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Thursday, August 18

Attn Axis powers and your al Qaeda employees! Stop using kids as human shields!

The U.S. contingent of the Axis press (New York Times, Washington Post, CNN) is having hysterics about a boy in East Aleppo who looks the victim of a Syrian or Russian airstrike. Even RT has joined in the lamentations -- probably because of justified concern that if they don't cluck about the already world-famous child the Russians will once again be branded as heartless.

The WaPo headline for the story is typical of the U.S. Axis press coverage: The stunned, bloodied face of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh sums up the horror of Aleppo

The sharp-eyed blogger at Moon of Alabama points out that there's a problem with the blood on the child's face as well as the face of an adult also featured in the already world-famous video that was clearly produced by the White Helmets.

In fact there are problems with the entire video, as the MoA blogger and some of his readers detail. This is aside from the fact that the White Helmets organization is infamous ( amongst its critics) for staging scenes purporting to show Syrian government war crimes, which the Axis press uncritically passes along to its readers.

(For understandable reasons the Axis news media don't pass along footage that suggests White Helmets covers up war crimes committed by terrorist groups in Syria.)

But let's assume for the sake of discussion that the bloodied, ash-covered Aleppo Boy is indeed a wounded survivor of an airstrike in East Aleppo, and in shock (that last would answer MoA's question about why the boy didn't seem to be in pain when he rubbed his bloodied temple.)  But why would the child be in that very hot war zone? There are few options when it comes to an answer: 

1. His parents tried to flee through one of the exit corridors opened up by the Syrian military but there were too many other families crowding the corridors. This is currently a big problem. So many thousands of people in E. Aleppo are trying to get out that crowd control is hard, especially because there are many children in the families trying to leave. This greatly slows the very cautious escape operation managed by the Syrian Army, which can easily come under enemy fire.

2.  His parents are opposition fighters who've been keeping their families with them in E. Aleppo. What kind of fighters would keep their families with them when they know the zone is under constant bombing by Russian and Syrian aircraft?  Not very nice ones at this stage of the conflict. Over a period of months the Syrian government has done everything possible to avert civilian casualties in Aleppo and elsewhere -- with the worst of the opposition doing everything possible to create civilian victims of air raids. This included refusing all help that the Syrian government extended to their families months before the current bombing raids in E. Aleppo.

Regarding #1, just because the Syrian government worked so hard to get civilians out of E. Aleppo, starting months ago, many if not most of the families still there are those of opposition fighters. Many of the fighters are trying to get out now through the escape corridors either because they want to live to fight another day, or because they want to take advantage of the full amnesty that the Syrian government offers to opposition fighters except for known war criminals.

Many thousands of opposition fighters from all over Syria have signed up for amnesty, a process that's greatly accelerated since the Russians entered the fray. Just about every day SANA, the state-run news agency, reports that another batch of fighters has laid down their weapons.  

And that, I submit, is a big problem for the Axis powers (chiefly the USA, Britain, France, Turkey, Al Saud, and Al Thani). It won't do if the world outside Syria learns the extent to which the moderate opposition is and always has been Axis-fueled propaganda. 

The biggest problem that East Aleppo's hapless civilians face right now is that the mercenary armies funded by the Axis have no qualms about civilians remaining as human shields.

As to the odds I'd give on whether the Aleppo Boy incident was staged -- MoA pointed out that the inside of the ambulance in which the boy and a couple other children were placed by rescue workers was spotless. But from the short video of the incident (see The Washington Post), it looks to me as if the outside of the ambulance (the back doors, which is about all that can be seen) was remarkably clean for having been operating in the bombing zone. And the workers loading the children into the ambulance are also remarkably untouched by ash and rubble dust.  

Now there could be a reasonable explanation but I think one must consider the timing of the video. This comes at the point where the Axis powers are doing everything possible to halt the bombing raids in E. Aleppo. And to pressure the Syrian government into foregoing its stipulation about the escape corridors, which have been termed 'humanitarian' corridors. The government says that the corridors are one-way: the civilians can leave but they can't make round trips, for obvious reasons, including crowd control. 

The Axis powers want these corridors to be two-way, for what I think is the obvious reason that they're having a devil of a time re-supplying their mercenaries under siege and constant air attacks in East Aleppo.  

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