Syria: Interview with Anhar Kochneva about the situation

Posted: June 11, 2012 in Sideviews
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After the Russian journalist Anhar Kochneva (also written often as Anhar Kotschnewa) had an interview with about the situation in Syria, she spoke also with Novosti Mira now. Anhar Kochneva (Kotschneva/Kotschnewa) is living and working in Syria for a long time and often travels through this country of the Middle East; because the journalist is able to speak Arabic fluently, all this is really no problem for here.

Anhar Kochneva was recently again in Homs and will soon travel back to this Syrian city, which district of Baba Amr (Baba Amro) is now sadly famous. Here is the English translation of the very interesting interview with this person, who should know what is really going on. (Source: “Novosti Mira“, 02/06/2012)

Novosti Mira: Good day, Anhar! Today, only essentially right-sided and tendentious news arrive from Syria, it is very difficult to penetrate to the truth. For many, the image which was created by mass media is dominant: the bad Assad with his army is on one side; the oppressed, but protesting population, is on the other side. Anhar, how does it actually behave? Because, if one takes the election results, it looks like as if the population further supports the party of Assad?


Anhar Kochneva: At the elections, it was not voted for parties, but directly for candidates. So, not party lists were elected, but specific candidates. The Baath Party and the block that has been formed around them, represents not only the largest and longest-serving party (and it is clear that they will not lose in the elections against those parties, that were founded only a few months), but also has the greatest number of members.

Many of them are politicians who are very experienced. Or it is known, respectable figures (teachers, managers of enterprises and the like). The Baath Party is also not the “Party of Assad”, but simply a party, a party of its members. It is a party with a large number of Syrians. Well, it was then this way; Syrians have chosen Syrians. Bashar al-Assad is the President; but members of parliament were elected.


Novosti Mira: What do the simple Syrians in their respective milieu say about the things that happen in the country? Let`s say, what is being spoken at the greengrocer on the market, ie outside of the political context?


Anhar Kochneva: They discuss the news, one speaks about the relatives and acquaintances, which were murdered or kidnapped by the bandits. It is talking very much about the current shortage of gas (I also received no gas bottle for three weeks and thus I could not even cook a hot meal); that is the result of the sanctions that were imposed by the West, supposedly for our benefits.


Novosti Mira: On television one sees mostly destroyed neighborhoods, on the sides of the agency SANA, however, there are shown clean streets and squares in Damascus, and how is the situation actually? The country is largely intact, does the life goes on, are schools, shops and markets open?


Anhar Kochneva: There are only three urban areas of Homs, which have neighborhoods that are (already) literally destroyed. This is because that the bandits had at that time had nested and entrenched there, which has either induce even the most destruction itself, or has brought the army into a position that they have to fire on their positions (SN: position of armed groups). In other places, it is in fact, largely calm, the city services are operating.

Even in Homs – I was there on Thursday and will go back again this Saturday – everything is running, with the exception of three districts, where the bandits have prevailed or still prevail in part – elsewhere it is an absolutely normal and peaceful life.

In some places, the armed rebels are forcing the people to remain in their homes and not to open their shops. Then they film it and distribute it like there has been a strike. In fact, the people who are being terrorized by them are not able to earn something and thus they cannot feed their families. Others again have no chance to buy food and other necessities because of this.


Novosti Mira: Anhar, what do you think about the terrible tragedy in al-Hula (al-Houla), the subsequent expulsion of Syrian diplomats, simultaneously, from the western countries – by the way, just after the NATO Summit in Chicago – doesn`t this seem for you like it could be somehow related?

Is there the view that all these things have been planned in advance, and we are now witnessing the  implementation of pre-planned terrible scenarios?


Anhar Kochneva: I would even add something from my sources: I have already received information several weeks ago, that the U.S. has, after all, taken the strategic decision to conduct a real war against Syria.

According to some data this should happen at the end of this summer. To justify the proposed intervention, it needs a “Ferdinand” or – in our case – a Racak (place in Kosovo, where a massacre was staged, which was the formal justification for the bombing of Yugoslavia). In addition, among the armed rebels there is the repeatedly announcements of a “zero hour”.

