A Tale of Two Syrian Cities Under Attack Exposes Western Media’s Pro-War Hypocrisy

Coverage of the Rashidin bus bombing versus the Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack reveals Western media’s regime change agenda

By Ben Norton and cross-posted from Alternet

Two April attacks, two weeks apart, exposed the moral hypocrisy and depravity of mainstream Western media reporting on the war in Syria.

In one instance, more than 100 civilians, including 80 children, fleeing Shia-majority villages that have been besieged for two-year by al-Qaeda and its extremist allies were massacred in a suicide bombing.

In the other, dozens of civilians were killed in a chemical attack that the U.S. and its allies immediately blamed on the Syrian military, although no solid evidence of this has been presented by independent international observers, and experts have questioned whether or not the Syrian military was really responsible.

The former attack, in the rebel-held town of Rashidin on the outskirts of Aleppo, was even bloodier, yet Western reporters seemed to strain themselves to cover it at all. The identity of its likely culprits — hard-line Salafi jihadist Syrian rebels who have for years been empowered by the U.S. and its allies — was omitted by major news outlets, and the victims were reduced to mere “regime supporters.”

Some pro-rebel pundits even tried to pin the suicide bombing (a favored tactic of extremist rebels) on the Syrian government, implying it bombed its own Shia supporters while they fled al-Qaeda, in an elaborate conspiracy.

By contrast, the preceding attack, in Khan Sheikhoun in the al-Qaeda-dominated province of Idlib, was on the front page of every newspaper. It was broadcast throughout the world, and used to justify a U.S. missile attack on the Syrian government, which destroyed some 20 percent of its planes, according to the Pentagon.

Details about both attacks were unclear. But media outlets, which often uncritically echo the U.S. State Department, jumped to conclusions about the tragedy in Idlib, and justified the Trump administration’s missile strike. The tragedy in Aleppo, on the other hand, was reduced to a mere “hiccup,” if it was even covered at all.

The greatly disproportionate responses to the attacks underscore the outrageous bias in how Western news outlets cover the horrific conflict in Syria, which, in six years of bloody fighting fueled by foreign powers, has displaced more than half of the population and led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

Media outlets whitewash extremist rebels, which are aligned with al-Qaeda and have been armed and trained by the CIA and U.S. allies, and downplay their crimes. At the same time, these same networks obediently rehash U.S. government talking points and portray Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as a mustache-twirling cartoon villain, with the nuance of a Hollywood action movie.

Charles Dickens opened his opus A Tale of Two Cities writing, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity.” This is A Tale of Two Syrian Cities: Rashidin and Khan Sheikhoun

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