The Western media myth of two battles: ‘Aleppo is falling, Mosul liberated’

The Western media myth of two battles: ‘Aleppo is falling, Mosul liberated’
The Western media has left Aleppo, where the situation is dramatically improving now that the terrorists have been defeated. Meanwhile, Mosul evacuees are getting all of the attention, says journalist Rick Sterling and Anglican Priest Andrew Ashdown.

Thousands of civilians are fleeing the city of Mosul in Iraq on a daily basis, according to the UN. The intensified fighting between US-backed Iraqi forces and ISIS-led terrorists is leading to an increasing number of civilian casualties.

However, Western mass media coverage is much more one-sided when it comes to Mosul, compared to how it has been portraying the situation in Aleppo.

RT:  How different is the situation in Aleppo from what is happening in Mosul?

Rick Sterling: Well, in both cases the governments in Syria and in Iraq are trying to retake parts of the city from terrorists. In Mosul, it is ISIS; in Aleppo, it is primarily the Al-Qaeda branch in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra. However, in the case of Aleppo, the Western media refer to it as “Aleppo falling,” whereas in Mosul they call it “being liberated.”

RT:  Would it be fair to say that media coverage of Aleppo focused on civilian suffering, while reports about Mosul have focused on military success against ISIS? If so, why’s that?

RS: It is because of the inherent bias of the media. The Western media, unfortunately, has entirely left Aleppo, where the situation is dramatically improving now the terrorists have been defeated. Right now civilians are returning to the neighborhoods that were occupied by the terrorists. They are starting the cleanup process. The Syrian Arab Red Crescent is installing electric generators and water tanks. There are a lot of positive developments going on, but when the terrorists left, the White Helmets left, and unfortunately the Western media left also.

RT:  We spoke to Mosul residents, who told us they fear both the terrorists and the coalition. In your view, is the so-called ‘collateral damage’ in Mosul being given enough attention? Why is the media turning a blind eye?

RS: They definitely focused on that with Aleppo. I think there is some coverage of that in Mosul. As to why, it is because the US air coalition is supporting the Iraqi government in recapturing Mosul, whereas the Western media basically in support of the Western governments has been more sympathetic to the armed opposition in Syria.

Western media MIA in Aleppo

When Aleppo was finally liberated, not one Western organization went in to talk to the thousands of people who fled to government-controlled areas to hear their stories, says Andrew Ashdown, Anglican Priest, who just returned from the region.

RT:  You’ve been to Aleppo, and you saw what was going on the ground. How different was it to what’s happening in Mosul right now?

Andrew Ashdown: It is truly remarkable the way in which these two situations are being reported because there are similarities. I was watching, for example, the latest BBC report [yesterday] of the terrible situation in Mosul. All the emphasis is on the Iraqi government forces fighting extremist terrorists ISIS in the city, who are besieging the city and holding the civilians hostage, and showing the thousands of people fleeing the city; then going to talk to them in the refugee camps – they’ve been in the hundreds today.

In Aleppo, the situation there has similarities as well, except that in Aleppo the government was fighting extremist forces that are absolutely acknowledged, linked to ISIS, certainly with similar ideologies that the main groups responsible in East Aleppo.

There is no guarantee that American bombs are any safer than Syrian or Russian bombs.

We now know that civilians were suffering, being held by terrorists and suffering enormously under their occupation, as well. What is very interesting is that when Aleppo was finally liberated, not one Western organization went in to talk to the thousands of people, who either fled to government-controlled areas or are now being looked after in the government-controlled areas, to hear their stories. It didn’t happen at that time, it is not happening now. Nobody is in Aleppo talking about the situation there.

The focus is entirely the opposite in the Western media in Aleppo as to what it is in Mosul – the terrible things that are happening in Mosul now. It is a twisted narrative. The BBC [yesterday] was talking about the constant stress or the brutality of the Islamists on the Mosul population. The stress on the Aleppo civilian population, of the Islamist brutality, which they came out in the thousands were telling the stories, but nobody was listening, and nobody has listened to that either…

RT:  Why do you think the Western mainstream media, changed the way they approaching the story, depending on whether it’s Aleppo or Mosul?

AA: The agendas are completely different. In Syria, there is a clear and declared state where some Western nations want regime change. There is a real irony here that the US and alliances that are fighting against ISIS in Mosul – of course their allies, Saudi and Qatar, are also funding ISIS that the US is fighting.

It is not being very much reported in the West here that the UN in January said that almost half of the casualties in Mosul were civilians. In Aleppo, it was stated that the Syrian government and the Russians were targeting civilians in the thousands. Meanwhile, the US allies in Mosul, thousands of civilians are being killed. There is no guarantee that American bombs are any safer than Syrian or Russian bombs. And you’re dealing with an urban warfare situation, where populations are being held by extremist, brutal Islamist groups in both contexts. But it is being reported completely differently according to each situation.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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US, Russian, Turkish military chiefs meet in Antalya to discuss Syria, Iraq (PHOTOS)

US, Russian, Turkish military chiefs meet in Antalya to discuss Syria, Iraq (PHOTOS)
Turkey’s military chief of staff, General Hulusi Akar, is hosting a meeting with the heads of the US and Russian armed forces in the southern Turkish province of Antalya, according to Ankara and Moscow.