A provocation was thus actually expected. Now we are waiting for another “hour”, of which the bandits talk for quite some time: the “zero hour”. You know, that no such abstract terms in the tradition of the Arabs. You can really feel the hand of puppeteers behind this.


Novosti Mira: Anhar after in the western media about the tragedy of Al-Hula appeared, we read where now nothing left of the first suggested artillery fire, is it now saying that the people of Al-Hula apparently from the were loyal to the regime Alawite organization “Shabiha” massacre – there’s not the impression that the conflict is to get the element of religious war, that now comes to politics to religion? So far there has been no religious conflict in Syria, what do you think, are such things possible in future?


Anhar Kochneva: The people here are actually very intelligent and understand what they want to incite. About 20 years ago, a very bloody civil war came to an end in Lebanon; it had the appearance of a religious war. The Syrians remember this and many of them have fought in Lebanon. That is why they are reluctant to any implication, that the society will be plunged into this abyss.

You can often see Christian dignitaries at funerals and funeral services by Muslims, who have been victims of armed rebels, and vice versa, Sheiks are often seen in commemoration of the dead and funerals of Christians. This is the real Syria. A country in which one was only interested in the (religious) confession of his neighbor, so one knew to which holidays they should congratulate them.

Concerning al-Houla (al-Houla), I can say the following.

You will have read virtually nowhere that the same morning, a completely analogous tragedy has occurred in a village not far from it. Exactly the same way, 49 people in the village Schumarija (Shumarija) were executed with a knife or with head shots. Furthermore, there was no news about this in western media. Why not? Quite simply, it was immediately clear that all the victims were Alawites here.

They can be taken not even in theory as a justification for a future bombing of the country. So selective is just the “humanism“ that one is facing in Syria.

I’ve seen the people of Schumarija (Shumarija). For example, a young boy with an injured hand (by the explosion of a shell, which has snatched away his fingers). He was hiding in the village for six hours before the bandits. Crawled away from there on his stomach, so one did not notice him. And only when the army arrived (the army was accompanied by the UN observers, if I remember correctly) he was able to overcome his fear and to leave his hiding place. What kind of “government supporters” should that be, who are killing people?

In al-Houla (al-Hula), 62 members of a family was murdered, the family was considered loyal to the government. In addition, there are members from two different families, one of which has been a family where one was the family of the brother of an outstanding newly elected deputy in the Syrian Parliament. In other words, supporters of the government are murdering other government supporters?

This is of course complete nonsense. But someone is always trying to make the world believe that this nonsense is not so absurd.


Mira Novosti: What is the ratio of population to the army; do the young men like it to go into the military service? For a while, there was almost constantly the message in the media about the fact that there were a lot of army deserters, who join the ranks of the armed opposition, but now it is rather quiet again about this. What do you think?


Anhar Kochneva: I do not think you can talk at all seriously about deserters. The ostensible targets of the armed men are men in military uniform. Only for the fact that a man wears such a uniform, he may well be shot by a sniper. Would you really join someone, who could kill you? Or who will capture you, in order to extort ransom from your relatives for your release? And as long as these relatives try to scrape together money for your deliverance, they cut off a finger daily and cut an eye out weekly? Certainly not.

Sure, here is the general conscription. Even the relatives of the bandits serve in the army. Under such conditions it could theoretically be, that those have fled and now lead war against their own (former) comrades. But how many will that be? At best, individual cases.

In the majority of the video footage you see either civilians in military uniform (they are often identified by friends), or imprisoned genuine military personnel who are forced under threat of torture and the threat of an agonizing death, to read something from a paper or the screen of a notebook completely dyslexic “confession”, that were written by others.

There was one case when a professor has been kidnapped. And he was also forced to read such a “confession”, which was obviously written by someone who has not finished school (among the outlaws, there are many who have not even enjoyed an average debt education). What do you think, have some believed this self-denunciation? I can also recall a pilot from the Air Force; he also has read a text that he has left the brutal and bloodthirsty army. The boy had, while he read, tied hands, and behind him was a whole gang of thugs, armed to the teeth.

