After U.S. Uproar, Another Syrian ‘Civilian Massacre’ Story Falls Apart

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Yet another alleged "massacre" of "civilians" by the Syrian regime was in the establishment-press headlines this week, supposedly a brutal killing spree by dictator Bashar al-Assad’s forces in the village of Tremseh that left up to 250 people dead. As has become typical, Western governments and mainstream media outlets – the New York Times, the BBC, and others included – parroted anonymous “opposition activists” for the claims. But within days, after foreign powers seeking regime change had their chance to beat the war drums even louder, the carefully constructed tale was already falling apart.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, one of the top defenders of the dangerous “rebel” coalition operating in Syria at American taxpayer expense, immediately claimed there was "indisputable evidence that the regime deliberately murdered innocent civilians" – “over 200 men, women and children,” in fact. She did not present or cite any of the alleged evidence, but vowed to punish those responsible amid more calls for immediate regime change. Other Western leaders and financiers of the violence in Syria issued similar condemnations and more threats.

Despite hysterical reporting and wild statements by political leaders, however, even “opposition activists” were conceding early on that most of the dead were actually armed combatants who had staged attacks on the regime’s military forces. More recent reports, even those based on anonymous “opposition activists,” also suggest that closer to 100 people had died. Almost all of the dead were military-aged men, too – a far cry from Clinton’s “over 200 men, women and children.”

"At this stage, though we do not yet have the final count, the number of civilians killed by shelling is not more than seven," an anti-Assad “activist” known as “Jaafar” with the Sham News Network (SNN) told the AFP press agency. "The rest were members of the [Western-backed] Free Syrian Army.” How could Clinton and the establishment press have messed up the story so badly, again?

One problem, according to analysts, is that the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is consistently discussed using deceptive terminology. “From the U.S. State Department and outward through its tentacles across the corporate media, the so-called ‘Free Syrian Army’ is continuously referred to interchangeably as ‘civilians’ and ‘activists,’” noted analyst Tony Cartalucci, who has followed the conflict closely. “In reality they are heavily armed, foreign-backed, and include amongst their ranks a sizable proportion of foreign fighters – betraying the very name Free ‘Syrian’ Army.”

Cartalucci called the deceptive mainstream-media reporting and the dangerous Western war-mongering against Syria an example of “Goebbelsesque propaganda.” Numerous other analysts criticized the lies and propaganda as well. And it is hardly the first allegation of a “massacre” conducted by the Syrian regime to crumble upon closer scrutiny.

Of course, there was indeed killing going on in the area, and many young men – possibly up to 100 – did indeed die. Both sides acknowledged that. And Assad’s tyrannical regime did deploy heavy weapons including tanks and helicopters as both sides continued to violate the international cease-fire agreement. What exactly happened, however, remains unclear. Members of the UN mission in Syria are supposed to be investigating and reporting their findings as soon as possible.

“The BBC’s Jim Muir in Beirut says it remains far from clear what took place at Tremseh,” acknowledged the state-run British news service, days after touting opposition claims along with most of the establishment press and not long after it was caught using an old photo from Iraq to illustrate a previous “civilian massacre” in Syria. After parroting anonymous claims about the latest alleged “civilian massacre” in Tremseh conducted by the regime, other news outlets and “opposition activists” reluctantly followed suit and admitted that the facts did not fit the original allegations.

Clinton and other Western advocates of “regime change,” however, have not yet corrected themselves. And as the war-mongers continue to demand international military intervention to oust the Syrian despot, it is unlikely that they will.

The Assad dictatorship claims it was battling “armed terrorist” groups backed by foreign powers at the request of innocent local villagers in the area who were being terrorized and slaughtered by the establishment-backed “opposition” fighters. It also alleged in press reports that the “terrorists” had been summarily executing people including women and children. No independent confirmation has been made of the claims.

“Syria has been exposed to more than 16 months of terrorist attacks and booby-trapped suicide attacks by foreign-backed armed terrorist groups, which in part coordinate their attacks with some media outlets, especially once a UN session about Syria is to be or convened,” reported the dictatorship-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), echoing concerns of analysts around the world after top mainstream news outlets like CNN and Al Jazeera were caught broadcasting staged propaganda by the rebels. The report also acknowledged that the regime’s forces had indeed killed and captured “scores” of “terrorists.”

”Had the Army or security personnel existed in the village, the terrorists wouldn’t have been able to overrun the village and perpetrate their massacres,” claimed villager Abo Arif al-Khalid, a supposed “witness” to the alleged rebel atrocities, in an interview with the state-run media. The man, apparently crying in the interview, also claimed that the Western-backed opposition fighters had killed women and children including his cousin.

At least three Syrian soldiers died in the conflict, according to the regime.

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