The top brass are expected to discuss security issues in Syria and Iraq, the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) said in a statement.

The meeting is being attended by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford Jr., Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia Valery Gerasimov and Turkey’s military chief of staff General Hulusi Akar.

On Monday, the Pentagon confirmed that a small number of US troops had been sent to the northern Syrian town of Manbij to deter conflict between the US-backed Kurdish forces and Turkey-backed rebels.

READ MORE: US troops spotted in armored convoy near Manbij, Syria (VIDEO)

US troops were first spotted in Manbij on Saturday, following reports of a deal between the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Syrian government to hand over some 20 villages in a zone between Manbij and Al-Bab, recently taken by Turkish-backed forces.

UPDATE: Pentagon confirms US troops in Manbij intended as “visible symbol” to keep focus on 

The US-backed SDF is mostly comprised of Kurdish militia, considered terrorists by Turkey. Washington has supported the SDF as a proxy force on the ground against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) independent of the Syrian Army, which is supported by Russia and Iran.

Last week, the US-backed group struck a deal with Russia to turn over up to 20 villages west of Manbij to the Syrian Army, creating a buffer zone between the Kurdish-dominated militia and the Turks. While implementation of the deal has been delayed, around five villages were handed over on Monday, Sharfan Darwish, spokesman for the Manbij Military Council, told Reuters.

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US warned Israel of ‘immediate crisis’ if West Bank annexed – Israeli defense minister

US warned Israel of ‘immediate crisis’ if West Bank annexed – Israeli defense minister
Israel risks a “crisis” with the new US administration if it moves to annex the West Bank, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has cautioned in response to radical proposals related to Palestinian territories, citing a “direct” warning from Washington.

Calls to annex several settlements in the occupied West Bank, or even its whole territory, have been lately voiced by some members of the ruling coalition in the Israeli Knesset. The proposals have sparked an international outcry.

Speaking to the Israeli Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday, Lieberman, however, implied that even the staunchly pro-Israel administration of Donald Trump has warned against annexing the West Bank.

“We received a message directly — not indirectly, not a hint — from the US, that Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank means an immediate crisis with the new administration,” Lieberman said, as cited by The Times of Israel.

Lieberman did not provide any further details on the source of the statement and its contents.

READ MORE: Israeli MPs vote to legalize 4,000 settler homes in West Bank amid ‘annexation’ outcry

He added that in face of potential repercussions, the ruling coalition must make “unequivocally clear” that it harbors no immediate plans to enforce Israeli sovereignty on the occupied territories.

The warning followed the proposal by Miki Zohar, MP from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, to discard the idea of the two-state solution once and for all and create a single Israeli state where Arab citizens would be stripped of political rights.

The controversial idea, first articulated by Zohar on The Spin Room talk show aired by I24News on Sunday, has immediately drawn criticism as being in violation of democratic principles of the Israeli state, forcing Lieberman to assure foreign partners that Zohar’s viewpoint does not reflect the Israeli government’s stance.

“Zohar is a leading member of the coalition. I believe he’s the acting chairman of the coalition… I call on members of the Knesset and first and foremost on the coalition to act responsibly and take a clear and firm position,” Lieberman urged. He argued that Zohar’s proposal is not viable, arguing that Jewish people, on the contrary, “need to separate from the Palestinians.”

READ MORE: Palestinians, with some luck of the Irish, may get another nod for statehood

Explaining the essence of his proposal, Zohar elaborated that not all Palestinians would be denied the right to vote in parliamentary elections, but only those who refuse to serve in the Israeli army.

“I promise you: they [the Palestinians] won’t serve in the army, they will [prefer to] give up the option to vote,” Zohar claimed, adding that Trump’s reported criticism of his proposal might be a product of Lieberman’s imagination, who wants “to dictate a reality that has not yet been created in Washington.”

Last week, the deputy chairman of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, Mahmoud Al-Aloul, did not exclude the possibility of a one-state solution, given that it would be a democratic state with equal rights to Palestinians and Jews.

READ MORE: Trump-Netanyahu: When one state is better than two

“The one state that we’re talking about is historically a democratic state in which everyone lives equally — that is acceptable. However, we know that Israel will not accept it… they cannot agree to it,” Al-Aloul told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, as cited by i24 News.

Following Trump’s inauguration on January 20, Israel has ramped up its settlement activity, approving thousands of the housing units in the first weeks of his presidency and legalizing around 4,000 settler homes in the West Bank, with the so-called Regulation Bill, deemed by Israel’s Attorney-General unconstitutional.

The new bill, envisioning annexation of the Ma’aleh Adunim settlement, had been in the works for several months. Proponents of the bill called for the legislation to be adopted following Trump’s inauguration, but Netanyahu requested the bill be put on hold until his meeting with Trump on February 15. At the meeting, Trump asked Israel to “hold off on settlements for a little bit,” but fell short of backing a two-state solution.

Since then, the bill has been postponed several times, most recently on Friday, when it was delayed for another week.

Ma’aleh Adunim, with a population of about 38,000, is the third largest settlement in the West Bank. Located seven kilometers from Jerusalem in occupied Palestinian territory, the settlement is considered illegal by international law.

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