The Aleppo crisis, the large-scale media propaganda both on the mainstream media and the social networking sites which focus on distortion of the reality, the military operation of the Syrian army in the terrorist-held part of Aleppo and the large number of the dead and injured people as a result of the terrorist groups’ mortars, as well as other developments of the conflict in Syria are subjects of the Alwaght’s interview with the Lebanese military expert General Amin Hotait.
Following is the full content of interview that is translated from Arabic into English.
Alwaght: What is behind the media campaign and the propaganda war on Aleppo’s developments?
Hotait: To understand what is going on today, we need to get back to the roots. All the media propaganda that is today led by the anti-Syrian front is only a cover-up of the battlefield defeats it received. We all are well aware that the enemies of Damascus in Aleppo and in Syria in general are taken aback to see Syria retakes Palmyra from ISIS and by the way this triumph took place before a new round of peace talks in Geneva. So, to restore the balance of power, they put high on the agenda two plans: first, containing the advances of the Syrian Arab Army and holding it back from making any fresh gains. Second, taking the initiative in Aleppo to make up for Palmyra loss in order to restore balance in the battlefield.
The Aleppo battle comes as part of the US alternative plan, and the accompanying Zio-Saudi project. Their plan for taking control of Aleppo was as follows: first they planned to raise an escalation of the tension using the terrorists in Aleppo, and then the situation would develop with an influential Turkish military backing. Meanwhile the terrorists are allowed to use heavy weapons. Then, it was planned to stop the political process and give way to military power to advance towards Aleppo. the US support Afterwards would have come as they implied that there could be US military deployment to Aleppo. Finally they could make a success by taking control of Aleppo. In fact, they were successful in the first part of their plan, in el-Ais district south of Aleppo, where the terrorists entered south of Aleppo and used the chemical weapons while we saw no move from the US, not even a condemnation. The terrorists, then, began to flex muscles and shot down a Syrian fighter jet after they received the portable missile defense system FIM-92 Stinger from the US. Additionally, there was a wide-ranging Turkish intervention in Aleppo both though the terrorists and a direct fire support. All these, they thought, would enable them seize control of Aleppo.
But to their surprise, the allied Syrian army forces, the Iranian military forces and the Lebanese Hezbollah’s fighters were ready at the scene. Some even suggest the allied forces were aware of al-Nusra Front’s plan for entering Aleppo. Therefore, the allied forces set a huge ambush, and thus the terrorist group’s operation was foiled, resulting in death of between 350 and 500 terrorists.
Following the failure, the terrorists pounded Aleppo for ten days with 1,500 mortars and missiles, and to steer clear of responsibility for massacring the civilians, they associated their crimes with a psychological warfare. Actually, they killed people and accused the Syrian Arab Army of killing them. They committed massacres and claimed the Syrian Arab Army was to blame. They fired the mortars and their cameras were filming, however, they attributed the crimes to the Syrian Arab Army. By doing so, they followed two goals: first to cover up their defeats and move from the battlefield to the humanitarian aspect of the conflict, and to paint the issue as a humanitarian crisis.
However, we know that they sparked the battle as they pulled out of the area and said that they wanted to ignite new fronts. The media turned a blind eye to all these, because the media work in their favor and they could manipulate the media. Second, they wanted to magnify the humanitarian dimension to provide Washington with the opportunity to intervene under the excuse of stopping the military operation so that they could protect the al-Nusra terror group which is not party in the ceasefire, and also to prevent the Syrian Arab Army from following its battle in the future to cleanse Aleppo of the terrorists.
The current media propaganda is responsible for two tasks: to cover up their defeat and to block entrance of the Syrian Arab Army to Aleppo.
Alwaght: We heard that the terrorist groups have mobilized and concentrated in Aleppo their forces from different Syrian fronts, what is the strategic significance of Aleppo?
Hotait: The strategic importance of Aleppo is unmatched in the whole Syria. Aleppo was considered the second Syrian capital, as it was the largest industrial and financial center in Syria. The city is also a gate for Turkish intervention in Syria. Furthermore, it is the region that separates Syria’s Kurdish regions from north and east. Also, demographic diversity in Aleppo is unmatched across Syria. Thereby, Aleppo is highly significant in Syria and stands as one of the three most important issues of the Syrian conflict.
Alwaght: Russia has said that it would not ask the Syrian air force to halt operations over Aleppo; is Aleppo a sticking point between Washington and Moscow while they have agreed upon many other fronts?
Hotait: The US certainly wants to stop the Syrian Arab Army from liberating Aleppo; Russia knows well that al-Nusra Front exists in the city and so halting the military operations in Aleppo means serving the terrorism and is in conflict with the deal to cease the combat operations. This is what the US thinks of Aleppo’s case, and also is the major reason behind not including Aleppo in the recently approved truce.