Heavy metal music in Syrian war

This music video says about itself:

Band: Maysaloon
Single: Warsphere
Genre: Syrian Death Metal
Country: Syria
Year: 2017

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

How loud music helps to forget the war

About 150 people gather in a small, black-painted hall in Aleppo. They wear dark clothing and do head banging to the sound of rough guitars. The concert is called ‘live under siege’, but also ‘living under siege’. Outside, the civil war in Syria is going on.

The concert is a scene in the documentary Syrian Metal is War. Filmmaker Monzer Darwish, a refugee from Syria and now ended up in Dutch Noord-Holland province, followed people from the Syrian metal scene in 2013 and 2014. At the risk of their own lives, they organized concerts during bombing and traveled along routes full of snipers and paramilitary gangs. …

This video is called Syrian Metal Is War – Extended Trailer.

Even before the civil war, metalheads in Syria did not have an easy time, says Nasrah: “With long hair and a black shirt, you were a suspect quickly. Police were watching us and sometimes people were arrested after performances.” Even people in his own environment did not understand his lifestyle, the musician says. “Do you slaughter cats ritually, people often asked, or do you worship the devil?”

Things became different in the war. Metalheads no longer had to deal with the threat of police, but with the threat of war. “During a concert, we feared not only warfare, but also suicide bombers”, says documentary maker Monzer Darwish. Every meeting was a target for ISIS fighters, especially when music was being played. “Yet often 100, 150 people were together. Metal was the last bit of pleasure for them. They were literally willing to die for the music.”

Despite the passion of fans, the Syrian metal scene has had a hard time. Many bands have lost sight of each other in the stream of refugees. Guitar player Khodor Nashrah also said: “Our bass player is still in Syria, the drummer is in Austria and I am in Lebanon.” Despite the distance, the group is still active, he says: “Through WhatsApp we send pieces of music to each other. Our drummer then tries to make songs of it. But it is very difficult.”

New music

Documentary maker Monzer Darwish still plays the guitar in the Netherlands, although less often than before. “First find a house in the Netherlands, then a job. It is difficult to spend a lot of time with music”, he says.

His hope lies mainly with the metalheads in Syria itself, which he wants to bring more attention to with his film. “They still release new music, despite everything.” Darwish follows the bands closely: in the Netherlands he listens to music that appears in Syria. “I can’t live without it,” he says. “Without that music I would never have survived the war.”


Syrian woman about being tortured by fundamentalists

This 19 January 2019 Dutch NOS public broadcasting TV video, recorded in Syria, says about itself (translated):

Humiliated in a cage: “I will never forgive the terrorists”

Reefa is an engineer at an energy utility in Damascus. When she was at home, jihadists grabbed her and locked her up with dozens of others in a mobile cage. The goal: to use them as a human shield against the bombing by their enemy, the Syrian government.

This is a report by Roozbeh Kaboly and cameraman Rachid El Mourif.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Humiliated in a cage: ‘I will never forgive the Syrian terrorists

It is slowly becoming quieter in Syria, the war seems almost to be decided. Also in Douma, a suburb of Damascus and one of the first strongholds of the uprising against the Syrian government, there is now no longer fighting. But that has been different.

At the beginning of the war the neighborhood was conquered by moderate rebels, after which jihadist groups took over. Including Jaysh al-Islam, ‘the army of Islam’. They kidnapped a large group of minorities people who supposedly supported the Syrian regime. There was murder, torture, and women and children served as human shields against bombing by the army. The Syrian army intervened violently and surrounded the neighborhood. The population was being starved.

Reefa (59) was also detained in Douma for three years. “I am Ismaili [a Muslim tendency led by the Aga Khan], a minority about which the rebels say that they support the government. Which is why I got flogged and for ten days I was locked up in the cold and without food on my own, and the rebels have driven us around in cages to humiliate us.”

Reefa can not forgive the groups that imprisoned her. “We did not wrong them in any way. I’m just an engineer, I’ve never hurt anyone in my life. I’ve lost my whole life, my job, everything. I’ve lost my nephews, two young boys, how can I forget that??” Forgiveness is needed for a new future for the country, but Reefa can not imagine how. “I am against reconciliation, they have betrayed their country. I am not a politician and do not speak a political language.” …

Can Syrians ever live together in peace? “That will be very difficult”, says Nieuwsuur news show journalist Roozbeh Kaboly, who was in Syria for this series. …

“At the same time Syrians are tough and strong people, they always tell me about the long history of Syria: the country has experienced many wars and it has been destroyed several times, but has been rebuilt over and over again. So, there is always hope. I myself am very optimistic.”

