28th November 2015
When one reads the accounts of truly neutral, independent observers who enter Syria with no agenda or donor directives, one realises why the Western propaganda apparatus is so keen to drive these narratives underground or to discredit them.
Father Andrew Ashdown has been working tirelessly for some time now to foster interfaith reconciliation talks within Syria and to further greater understanding of the reality of NATO intervention and its far reaching devastation in Syria, within the UK Anglican Church community.
I, myself had the honour and privilege to meet with Andrew and Mother Agnes Mariam de la Croix at the recent Syria: A Mutually Hurting Stalemate conference in St Andrews, hosted by an array of anti Assad think tank academics and diaspora Syrian opposition figures toeing the NATO party line as regards the best outcome for the Syrian people, none of whom were actually represented at the conference.
Father Andrew Ashdown is currently back in Syria and has produced two reports today which demonstrate just how dismally inaccurate western media reporting has been and how destructively it has fed the NATO propaganda mill, crushing truth under its relentless, grinding disinformation.
Thursday 26th November 2015. Father Andrew Ashdown
Tartous. It is hard to describe the emotion of what happened this afternoon, by chance.
We had planned to visit a hospital but had no idea that our visit would coincide with the return of the bodies of 22 soldiers killed in a battle in Aleppo, to their families.
Hundreds had gathered, and there was intense emotion as the coffins were loaded off a lorry, to the piercing cries of grieving relatives. We joined the crowds giving condolences to families who seemed to genuinely appreciate our presence.
Suddenly a young boy of about 10 whose father’s body was being returned, and who was standing next to his crying mother and a Sheikh, stood to attention in front of me, saluted and with tears flowing gave a deeply moving speech.
One of the monks with me told me that in what he said there was not one word of anger, hatred or violence, but that his words were roughly this:
“My father is a blessing to this country. He has given his life so that we may live in peace. But he is not dead. He is a martyr. And I honour him. He will live on, and because of his death, Syria will have peace.”
I stood to attention looking straight at him with the crowds around looking on and letting him finish. I then saluted him before going to hold him and give him a blessing.
I could not stop the tears.
The sheikh hugged me with tears in his eyes too. It is an experience I will remember as long as I live..It was far too intense a moment to photograph.
The crowds dispersed with sirens and loud gunfire…”
Since this was written, another member of the delegation Shrikant Ramdas from Bangalore, India, has posted a video of this poignant moment described by Father Andrew Ashdown.
Shrikant Ramdas ~
“Back in Beirut after visiting Syria. Too many emotions. First a video of the bravest little boy who salutes his father who returned a martyr, fighting ISIS. None of us in the delegation could hold back our tears.
Salute the bravery of the Syrian people, the Syrian children, who also offered the greatest hospitality and warmth when we told them where we were from and how much we appreciated their righteous fight for the good of Syria and humanity.
When they found out i was from India, I had boy soldiers, women and children rush towards me or play their favourite music or name their favourite Indian actor. This happened constantly.
This is no time for apathy. We need to stop the Saudis, Qataris, the US-UK-France, Erdogan and assorted allies from destroying the great people of the Levant.”
28th November 2015: Father Andrew Ashdown
“If anyone wants to dispute any of this, then come and meet the people on the ground, and hear their cries before making uninformed politicised judgements.”
“A remarkable 3 hour journey today in the company of one of Syria’s leading internal opposition leaders, Samir Hawash, an impressive man who has joined recent discussions in Moscow, Kazakhstan and Istanbul, but like all internal Syrian politicians, is refused inclusion in the western ‘peace processes’.
He was involved in early demonstrations, but early on was informed that militant groups were planning an armed uprising with assistance from outside.
He begged the leaders of the militant groups not to take up weapons. In 2010 he had been informed “there is going to be a war in Syria ” and that it had been planned beforehand.
When the demonstrations began, most people had wanted change, but he says now maybe 60-70% of Syrians in the country support Assad as the only person who can hold the country together. (incidentally, this has been the consistent impression from everyone whom we’ve met – Sunni, Shia. Alawite, Christian.)
We asked him if the government had fired first on the demonstrators. He said that he was there. And no, it was armed militants who fired first. Over 80 soldiers were killed in the early days of the ‘peaceful’ demonstrations – and the names and dates are documented. (I’ve heard the same from demonstrators in Homs, Lattakia, Damascus and Aleppo.)
He said all militant opposition groups want to see a Muslim State and the division of the country (a position that all the Parliamentary and political meetings I have attended in Britain seem to approve); whilst the unarmed parties who seek a secular, pluralistic State are not given credence or a voice in the international arena.
The only goal on the part of the international community from the very beginning has been regime change, and they have been willing to allow the destruction of a country to achieve it.
There are of course other narratives. But we in the West are only fed one which contains both truths and distortions. It is infinitely more complex than our media and politicians portray.
No-one is listening to the voices or wishes of Syrians who are living in the comparative safety and pluralistic communities of government-held areas, or the cries of the internally displaced who have fled the brutality of the rebels and the horrors of the conflict’..
If anyone wants to dispute any of this, then come and meet the people on the ground, and hear their cries before making uninformed politicised judgements… Sadly our politicians are acting on just that, and of course our own political interests”