Treating the murderous religious extremists who have occupied East Aleppo for four years as heroes is distorting the reality of this terrible war
MPs seeking a reprise of David Cameron’s failed 2013 bid to go to war in Syria must not be allowed to turn the clock back.
The deeply misguided debate in the Commons yesterday was matched by a fog of misinformation being pumped out by Isis and al-Qaida’s useful idiots in the Establishment media.
The insurgents being driven from East Aleppo after a four-year occupation are still being lionised as freedom fighters in the press and Parliament. Their defeat by the Syrian army is being treated as a tragedy.
They are not and it is not.
The occupiers of East Aleppo are terrorists, who have deliberately targeted civilians in their regular bombardment of government-held West Aleppo — a bombardment that, in contrast to the Russian and Syrian bombardment of the eastern parts of the city, does not appear to bother Western governments.
They are tyrants, who have held the civilian population hostage. Families who have managed to flee have spoken of the use of civilians as human shields; the massacre of people who sought to leave the city by insurgent militias; the execution of family members of those who successfully got away, as a warning to others to stay put.
And they are fighting for a brutal, medievalist vision. There are a number of groups operating in East Aleppo.
The Nusra Front is a branch of al-Qaida, the terrorist organisation founded by Osama bin Laden that brought down New York’s twin towers on September 11 2001 and has claimed countless suicide bombing attacks on civilians across Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere since.
Then there’s Nour el-Din el-Zinki, which attracted notoriety for beheading a 12-year-old Palestinian child, supposedly because they suspected him of spying and posting the video online.
There’s the Saudi-backed Army of Conquest and Ahrar al-Sham, motley crews of Islamist hardliners fighting to overthrow the secular state and replace it with a theocracy ruled by sharia law; a vision which involves at least the disenfranchisement, at worst the active extermination, of Syria’s Shi’ites, Alawites and Christians.
Fugitives from East Aleppo have reported that these militant groups have shut down the schools, turning them instead into militia bases. They also report that large numbers of these fighters are not Syrian, but come from as far afield as China and Europe.
The rule of these “rebels” has been a tragedy for the people of East Aleppo for years.
That is not to say the battle of Aleppo is not also a tragedy. As in so many parts of Syria and Iraq, both struggling to defeat extremist insurgencies in which the genocidal head-choppers of Isis have been the most prominent actors, innocent people are being caught up in this maelstrom and killed.
But the opposition have been known to lie about supposed government atrocities in the past. If tales of revenge killings by troops are true, they are an outrage: but even the Associated Press has admitted it cannot actually verify the stories of civilians being executed by government troops now being circulated.
MPs saying yesterday that Britain should have intervened in the country to prevent the victory of the government are utterly wrong.
Britain’s role in the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq caused an explosion of sectarian terrorism that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and continues today.
The fighting has not stopped in Libya either, where again we intervened on behalf of the very religious fanatics our government uses to whip up hatred of Muslims over here.
Every ceasefire so far struck in Syria has been ignored by the terror groups, and ultimately there will be no negotiated peace with the likes of Isis and al-Qaida. They must be fought and beaten.
That is what is happening in Aleppo now, whatever one’s views on the Assad regime.