...!

Syria a U.S. homeland security threat - DHS chief

The civil war in Syria has become a threat to U.S. national security, with Westerners traveling to fight in the conflict, where extremists try to recruit them for missions back home, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said on Friday.

"Syria has become a matter of homeland security," Johnson said in his first policy speech since assuming the job in December.


Posted by: CTuttle | Feb 8 2014 8:03 utc | 16

Though it has to be read as an attempt to further the "Good Rebel/Bad Rebel" narrative (or, as Rusty Pipes excellently put it: the "the rebels: now with less rat in it") Al Jazeera has even more news of rebel brutality.

Al-Qaeda slaughters on Syria's killing fields More than 1,000 Syrians flee al-Qaeda-linked group as they mow down children and behead prisoners in cold blood.

By nightfall, at least 10 men had been beheaded, their heads mounted on spikes, and more than 1,000 refugees fled the 3kms across the border to Turkey.

But when an ISIL car bomb killed 33 people - all women and children - the FSA brigade called for backup. Instead, what arrived was a 70-car ISIL convoy from Raqqa, an ISIL stronghold 160kms to the south-east.

More than 100 men were taken from their homes and escorted to the main square for what turned into a bloodbath.

Muhammad Jader, 22, and his uncle Ali, 35, were among those arrested.

"They lined us up against the wall," Jader told Al Jazeera, "and the emir told them not to waste bullets. Suddenly they grabbed one guy and pinned him down on his stomach. Then one man from ISIL put his knee on his back, shouted 'Allahu Akbar' and cut off his head with a knife."

"They chose people at random to kill," he said. "There was no logic."

One was beheaded because they found cigarettes in his pocket.

Approximately 40 men were mowed down by a spray of automatic gunfire in a show of reckless and wanton violence.

This is who the likes of that troll Nuland end up supporting. And they'll do the same in the Ukraine. So when the first beheading happens in Kiev, we'll know the shipment of CIA manuals has arrived.

Posted by: guest77 | Feb 9 2014 20:31 utc | 18

Just announced in local media that New Zealanders that have gone to fight on the side of "the activists" (and that was the first I'd heard of that too!!)in Syria have had their NZ passports canceled. I'm not a supporter of the current govt (in particular) but I have to give them a pat on the back for this.

Posted by: NoUserName | Feb 10 2014 11:11 utc | 19

how do you create jihadis? the following piece on the russian 'antigay' laws shows the manipulative psychology involved: substitute muslims for gay, president Assad for president Putin, syria for russia....and you can see how easy it is to arose militaristic passions in men...Fietstein of course becomes Benary Henri Levy
'Fierstein appeared on most national network and cable news outlets to inform the
audience about the existence of the “Russian Anti-Gay Law” and explain the details of
the legislation and it’s potential impact to the American viewer.
Unfortunately, as I would later learn, Fierstein’s Op-Ed and media appearances were
flooded with inaccuracies, wildly extreme assumptions and a lot of emotion (as we
review the law in the following chapters, you will clearly understand the validity of the
previous statement).
At the time of his appearances I was stunned by the information Fierstein was sharing
and immediately felt that something must be done to help my LGBTQQI brothers and
sisters in the Russian Federation.
In retrospect, as you will learn in the subsequent pages, any newsroom’s most unskilled
intern could have quickly debunked several of the falsehoods that Fierstein presented as
fact. This did not happen and the information shared by Fierstein went completely
unchallenged--- at a time that a producer or editor could have chosen to put a package
together which would present facts about the law, gay rights in Russia and several of the
emotional claims Fierstein made; no major media outlet challenged him.
Not only did Fierstein’s messaging go unchecked, it became the messaging used by
almost every broadcast media outlet and would soon solidify the average viewer’s
understanding of the “Russian Anti-Gay Law”. Within days a new meme would emerge and be universally accepted: it’s illegal to be gay
in Russia and one can be thrown in jail if he or she is suspected of being gay.'

outraged sunnis then felt justified in flocking to syria to rescue the syrians from the brutal Assad
one tunisian who came to his senses

Posted by: brian | Feb 11 2014 8:48 utc | 20

so far no jihadi has attacked the US mainland and none show any more sign of doing so than they do if attacking israel!
this talk is a a furfy to justify US 'intervention'

