Hama, Syria, (Prensa Latina) The city of Hama visibly reflects what Syria is going through today.
Syria is a country now submitted to an intense political attack, a terrorist violence imposed and fostered from abroad, and a media campaign marked by distortion and false statements about the reality.
Meanwhile, the people -who feel the tensions and the effects of that campaign- live their lives without losing the hope that everything will return back to normal.
This city, the capital of the province with the same name in the center of Syria, was practically taken by groups of armed extremists, accompanied by violent disturbances from July 31 to August 8, days in which looting and plundering, material destruction and crimes were perpetrated, such as the dismembering of the bodies of 17 dead police officers. The agents were surprised at 05:30 local time by a band of well equipped individuals who attacked them and destroyed their station in the neighbourhood of al-Hader.
The terrorists then dismembered the bodies and threw the pieces from the bridge on the al-Assi River, residents told international reporters visiting the city. Images of the harrowing deed were shown by Qatari TV channel Al-Jazeera and others.
Other bands destroyed and set fire to the Officers Club and to the Provincial Court headquarters, which also houses the offices of the Attorney General and the Notary Pubic of this province with 2.5 million inhabitants. The destruction is still visible.
With great difficulties, the workers of the court provide services to the public, but they can only offer 30 percent of the services they commonly offer because of the loss of files and information. Similar events took place in Daraa, Idleb, Deir Ezzor and Homs.
The situation in those places has already improved, and even Deir Ezzor returned to normal, but assaults, attacks, kidnappings and other atrocities against civilians continue to occur in Hama. "We had to call the Army for help to liberate the city and its inhabitants from the terrorism committed by those armed groups," the governor of Hama, Doctor Ells A. Naem, told reporters.
In the court, General District Attorney Ismail Shafira said that the material damages to the building, furniture and equipment caused by the looting amounted to 20.2 million dollars, to which must be added $510,000 for the loss of files and information.
Such events have altered the life of the city in which fear still reigns. Shafira admits that they still feel fear, because they could be the target of the armed groups that still roam the district. Governor Naem pointed out that the city is already stable, but he still feels apprehension at night, and there are still cases of kidnappings and murders in settlements of the rural area and sporadic night attacks against police patrol cars and military positions still occur.
Syria is criticized because of the use of the army to counter the violent outrages of armed terrorist groups; channels like Al-Jazeera and the Saudi Arabian Al-Arabiya reported that residential areas and even hospitals in Hama were destroyed by the bombing of the military.
However, the reality is otherwise, as witnessed by the journalists that visited the area. "The military are here to protect us from the destroyers", said Ibrahim Hidjo, a driver who was waiting to be attended in the provincial court. "We need them; who will stop those violent people?" asked a woman that was identified as Marian Mosret. Other people repeated the same views to reporters that sought their opinion.
The anti-Syrian campaign has said that those bands are armed opponents of the government of President Bashar al-Assad, mostly formed by deserters of the Army, but more and more evidence appears, including public confessions by arrested leaders and members, that prove they are supplied from abroad and that foreigners also take part in the bands. The diversity and firepower of the weapons and, especially, the sophisticated communications equipment confiscated by the Syrian security forces, some of which are authorized for use only by the Ministries of Defense of the manufacturing countries, is evidence that they have been brought into the country.
Citing European intelligence sources, the news agencies FARS and Cham Press revealed that mercenaries have been trained even by US specialists in bases in Turkey and Qatar with financing from Saudi Arabia, to be infiltrated into Syria.
These sources affirm that the US company Blackwater Worldwide, notorious for its close links with the US Central Intelligence Agency and for the participation of its mercenaries in several areas of the planet since its creation in North Carolina 10 years ago, is involved in the case of Syria.
Observers agree that the intention of the centers of power in the west and in the states of the Persian Gulf supporting them is to overthrow the government of President al-Assad. Western military commands and politicians say a Libya-style military incursion is not the most convenient option for them.
That is why they have concentrated all their forces and resources in inciting violence and providing resources to generate centers of violence in the country, and thus create instability and confusion to weaken the morale of citizens and their security forces. Asmail Sharefa, District Attorney General, explains what happened in the city.
They impose economic sanctions, encourage and finance opposition groups outside the country, even talk of a Syrian Army of Liberation, which Turkey no longer denies is in its own national territory, and they strengthen the media campaign. Politicians, personalities and Arab religious leaders comment that such an attack is due to the independent posture of Damascus, and its firmness in defending Arab causes, such as the Palestinian cause.
They also warn that it is related to the new US strategy for a New Middle East designed to assure their control of the oil resources and to achieve a greater protection for its Israeli ally. They also assert that the ulterior objective is Iran.
But political analyst Nicola Nasser sees it from a much more global perspective. The journalist and researcher in Middle East matters warned in the magazine Middle Online East about the existence of regional and international strategic geopolitical factors, which are transforming Syria into the frontier that can presage the emergence of a new era for a multipolar world that would put an end to the unipolar order now controlled by the US and the other centers of power in the West.
In that context, they would have to share such control with the so-called emerging nations that, headed by Russia and China, are striving to have a stronger voice and vote in global decisions. That multipolar world would emerge if the alliance led by Washington fails to change the government and system in Syria, Nasser says. If that analysis is correct, that would explain the harsh attacks against Damascus and President al-Assad.
And while the events unfold, Najwa Alsaihi, a resident of Hama, settles the papers at the provincial court for her son’s marriage on January 1st, and she expresses optimism that by then her city will be much safer.
Martin Hacthounis is Special Envoy of Prensa Latina in Syria.
December 9, 2011