Beirut, Tuesday April 18, 2017
The Saturday April 15 night suicide bombing of a convoy carrying the elderly, women and children resulted in the killing of some 126 civilians in Syria. Nearly 100 were children.
The buses were carrying civilian that had been besieged by terrorist groups in the northern towns of al-Faua and Kafraya for several years. Before the buses entered government-controlled territory, they were stopped at a “rebel” checkpoint.
The convoys were “guarded” by Ahrar al-Sham, a rebel group backed and financed by Qatar. As negotiations dragged on, the trapped civilians became restless. Without food and water and no idea about how long they would have to wait, somebody announced there were bags of chips for children.
The hungry children rushed out of the buses to grab whatever they could. As they congregated, a car laden with explosives drove right into them blasting them to pieces.
Children’s limbs were strewn all over the place, as were those of women (mothers of the children).
When the smoke cleared, 126 people lay dead, hundreds of others were injured many seriously as the massive car bomb also destroyed the buses that immediately caught fire. Some elderly people were burnt alive inside the buses because they were unable to get out.
In the aftermath of the Khan Sheykhoun attack of April 4 that killed nearly 86 civilians and resulted in much breast-beating in the West, one would have expected a similar reaction to this latest carnage, also of civilians.
Perish the thought.
There was near total lack of interest in reporting the slaughter of civilians in this instance. Why?
First, it was obviously a terrorist act perpetrated by Western-backed terrorists. Highlighting their crime would undermine the anti-Asad propaganda campaign that has been at full throttle since April 4. “He must go” has been the chorus from Western politicians and media without offering a shred of evidence that Asad’s forces were responsible for the chemical attack.
Second, the victims—all civilians—were Shias. Well, they cannot be up to any good any way because they are Shias! The only good Shia is a dead Shia as far as the West and its pet terrorists and regimes in the region are concerned.
Here is how CNN reported the slaughter of civilians, among them 100 or more children, at the checkpoint. CNN called the terrorists’ slaughter "a hiccup". Really; just a “hiccup”?
The BBC—the British Foreign Office-financed media outlet—outdid itself by fudging news of the slaughter so much that any person reading its story would be left scratching his head. On April 17, the BBC carried the following headline about the slaughter: Syria war: 'At least 68 children among 126 killed' in bus bombing
Who carried out the bus bombing is neither mentioned nor clear from this headline. In fact, further into the story, the BBC even makes the scandalous allegation that it may have been carried out by “government-backed” rebels.
Such reporting is not only totally dishonest but frankly, disgusting. But we should not be surprised by any of this. The West and its corporate or government-financed media outlets are not there to report the truth. Their main function is to advance their government’s or the corporations’ agenda.
What is certain is that if a massacre can be spun into blaming the Syrian government, it will be repeated endlessly with screaming headlines and angry denunciations on television. If the killings expose Western-backed terrorists, then the story is either ignored or obfuscated to confuse readers and listeners.