Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Boomerang | From Putin to Assad: A tale of terrorism and hypocrisy

Pro-Assad Syrian students gathered in front of the Russian Embassy in a show of solidarity with the victims of the terrorist attack in Moscow. Credit: Sputnik/Shams Melhem

Just a few days after Vladimir Putin began his fifth term as president of Russia, 133 people were killed in a terrorist attack on a concert hall near Moscow shattering the illusion he tries to maintain of a strong leader able to protect the Russian people.

Was not the deliberate bombings of Syrian schools, hospitals, clinics, and civilian homes by Assad and Putin’s warplanes also acts of terrorism?

Although it is tragic when any civilian lives are lost in an act of terrorism, it is difficult for me to ignore the hypocrisy when it comes to the response of the Assad regime in Syria. The same regime that invited Putin’s thugs to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians (men, women, and children) just so that Bashar Assad could remain sitting in the presidential chair he inherited from his father. Was not the deliberate bombings of Syrian schools, hospitals, clinics, and civilian homes by Assad and Putin’s warplanes also acts of terrorism?

Following the deadly attack on Moscow’s Crocus City Concert Hall, the Assad regime’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates issued the following statement:

“The Syrian Arab Republic condemns in the strongest terms the cowardly terrorist act that occurred in the “Krokus” commercial complex near the Russian capital Moscow, following the great achievements made by the friendly Russian people, especially in the special operation carried out by the Russian army in the Donbass region, as well as in the recent elections where the Russian people expressed their support for their army and leadership keen on the rights of the Russian Federation and the correctness of its stance in confronting Western colonial plans and in creating a new multipolar world that eliminates all forms of domination and aggression committed by Western countries, led by the United States of America.”

As if they had not dished out enough hypocrisy for one day, the statement continued saying; “This brutal and inhumane terrorist attack resulted in severe loss of life, in addition to a large number of injuries, which once again demonstrates the aggressive and uncontrolled spirit prevailing in the collective West, and its disregard for the lives of innocent civilians not only in Russia but also in various parts of the world that seek to preserve their sovereignty and independence.”

Assad regime continues to sing the praises of those who have heinously violated the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine

It is hard to understand the rationale of authoritarian leaders like Putin and Assad who make reference to “domination and aggression committed by Western countries” when the only reason these leaders continue to win elections is because they persistently do whatever it takes to make sure that none of their political opponents ever get the chance to defeat them at the polls. In addition, Syria has been on the US list of State Sponsors of Terrorism since 1979 and what was Putin’s invasion of Ukraine if not an act of oppression and domination? Yet the Assad regime continues to sing the praises of Putin who has heinously violated the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. 

Ironically, the terrorist attack on the Moscow concert hall could have been prevented if Putin had not disdainfully ignored warnings from the US that an attack was imminent. In early March, the US government had shared intelligence information with Russian authorities, information they had gathered through monitoring terrorists in the area that had alerted them to the fact that “extremists had imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow.” 

the Assad regime continues to blame America for the world’s terrorism and unfortunately some Syrians still believe them

US National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson told CNN that the US government had “shared this information with Russian authorities in accordance with its longstanding ‘duty to warn’ policy.” But instead of taking the warning seriously, Putin blasted it as “provocative” and “outright blackmail” intended to “intimidate and destabilize” Russian society. As a result, 133 people have died so far and many others were wounded due to his blustering negligence. But back in my homeland the Assad regime continues to blame America for the world’s terrorism and unfortunately some Syrians still believe them.

A recent report by the BBC stated that “Members of the “National Union of Syrian Students” made a solidarity visit to the Russian Embassy building in Damascus, expressing their support for Russia and condemning the terrorist act that targeted its citizens at the “Krokus” complex on the outskirts of Moscow. The union, which includes students from Syrian universities, held a solidarity stand in front of the Russian Embassy building in Damascus, expressing their solidarity with Russia and its people in the face of the bloody terrorism that struck a place of music and arts.”

the only violation of Syria’s sovereignty that I have witnessed in my lifetime occurred when he welcomed Russia and other foreign militias into the country to kill Syrians on his own behalf

I can’t help wondering where those Syrian students were when Russian planes were dropping bombs on their fellow Syrians? It is also ironic that ISKP’s grievance against Russia appears to stem from the fact that they see Putin “as being complicit in activities that regularly oppress Muslims” such as his intervention in Syria where the majority of the hundreds of thousands of Syrians killed in Assad’s war on his own people have been Muslims. In spite of the propaganda being spouted by Assad, the only violation of Syria’s sovereignty that I have witnessed in my lifetime occurred when he welcomed Russia and other foreign militias into the country to kill Syrians on his own behalf.

Yasser Ashkar
Yasser Ashkar
Former instructor at Istanbul University. Ashkar is a Founding Member of the Association of Syrian Refugees, Human Rights Activist and Journalist. He currently lives in Michigan, USA.

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