‘Stop United States military intervention in Syria’

This 18 January 2019 video from the USA:

Rep. Ro Khanna: U.S. Troops Are a “Sitting Target” in Syria; It’s Time to Bring Them Home

In Syria, a suicide bomber struck a restaurant in the northern city of Manbij Wednesday, killing 19 people including four Americans. Two of them were U.S. soldiers. The bombing was claimed by ISIS and came just weeks after President Trump declared victory over the group and ordered U.S. troops to withdraw from Syria, prompting the resignation of Pentagon chief Jim Mattis. Just hours after the attack, Vice President Mike Pence reiterated that ISIS has been defeated. Wednesday’s attack drew renewed calls from congressional hawks—both Republicans and Democrats—to reverse Trump’s Syria withdrawal. The U.S. has an estimated 2,000 troops stationed in Syria, even though Congress has never declared war on the country. We speak with Ro Khanna, Democratic congressmember from California. He is a leading critic of U.S. military interventions abroad.

American ISIS missiles injure British soldiers in Syria

This 10 June 2015 video from the USA says about itself:

ISIS video shows jihadists using American-made TOW anti-tank missiles in Palmyra – TomoNews

PALMYRA, SYRIA — The Islamic State [ISIS] released a new video on Monday that shows militants in the Syrian city of Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage site dating back to the 1st and 2nd centuries, using American-made anti-tank missiles.

The BGM-71 TOW anti-tank guided missiles [made by Raytheon corporation] were most likely provided by the United States to the Free Syrian Army and either captured by the jihadists or [sold to them].

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

Monday, January 7, 2019

Did US build Isis missiles that hit British soldiers in Syria?

Former British ambassador to Syria alleges the only weapons of this type the jihadists have are those supplied by the US to ‘moderate’ rebels

MISSILES used in an Isis attack in which two British soldiers were seriously injured in Syria yesterday may have been sold to the jihadists after being supplied by the United States to opposition groups.

The pair were hit in a missile attack launched on a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) base in Deir Ezzor, northern Syria. A fighter from the largely Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) was killed in the blast.

The role of British soldiers in Syria remains a secret, with the Ministry of Defence refusing to comment on the operations of special forces. …

It appears that the missile used to attack the SDF compound may have found its way into the hands of Isis thanks to a covert US programme that saw weapons supplied to opposition groups in Syria.

Former British ambassador to Syria Peter Ford alleged that the only weapon of this type that the jihadist terror group has in its arsenal are those that were supplied by the US to so-called moderate rebels in 2015.

Mr Ford claimed that the weapons were sold by the groups to Isis soon afterwards. Other similar weapons may have been captured by the death cult after defeating moderates in battle while some are believed to have defected to Isis bringing their weapons cache with them.

The supply of weapons to Syrian forces on the ground was part of a covert CIA operation started by former US President Barack Obama in 2013 after it was proposed by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former CIA head David Petraeus.

Its aim was to turn the tide against the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad and foment regime change in the region, where the use of ground troops would have been unpopular following the US invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan which saw thousands of US soldiers die.

However, the supply chain was complicated with the arms bought by the US and Saudi Arabia from Eastern European EU member-state manufacturers through private companies that hold government contracts.

They were then secretly sent to opposition groups in Syria, although according to a report by the Conflict Armament Research organisation, which tracks arms shipments, the arms may have been supplied in breach of contracts stipulating the weapons should not be transferred after purchase.

The 2017 EU and German-funded study found that the anti-tank weapons sent to the rebels had found their way to Isis less than two months after leaving the warehouse.

The programme included the shipment of arms to the rebels through Turkey and Jordan with supplies being sent to the jihadist-backed Free Syrian Army which was fighting government forces in a bid to bring down the government.

However, Turkey has itself been accused of support for jihadist groups in Syria as part of its war on the country’s Kurdish population. In 2016 the then liberal Cumhuriyet newspaper published footage which allegedly showed Turkish intelligence services sending trucks loaded with weapons bound for Syrian Islamists.

