Syria: Violent clashes and idyllic landscapes

Posted: December 7, 2011 in Sideviews
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The German book author and freelance journalist Karin Leukefeld, based in Damascus, is known for her reports about Middle Eastern countries and her coverage of events and daily situations which are sometimes in a small contrast to the mainstream opinions.

Leukefeld wrote on her personal homepage that she is focused on the “Life behind the Headlines” and shows this attitude clearly after the first peaceful demonstrations in Syria were misused by armed radicals and extremists who are said to be supported by abroad with money and weapons.

Her latest article is about her journey to the northwest of Syria and especially about the situation in the city of Homs. After the tough sanctions against Syria by the Arab League (AL) and the allegedly killed opposition activists by government forces in the night to Tuesday it is sure no normal trip for a foreign journalist like Karin Leukefeld. According to the opposition civilians and armed people are repeatedly killed in Homs.

But there is also the other side and the fact that such messages by so-called activists are not confirmed and verified – remember the dubious “Syrian Human Rights Observatory” in London which is not only a one-man show but also related to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The German journalist Karin Leukefeld wrote about the Tourists which are missing this year in Syria and also wrote correctly that the German Foreign Ministry still recommends leaving Syria. Already in spring the European states had strongly warned against traveling to Syria and just after the first protests in Daraa the German Foreign Office in Berlin classified the situation Syria as hazardous as in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A really strange classification if we recall the situation in spring and summer. Not to mention that even in autumn some tourists visited Syria and traveled through the country. The trip to the North of Syria was a smoothly journey for Leukefeld. She used the normal bus connection between Syrian cities and villages and started her trip in the Syrian capital Damascus.

Every Syrian knows, so Karin Leukefeld, that there is a deadly struggle in different districts of Homs since months. Armed insurgents, who are sold as deserters of the Syrian army by the opposition, are supplied with money and weapons from nearby Lebanon. Of course, Turkey plays its part also.

Afterwards the German journalist and book author Leukefeld wrote clearly that Turkey is hosting the Syrian colonel and leader of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood – Riad Asaad (Riad al-Asaad / Riyad Mousa al-Asad).

While Leukefeld wrote that Riyad al-Asad names himself the leader of the “Free Syrian Army” (Free Syria Army), who will overthrow the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, it is clearly interesting that the German journalist makes this link between him and the Muslim Brotherhood. This might be one of the important points in her latest excerpt out of Syria – which should raise some questions and is maybe able to answer others.

Of course, somebody as Karin Leukefeld knows about the history of the Syrian cities like Homs and Hama. Leukefeld also mentioned that while she was still driving by bus an otherwise silent passenger told her that “1300 soldiers and policemen have been killed by the insurgents” until now. She also wrote about the allegedly mutilated bodies, with chopped of heads, arms and legs.

Near the Syrian city Hama insurgents killed policemen and threw the mutilated bodies over a bridge railing into the Orontes. This scene was filmed with a cell phone and also uploaded on the Internet afterwards.

The Syrian army forces, which are trained only for national defense, are opposed to a hodgepodge of armed and groups: mercenaries, Salafists, deserters, Bedouin smugglers, men who want to take revenge for killed relatives and finally also members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

While it`s interesting that a German author wrote about this without covering the details, Leukefeld also mentioned that this conflict has already left the political level long ago. She said correctly, that there are not only kidnappings and rapes but also home and business feuds are fought now. Violence determines what happens in some Syrian areas.

Afterwards you can read that she has talked about the situation with some Europeans, who are living in Syria and indigenous intellectuals for dinner after her arrival in Latakia. A British woman told her that she followed the foreign media coverage about the situation in Syria and that there have been fights in a suburb of Latakia in summer. BBC reported that the Syrian navy bombards the city.

This wasn’t true and the British woman decided to call the media station of BBC. But the BBC employees did not revise their reports and also asked her how much she is paid by the “Assad-Regime” to spread such “false reports” – afterwards she decided to never call BBC again. That’s British journalism? Probably, but then it’s only British and no journalism at all. Is this related to the dubious “Syrian Human Rights Observatory” in London?

Finally the German author and independent journalist Karin Leukefeld wrote, that when it`s about the people there the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should become his chance to implement the reform process. The people still make clear differences between the President al-Assad and “the regime” which is accused of many errors and misconduct. Also a retired university professor told her that “they who have their hands in this game” aren`t interested in their opinion and also not interested in real political reforms.

This retired professor also blamed the United States and Europe which is said to only care about the state of Israel. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are on their side and Turkey is said to dream about a “new Ottoman Empire under the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood”.

No, thank you. Syria is secular and will hopefully always remain secular, no matter what strange dream some might have.



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