Posted by: brian | Feb 11 2014 8:53 utc | 21

Geneva 2 Closing Day: Syrian Delegation & Citizens Unite their Voices in Montreux, Switzerland
(Transcribed from subtitles,
Delegate: ‘The delegation that President Bashar al-Assad commissioned in going to Geneva did not give up and refused any suggestion to cede Syria’s sovereignty.
If the Syrian opposition - not those present, but all of the opposition - wanted to start a political debate, then we are the people of political debate. If some of the terrorists wanted to start a debate on the ground with weapons, then we are the people of combat.’
[Bouthania Shabaan]: ‘First, I mourn with you the loss of the martyrs. I salute their women, their families, and parents. If it weren’t for their pure blood, we wouldn’t have resisted. In your name, we salute our heroic people, brave army, and resolute president, who loves his people and his country.’
[delegate]: ‘We are here to say, “No to violence! No to killing! No to the Syrians’ bloodshed!” It is impossible for anyone to betray the trust of the Syrian people, this great people that has sacrificed and will sacrifice.’
[Dr al-Jaafari]?: ‘They [SNC] came to Geneva not to engage in a dialogue. They came to one-up and to play the game of treason for global agendas that are much bigger than them. We are not here to score a victory of a Syrian over another Syrian. Not at all. Their delegation got split, and clashes and disagreements among them became apparent. now, before we got out and after the session was closed by Brahimi, two of them stopped and said that disagree with what they themselves have stated.
[female delegate, to the protesters]: ‘With your presence and that of people like you, and with the presence of a resisting Syrian people... Three years under terrorism, and a Syrian Arab Army that has sacrificed with everything. Young people who are flowers are getting martyred so that this country remains. You, our Syrian community and our young people outside Syria who make us proud, just so you’re assured we won’t cede one grain of soil or one principle.
Syria is for Syrians and for non-Syrians. Syria is for Syria and for Arabs... with its dignity and pride... and its president, Bashar al-Assad.
[protester]: ‘We are ere to stand in solidarity with Syria and President Bashar al-Assad. We tell him: “Yes!”
[young man]: ‘I’m from Qusayr, Homs. I came here to say: “No to terrorism! No to extremism! We are with the leader, Dr Bashar al-Assad! We are with the Syrian government.”
[protester]: ‘We came here from France to confirm to the entire world that we are with President Bashar al-Assad and with the Syrian Arab Army.”
[protester]: ‘Look at this march. See how civilised and sophisticated it is. This is what we represent. We do not represent terrorism. We do not represent backwardness. We used to be the light of civilisations, and we shall remain so, God willing... with the leadership of Bashar al-Assad.
[lady protester]: ‘We came to support our country, Syria and to say that this delegation represents us. We came to show them that these idiots who cannot organise their own delegation cannot organise a country. We are with our army. Our country and our people reject [the SNC]. Even the Army rejects them.
[protester]: ‘We came from the Czech republic in two full buses only to state that the Syrian people are present all around the world. The Syrian people are all one spirit. They all feel the same feelings, whether they are inside or outside Syria. We all came here to support the Syrian Arab army under the leadership of President Bashar Hafez al-Assad.
[scarved female protester]: ‘May Allah give victory to Syria, to its president, and our Army. May we return to our country safe and sound. I came from Ger4many.
[protester]: ‘We all came to tell the world that we refuse any interference in Syria. We are all with president Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian Army. May god protect the Syrian Army and President Bashar al-Assad.
[lady protester]: ‘I came here from Austria.
[interviewer: What would you like to say?]
I came to say that I’m with Syria. I’m Iraqi with Syria.
[interviewer: Both Syria an Iraq have the same issues.]
Yes, it’s the same issues and problems.
[mature protester]: ‘People in Syria are all with President Bashar al-Assad.
[lady protester]: ‘Let’s hope that we can help with anything for Syria and for the Syrian people, who are first and last.
[redheaded lady protester]: ‘The most important thing is that we know who is at the root of terrorism. Once we know who is at the root of terrorism, this issue will be resolved. It is known that Wahhabi and Takfiri ideology is at the root of terrorism.
[male protester, local]: ‘I am a resident of Switzerland and I would like to send a message that we have great confidence in the negotiating Syrian delegation. I would also like to send a message to the delegation of the so-called opposition: you shall be defeated in battles, in negotiations, and on the ground. You were born defeated.
‘We have great confidence in our leadership, in our media campaign that is here; the delegation is raising the Syrian flag in all that it is doing. We will triumph. God permitting, we will triumph. Thank you.
[crowd chants: May God bless the Army! Only God, Syria, and Bashar!]

Posted by: Mina | Feb 11 2014 11:15 utc | 22

another goody in that syrian perspective thread:

"According to our information, US sources spend $20m/week on financing the opposition and rebels, including on weapons," Sergei Glazyev told the Ukrainian edition of Russia's Kommersant. "We have information that the militants are briefed on the territory of the US embassy, that they are being armed. Of course it is unacceptable," he said without providing further details.

Dunno where that came from, maybe the commenter himself translated it from Kommersant.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Feb 11 2014 11:47 utc | 24

Some pictures of the evacuation from Homs Old City on Sunday.
The families of the rebels do not look worn out or emaciated...

Posted by: Mina | Feb 11 2014 15:48 utc | 25

It just struck me: maybe this ISIS guy who just blew himself up in north-eastern Iraq (Salah-ud-Din Province, to be exact), taking 21 trainees on a rapid transit to some region of the beyond, maybe this guy was actually the target that CIA and JSOC were arguing about a couple of days ago. Maybe they went ahead and droned him (I wouldn't like to guess which of them would do it).

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Feb 11 2014 16:09 utc | 26

@26 That incident seemed a bit convenient. It could have been anything, including an agent nearby electronically setting off the device.

Quite amusing though.

Posted by: guest77 | Feb 13 2014 3:48 utc | 27

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