As Damascus residents are once again suffering under indiscriminate shelling and mortars launched by terrorists, it is important to once again draw attention to a recent secret document released by Edward Snowden showing that previous indiscriminate missile launches against civilians were entirely controlled and ordered by foreign powers like Saudi Arabia. These attacks were also known in advance by the United States which evidently had no qualms with them.
A loosely knit collection of Syrian rebel fighters set up positions on March 18, 2013, and fired several barrages of rockets at targets in the heart of Damascus, Bashar al-Assad’s capital. The attack was a brazen show of force by rebels under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, targeting the presidential palace, Damascus International Airport, and a government security compound. It sent a chilling message to the regime about its increasingly shaky hold on the country, two years after an uprising against its rule began.
Behind the attacks, the influence of a foreign power loomed. According to a top-secret National Security Agency document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the March 2013 rocket attacks were directly ordered by a member of the Saudi royal family, Prince Salman bin Sultan, to help mark the second anniversary of the Syrian revolution. Salman had provided 120 tons of explosives and other weaponry to opposition forces, giving them instructions to “light up Damascus” and “flatten” the airport, the document, produced by U.S. government surveillance on Syrian opposition factions, shows.
The Saudis were long bent on unseating Assad. Salman was one of the key Saudi officials responsible for prosecuting the war in Syria, serving as a high-ranking intelligence official before being promoted to deputy minister of defense later in 2013.
Hussain continues by writing,
The March 2013 attacks in Damascus provide a concrete example of the role that foreign powers played in the day-to-day reality of the conflict. A number of videos posted by Syrian opposition media on the day of the attacks purport to show rebel fighters firing rockets at the same sites mentioned in the U.S. document. Local media reports from that day described an attack in which rockets struck within the areas of the presidential palace, a local government security branch, and the airport. A representative of the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights quoted in a story the next day reporting the attacks, stating that they were unable to confirm whether they resulted in casualties.
The U.S. document, based on surveillance of “opposition plans and operations,” did not indicate whether the attacks deliberately targeted civilians or involved any extremist groups — but it did show that American spies found out about the attacks several days before they were launched.
Analyzing the videos of the attacks posted online by opposition factions, Lund said, “There appear to be several different groups involved, all identifying themselves as different factions of the ‘Free Syrian Army,’ and all apparently linking back to the same sponsor.”
Fast forward three years to today and Damascus is still under assault from indiscriminate shelling by terrorists funded, organized, and directed by the United States and Saudi Arabia. As travel blogger, photographer, and writer, Ilir Morina (who is currently in Syria) wrote on November 9,
Yesterday and today Damascus has been under heavy attack from terrorist mortars. One landed at a shop nearby, and the shop owner gave me this piece of the mortar. There have been many casualties. The sounds of war seem constant between the terrorist attacks against civilians and the Syrian Army attacks against the terrorists.
These are the sounds the people of Damascus have heard for over six years. Not just the sounds of course. Along with the sounds came the ripped bodies of loved ones and neighbors. The destroyed homes, schools, businesses. The frayed nerves of constant fear. The kind of terrorism that kills people from the inside. Yet they all keep going somehow, they don’t stop going to work or school. They just want this to end.
I’ve been listening to these sounds for seven weeks and I want them to end for them soon too inshallah…..
Photo credit: Ilir Morina – Morina’s World
These are mortars, like those in 2013, that are bought and paid for by foreign powers and who fall with their directives. While terrorist groups may change names, it should never be forgotten that they are, in the end, the same proxy military used by the U.S., NATO, GCC, and Israel for the purpose of destroying the secular government of Bashar al-Assad and as many civilians as possible in the process.