Back on 15th January 2017 I wrote a piece for The Duran in which I contrasted the detailed on the spot reporting of Turkish journalist Fehim Taştekin in eastern Aleppo with the failure of western journalists to visit or report from Aleppo notwithstanding that following the end of the fighting there the city is finally safe for journalists to visit.
When I wrote that piece I was unaware that the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen was actually in Aleppo as I was writing it.
Jeremy Bowen is an excellent reporter and journalist, and one who knows the Middle East well and who has been reporting from the Middle East for a long time. He has visited Aleppo before, and his views about the political situation there, and his report of what eyewitnesses in Aleppo say about the fighting which happened there, would be of great interest.
Unfortunately his written report for the BBC, which appears on the BBC’s website, is completely uninformative either about the current political and security situation in Aleppo, or about the fighting that took place there just a few weeks ago.
It makes no reference to any comment from any of the individuals in Aleppo Jeremy Bowen must have spoken to about the claims of atrocities which supposedly were carried out by both sides there, or about the allegations of barrel bombings, or about the supposed attacks on the hospitals, or about who was responsible for the damage to the buildings of which Jeremy Bowen provides pictures, or about many of the other things that dominated media reporting of the fighting in eastern Aleppo before its final capture by the Syrian army.
Instead we have a blandly factual and barely informative account about current living conditions in Aleppo, and a brief though depressing video tour of the Umayyad Mosque.
This is deeply disappointing at many levels, and makes a sad contrast to the excellent and highly informative report from Fehim Taştekin, which I discussed at length in my previous article.
Jeremy Bowen is certainly able to do better, and I earnestly hope he soon does. If not I will start to wonder why?