With news breaking yesterday that Zahran Alloush, the leader of Jaysh al-Islam, had been killed by Syrian airstrikes, the world reacted in a very peculiar way. Naturally, pro-government supporters rejoiced with the news that the leader of a 20,000 person strong terrorist group that were on the doorsteps of Damascus and consistently and indiscriminately shelled the city, had died.
The airstrike had not only killed Alloush, but another 5 members of Jaysh al-Islam’s leadership. It is yet to be revealed whether this intelligence was discovered by the Syrians or the Russians, but what it does present is the changing landscape in the war favoring the government. With ISIS in retreat in eastern Aleppo, Al-Nusra and its allies in retreat in southern Aleppo and Latakia, this Jaysh al-Islam leadership decimation is the latest blow to the anti-government terrorist forces. Most importantly, this is another major blow to Saudi Arabia and Turkey who backed Alloush’s forces.
With his death, it became unsurprising that Al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, quickly released a media statement giving condolences to the dead terrorist leader.
This was soon quickly followed by Al-Nusra’s major ally, Ahrar ash-Sham, giving their condolences.
“Alloush’s martyrdom should be a turning point in the history of the revolution and rebel groups should realize they are facing a war of extermination and uprooting by Putin’s regime,” said Labib al Nahhas, a senior figure in the main Ahrar al-Sham group.
However, this is understandable that fellow terrorist groups would give their condolences to a known sectarian terrorist with the same ideology, goals and extremism. However, this is where things start to become strange and peculiar.
The designated champions of the ‘revolution’ against the Syrian government, the Free Syrian Army, are always heralded as moderate, secular and pro-democracy. However, as Al-Masdar News has continued to expose at large, this ethos is nothing but a mythological hope to the West. Why did the Free Syrian Army offer condolences to the death of a terrorist leader who was friendly with internationally designated terrorist groups like Al-Nusra and Ahrar ash-Sham?
We know Ahrar ash-Sham, Al-Nusra and the Free Syrian Army are allied and compose the northern Syrian axis known as the Army of Conquest. Despite this, the mythology of a secular and pro-democratic Free Syrian Army permeates. However, in the West, the silence of the media exposing this has been deafening. In fact, the West have taken a more disturbing reaction to the death of the terrorist leader Alloush.
The Guardian took the headline: “Leader of powerful Syrian rebel group killed in airstrike”.
The New York Times took the headline: “Powerful Syrian Rebel Leader Reported Killed in Airstrike”.
Reuters took the headline: “Top Syrian rebel leader killed in air strike in Damascus suburb”.
This disturbing statement attempts to reduce Alloush’s barbarity, his fundamentalist ideology, and just like ISIS, the struggle to install a radical Islamist government in Syria. It is not understood why Roth has downplayed the magnitude of his terrorism. As executive director of the Human Rights Watch, he would have been well aware of the indiscriminate shelling he perpetrated on Damascene civilians from his East Ghouta stronghold and the kidnapping of innocent civilians. Yet again, the silence was deafening on his behalf to these crimes. He also ignored the fact that Alloush stated that Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra were his brothers and fought side by side, and openly praised Osama Bin Laden.
Is Roth taking a simplistic view of the complex multifaceted Syrian War? It seems so.
The way the world has reacted to the death of Alloush has only demonstrated the information war against the government in this conflict. When we have designated terrorist groups, ‘secular and pro-democratic’ rebel forces allied to these terrorist groups, Western mainstream media and Human Right’s Watch leaders all conforming to the same view about Alloush, serious questions must be raised. However, this is unlikely.
It remains to be seen with a new leadership in place whether Jaysh al-Islam will keep its affiliations with designated terrorist groups and continue its policy of indiscriminately shelling government held areas. Somehow I think with the groups collective radical Islamist ideology, this is very likely.