Karine Bechet-Golovko, translated by Tom Winter -
Last week was marked by a great event: the Syrian army, with Russian air support, was able to liberate for the second time the symbolic city of Palmyra. However, this good news has surprisingly not called forth any euphoria, instead, a surprisingly ironic reaction to what is a major defeat for Daesh.
In 2015, the extremists of Daesh seized the city of Palmyra, the jewel of the desert. After a major campaign, the Syrian army with the help of the Russian army succeeded in liberating the city in March 2016.
To celebrate this victory against barbarism, a great concert was organized. But then the battle of Aleppo occupied all energies and Islamist groups were kindly allowed to leave Mosul, facilitating the takeover of Palmyra by the extremists in December. Last week, after a long progress, the Syrian forces recaptured first the ancient city, then freed the city itself.
This news is very important because the first occupation of the city by the extremists caused destruction that is difficult to repair, an importance emphasized by the Director of UNESCO:
"The protection of the archaeological site of Palmyra is both a major cultural issue and an imperative for the security, peace, and the recovery of a whole country," said the Director-General. "This heritage has gone through millennia, it represents a ferment of unity and identity for the Syrian people. Its preservation is inseparable from the protection of human life and is an integral part of the response to a humanitarian situation of extreme urgency. It must be left out of the conflict. "
Such importance ... that the silence of the Western states is deafening. The only notable reaction is that of France and Great Britain: they are presenting to the UN a resolution for the adoption of sanctions against the Assad regime accused of using chemical weapons against the civilian populations.
This resolution was supported by the United States, but Russia and China opposed with their veto, estimating the evidence against the Syrian regime insufficient, while those brought against Daesh exist, but are not taken into account.
This diplomatic exchange took place on 28th February, when the Syrian army was approaching Palmyra and its liberation was virtually assured. The calendar is interesting here. It also makes it possible to communicate on the confrontation between the United States and Russia, blocking any possibility of cooperation, even in the fight against terrorism. Because the new American Ambassador to the UN keeps up the old liturgy of the Obama Administration and even envisages the possibility of adopting sanctions outside the UN framework:
"Today China and Russia have made a scandalous and indefensible choice," she said after the vote. "It is a sad day for the Security Council when members start to defend other member states that are killing their own people." "The world is undoubtedly more dangerous," concluded Haley.
As for the Syrian opposition, which is supposed to discuss the peace process and should therefore be pleased to see what must be their common enemy, namely the terrorist groups, beaten back, the statements of its spokesman leave one puzzled. According to Nasser al-Hariri:
The regime and the IE "are both terrorists."
This is a position that does not bode well for peace negotiations. And he persists in putting Daesh the extremist group and the Assad regime fighting terrorism on the same footing:
"It looks like an episode of Tom and Jerry," said the Syrian opposition, citing the fate of the city, which had fallen twice into the hands of the jihadists and twice taken by the regime. "Should we congratulate President Bashar al-Assad on retaking Palmyra? If we do, we will also have to congratulate Daech if they take the city again in the future "
The French press has a very simple position: either it presents the facts raw, without any interpretation, hiding as much as possible behind a pseudo neutrality, or it barely masks its ironic tone, as in the article of Le Monde from whom Hariri's declaration is drawn. We also note the very tendentious titles of some newspapers:
|"Palmyra outraged, liberated, and especially utilized"|
|"Will Russia be able to keep Palmyra?|
Yet, the extremist forces were pushed back more than 20 km from the city and the Syrian flag replaced the banner of the Islamic state. This victory had a significant effect on the Syrian military, whose morale is at its highest to continue the liberation of their country. Which, ultimately, is the most important. But it is regrettable that the Western countries hold such a hypocritical position, which borders on support for terrorism.
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