Operation Olive Branch was launched in January 2017 as Turkish forces allied with jihadist groups to invade and occupy the largely Kurdish city of Afrin. More recently President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened an “imminent” ground invasion of Manbij after the US announced it was withdrawing troops, claiming 15,000 FSA fighters would support the Turkish operation.

Video footage circulating on social media on Sunday alleged to show the Turkish army allowing a convoy of 250 Tahrir al-Sham (al Qaida) fighters crossing the border into Atarib town in Aleppo.

Turkey has previously dismissed claims that it facilitated jihadists crossing into Syria as “black propaganda.” However reports from the border town of Akcakale suggested that in 2014 Isis fighters were crossing into Tal Abyad in Raqqa province, often after using Turkish hospitals to patch up war wounds.

US President Donald Trump announced that the clandestine plan was being scrapped in July 2017 after it became apparent that efforts to overthrow Mr Assad’s government had failed.

Mr Ford said: “The only ‘smart missiles’ in the hands of Isis are the US TOW anti-tank missiles which in 2015 the US supplied moderate rebels, who promptly sold them to Isis.

“The lethality of these weapons had Assad on the ropes, forcing Russia to intervene. And now we see the results. What geniuses these American strategists are…”

“Don’t wait for the mainstream media to point up the awkward facts that our commandos are being killed with US weapons carrying out missions for the US-led coalition with no legal authority and when Syrian forces are just a few miles away being prevented by the US and the UK from going in hot pursuit of Isis.”

Stop the War convenor Lindsey German said that forces seeking regime change, including Britain, had been intervening in Syria for years “supplying arms to rebels, bombing and using special forces for covert operations.”

“Most people in Britain are unaware of all this, and are loathe to support such interventions, which have helped fuel the bloody war in Syria. All British troops should be withdrawn now.”

Bring troops home from Syria, Democrat Elizabeth Warren says

This 4 January 2019 video from the USA is called Elizabeth Warren Supports Trump’s Syria Withdrawal.

It looks like Ms Warren, a left-winger among Democratic party politicians, has better ideas on Syria than warmongering politicians in the right wing of her party and in the Republican party. They prefer United States soldiers coming home in coffins to soldiers coming home alive and prefer continued killing of Syrian civilians. Apparently, Senator Warren does not.

Unfortunately, it looks like warmongering ‘broken clock‘ President Donald Trump may be already backtracking on his original plan of bringing the soldiers home from Syria.

Update, 6 January 2019: Trump’s advisor Bolton now says US soldiers will stay in Syria indefinetely, ‘to prevent Kurds from allying with the Syrian government or Russia’.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have embarked on what could be described as a “walk back” tour of the Middle East. Its purpose is to assure US regional allies that Washington is not about to implement the decision announced by President Donald Trump last month to carry out a speedy and total withdrawal of US troops from Syria: here.

WARREN: PENCE NOT A ‘DECENT GUY’ Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) added her voice to those disagreeing with former Vice President Joe Biden’s view that current VP Mike Pence is a “decent guy.” Warren said: “I’m sorry, I followed Pence’s history on LBGTQ Americans and I don’t think that is a decent position.” A reporter asked: “You don’t think the vice president is a decent man?” Warren said: “No.” [HuffPost]

Syria, Afghanistan and the United States peace movement

This 28 December 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Bring the Troops Home & Stop the Bombing: Medea Benjamin on U.S. Withdrawal from Syria & Afghanistan

As President Donald Trump makes a surprise visit to Iraq this week and defends his plans to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria and about half the nearly 7,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, we get response from leading antiwar activist Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink. “We want to challenge Donald Trump … by pointing out that he continues to support the war in Yemen and the repressive Saudi regime”, Benjamin says. Her recent piece for Salon.com is titled “Bring the troops home—but stop the bombing too.”

This 28 December 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Documentary on Impact of Vietnam War Recalls Responsibility to Stand Up & Say No to War

The War at Home”, a landmark documentary about antiwar protests in the 1960s and ’70s in Madison, Wisconsin, has just been re-released nationwide. We speak with co-director Glenn Silber, two-time Academy Award nominee, about the making of the film and why he argues now is an important time to revisit the responsibility to stand up and say no to war.

Afghanistan peace talks and the debacle of the war on terror. 29 January 2019. Whether Washington withdraws US troops remains to be seen; what is certain is that Afghanistan is viewed through the prism of preparations for far wider wars: here.