Lady Caroline Cox, a member of the British House of Lords, and an Anglican priest, Rev. Andrew Ashdown, have embarked on a journey to Syria, where they surveyed the conditions in Aleppo, Homs, and Latakia to prepare a report on the conditions on the ground in the country, and what the sentiment is regarding Western intervention. Vesti Russian news briefly covers the subject, and speaks with both Lady Cox and Rev. Ashdown in the following video clip and transcript below:
British social activists have reported on their trip to Syria. These experts have visited several settlements, personally witnessing the situation in the country, particularly who represents what and what the White Helmets really do.
Let’s see what our UK correspondent, Aleksandr Khabarov, has to say about this.
Reverend Andrew Ashdown, an Anglican Priest, has always lived outside of politics. However, he’s become a harsh critic of the British government after a few trips to Syria. He believes that they financially support extremists in Syria. The White Helmets Organization among them. They receive money from the British Foreign Minister.
Andrew Ashdown: “I was taken to visit the White Helmet’s headquarters in East Aleppo, which is adjacent to the former headquarters of Jabhat Al Nusra. Right next to it is a school building, whose walls are covered with extremist slogans.”
Andrew Ashdown met the family of Omran Daqneesh in Aleppo, now that it’s free of insurgents.
Andrew Ashdown: “In 2016, the insurgents disseminated the picture of this child throughout western media. This boy was lightly injured after an explosion. He was in shock, covered in dust, the White Helmets had kept him for 40 minutes without any medical aid, all for one picture that would later be spread worldwide. Many people call them “the extremists’ propaganda machine.” They act exclusively in the regions controlled by insurgents.”
Baroness Cox, a member of the British House of Lords, accompanied Rev. Ashdown on his trip to Syria.
Caroline Cox, a member of the British House of Lords: “I must commend Russia for expelling ISIS and other Islamic groups from the majority of Syria. We’ve talked to many people from over Syria, and all of them are against the jihadists and their brutality. In Latakia, I’ve met a woman whose husband and son were decapitated in front of her by the Islamists. She said, “During a war, people die by explosions, but the insurgents also cut their heads off. We don’t want that.”
The Baroness presented a report, “Voices from Syria”, to her House of Lords’ colleagues.
Caroline Cox: “Syrians are outraged by the air strikes delivered by the US, the UK, and France. And I support them. This attack was illegal. Syria doesn’t pose a threat to our countries. Everything was done without a UN mandate, without a report by international experts. The latter hadn’t yet made it to the site of the alleged chemical attack to determine what really happened there. This strike may only stimulate more action from the jihadists. Three British Ambassadors to Syria and my colleagues in the House of Lords share our concerns. We’ve spoken before many audiences, and they all thank us for our speech, which is so different from what the BBC tells them. They now know just how much more complicated the real situation in Syria is.”
According to the report’s authors, the US-led coalition basically prevents Syria from reconciling the conflict. Despite the harsh censorship, they sometimes see the information about who those supported by the West in Syria really are, along with the obvious negative consequences of the US invasions of Libya and Iraq. However, the British government doesn’t see any criticism, nor do they pretend to.
The report is provided on Lady Cox’s own website, and a summary therefrom is reproduced here:
Foreign interference: All those to whom we spoke passionately believe that Syrians should have the right to determine their own future and to elect their own leadership, without foreign interference.
- Western airstrikes: All expressed deep anger at the recent missile attacks by the USA, the UK and France. They question the legality of the attack, stating that it is fundamentally wrong to inflict missile strikes related to alleged chemical warfare before evidence is known and publicised. Moreover, there is real fear that the response by the USA, UK and France may encourage jihadists to initiate a chemical weapons incident in order to stimulate an even more ferocious response by these countries against the Syrian Government.
- Public opinion: Many Syrians are disturbed by the tendency of the UK response to be based on past actions and policies of the Assad government, rather than a willingness to confront current realities, including a widespread shift in Syrian public opinion in the face of the religious extremists.
- Regime change: There is a great desire for the UK to retract its commitment to an imposed ‘regime change’. As there are no longer any ‘moderate’ armed opposition groups, it is believed that such a policy would be disastrous and create another dire situation comparable to those in Iraq and Libya.
- Media coverage: Many asked why the horrendous and well-documented atrocities perpetrated by various jihadist fighting groups, and the appalling scale of those atrocities, are given very little publicity by Western media compared to the focus on actions carried out by the Assad government and armed forces.
- Cultural heritage: Syria continues to strive to uphold its long tradition of being a multicultural, multi-religious secular State, offering a model different from most other countries in the Middle East. It is suggested that does not suit the interests of the other more totalitarian societies, seen as allies of the West.
- Sanctions: Different viewpoints were expressed regarding the effect of economic sanctions. Some claimed they had little effect. The majority maintained that restrictions on the supply of medicines, equipment and raw materials has very serious effects on essential supplies of health care and food – and seriously hampers reconstruction.
- Reconstruction: As on our previous visit, we were encouraged by the consistently positive relations between Christians and Muslims in Government-controlled areas. We witnessed numerous cooperative reconstruction projects in regions which have been destroyed by war, including the (re)building of houses, universities, orphanages, medicine factories and historic religious sites.
The situation in Syria, as described by the mainstream media, according to this report, is therefore wholly false and misleading as to who the heroes and villains of this conflict are, where Western funding is really going, what the efforts of Western military and economic actions really mean, and what the sentiments of the Syrian people really are. Here, that reality is presented not from the perspective of a news organization trying to push a certain narrative for ratings or views or to bolster some action contemplated by a government, it’s coming straight from Syria, from the mouths of average Syrians, in a report invited by the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch, His Holiness Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.