Since April 22, 2016, Syrian regime warplanes have been aerially bombarding Aleppo, with Russian support. So far, the attacks have killed over 250 people in the city.

One of the worst attacks occurred on April 27, when at least fifty-five people were killed and some sixty others injured in an attack on Aleppo’s Al Quds Hospital, which is supported by the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) and Doctors Without Borders (MSF). Among the dead were a dentist, two nurses, several children, and one of the last known pediatricians in the city, Dr. Muhammad Maaz. The video below shows the hospital minutes before the attack, and includes the last known footage of Dr. Maaz.

Although this is not the first time Syrian and Russian warplanes have targeted a hospital, the bombing of Al Quds has ignited global outrage and shed further light on the regime’s carnage in Aleppo. Interestingly, however, some media sources, including many so-called antiwar leftists, have refused to acknowledge the Syrian regime’s crimes and have, instead, corroborated its propaganda.

These outlets have laid the blame for the Aleppo attacks on “terrorists,” “Islamists,” or “rebel factions,” often without differentiating among the three groups. In some instances, these organizations have almost entirely fabricated the details of these attacks.

In one incredible display of yellow journalism, Russia’s state-owned news outlet, RT, distorted footage taken by Hadi Abdullah, a well-known freelance journalist in Syria. The video shows the aftermath of regime bombardment in Aleppo’s Kallaseh and Bustan Al-Qaser districts. Rather than acknowledging this fact, RT falsely reported that Jabhat Al-Nusra and “other rebel factions” were responsible for what happened. Similarly, a BBC report blamed “rebel factions” for a series of bombardments in Aleppo that killed forty-four people, when in fact the regime and its allies were responsible. Unlike RT, however, the BBC did later acknowledge on Twitter that its report was “an error.”

While some of these reports, including RT’s, have been thoroughly debunked, hardline “leftists” continue to echo their claims, despite insurmountable evidence to the contrary.

Among these apologists is freelance journalist, Eva Bartlett, who has ardently defended President Bashar Al-Assad throughout the conflict. Citing reports from Syrian state-media and other sources like RT, Bartlett has, in articles published on her website, accused “terrorist” rebel factions—which she never clearly identifies—of being responsible for the recent violence in Aleppo. In her coverage of the Al Quds bombing, she absolved the regime of all wrong-doing, indicted “Western backed terrorists,” and called other accounts of the Aleppo attacks “blame-Assad propaganda.”

Bartlett is, unfortunately, not alone. After Palestinian journalist, Mohammed Matter, published a message on Facebook condemning Assad for the attacks in Aleppo, he was berated by Facebook users for, among other things, “buying into Zionist Salafist propaganda” and failing to recognize that Syria’s real terrorists are actually the “7th century inbred barbarian Islamists,” not Assad.

By placing all anti-regime groups under the “Islamist terrorist” umbrella and blaming them for crimes that are actually Assad’s, these shallow reactionaries regurgitate an unfiltered form of Syrian regime propaganda. While it is certainly important that opposition groups, like Jabhat Al-Nusra, be held accountable for their crimes, news sources like RT—and the purported “leftists” who rely on them—are either delusional or morally bankrupt in blaming anyone other than Assad and his allies, for the overwhelming share of recent carnage in Aleppo.

The fact is that the Assad regime has always been, and continues to be, primarily responsible for the death and destruction in Syria since 2011. Commenting on leftist denial of these facts, sociologist and journalist, Idrees Ahmad, rightly asked in a post published on Facebook: “Remember all those liberals, leftists and ‘anti-imperialists’ who were so eager to save Syrians from bombs last November? Well, Syrians are being bombed [by Assad]. Where are those people now?”

The answer is that they are too busy scouring for biased news coverage in order to defend Assad against the imagined demons they have concocted.

Read more like this in Muftah's Weekend Reads newsletter.

Advertisement Advertise on Muftah.

  • Adam Muhammad Hussain

    You forgot to include that Fox News (like RT and BBC Arabic) was also caught using opposition footage and twisting it as if it was regime footage of rebels shelling Aleppo indiscriminately.

  • mkaradjis

    Thank you very much for this Riad, a
    very good piece, and necessary to slam these left-fascists like the
    bloodthirsty Eva Bartlett. But if I may, speaking as a leftist who has strongly supported the Syrian revolution since its outset, I would like to offer one small critique about language. “Hard leftists”? I really think we need
    to think about this. In my view, there is nothing remotely “hard” about their
    alleged leftism. Regardless of whether or not one judges being a “hard
    leftist” to be a good thing or not, the meaning of the adjective “hard”
    signifies an extreme belief in their leftist principles, perhaps to the
    point of unrealism, utopianism, sectarianism etc. In contrast, a leftist that
    supports the ultra-repressive actions of a fascistic regime that
    represents a narrow capitalist mega-plutocracy is not in any sense
    “hard” about their leftism, but “soft” in the extreme. They may make “anti-imperialist” noise, but these do not in and of themselves make leftism “hard” or “pure”; if they did, it would mean the European and US ultra-right would be leftist. Leftist anti-imperialism, by contrast, is precisely the anti-imperialism that represents the oppressed, not oligarchic thieves that may occasionally have conjunctural problems with this or that imperialist state (and even on that, the Assad regime seems a weird choice, given that it has close to zero anti-imperialist history, but that’s another matter).

  • Pedro Rabaçal

    Wonderful article. Truth most be told no matter how much far-leftists whine!