I have many friends and acquaintances in Syria. In a family, somebody was killed, another one has been kidnapped. Both military personnel. Of the second there is no news since November, only one, who had been ransomed by the bandits, has reported, that he has apparently seen him and that he was still alive. What is now with him is not known. There were no ransom demands. Constantly, kidnapped people are being killed, in order to stage another “barbarism of the army”.

Incidentally, a few days ago, another young man of this family was abducted. He is 30 years old and a real estate agent. Of course, they have immediately “acquired” the car, with which he was traveling. Now they demand a huge sum of ransom for him. Recently, a relative of my best friend was killed. Likewise, only because he was wearing a military uniform.


Novosti Mira: Anhar, in recent days, the situation is very tense, there is much talk of a foreign military intervention; related to this, is there panic among the population?


Anhar Kochneva: No. Nobody thinks about panic here. Quite the contrary – there is a determination to defend their own homes even if the need be. I think it will happen that way in an emergency – 2006, the residents of southern Lebanon, have rather fought bravely against the Israelis, which were technically superior.

Yes, there were about 1,000 victims of the bombings, lots of injuries, a bad trimmed infrastructure in the country. But to give up? Never.


Novosti Mira: Anhar, when I have prepared the questions in the office, I listened to the editors in the editorial office, what the people want to know first-hand about Syria. It is interesting what one thinks about the reasons of the conflict in Syria, because to a certain moment, Syria was not exactly a “Newsmaker” in the Western media, and not it is like as a dam was broken, all are interested in what happens in Syria. What is spoken about this in the population, how all this has started?


Anhar Kochneva: There are many reasons, a whole bouquet. But the preparations are under way already for more than 10 years. One needs only to read the book “Scenarios of future Interventions by the United States” (published in 2009 in Russia, it is to find in the Internet) again. Although, 10 years have passed since the writing of this text, and much has changed in the situation, the basic questions and methods have remained the same.

A strong and independent state, which pursues its own policy, is just an eyesore for some. What is needed are vassals, who do not own economy and have no voting rights.

The United States and the countries of the West seek to destroy the national independence movement in the region and weaken Iran, Russia and China by depriving them of an ally in the region.

Israel, too, interferes with the national independence movement in the region and wants to weaken the country, whose territory it has occupied in parts. As long as Syria has its own unresolved internal or external problems, it has no strong position, or simply no time for claims on the return of the occupied Golan Heights. Also, while the news is full of the most 99% of faked / a staged message from Syria, there is no room for more messages about bombing the Gaza Strip, about the annexation of fields on the West Bank of Jordan and so on.

Qatar is keen to remove a potential competitor out of the way – Recently in Syria, a large natural gas field was discovered. It is also about to build a pipeline through Syrian territory to conduct the gas from Qatar, also a small war in the region is a nice way to screw (increase) the prices for them. It is said that the Qatari gas does not sell too well – in Europe, the markets are dominated by Gazprom, while the entire natural gas industry of Qatar and its infrastructure has been financed on credit, which puts the otherwise not too rich country now on the edge of the possibilities by the grueling repayments.

Saudi Arabia, like if only the Syrian social system is not where it is possible that the wife of the president short-sleeved T-shirts and only knee-length skirt wearing, but it is the part of Saudi Arabia, a whole series of other reasons why it so spend a lot of resources in order to destroy Syria.

Jordan is primarily interested in that it does not even put under the wheels, also there’s the treat in the form of the province of Hejaz (then part of the Hashemite Kingdom of). The Americans have promised it, de facto, that Jordan will “receive” this land, at least, after the famous map of the “New Middle East”, which presents, how the United States thinks about the redraw of the Middle East.

In my opinion, Turkey gets plain and simple blackmailed: if it refuses to destroy Syria, let`s see whether the Turkish Kurdistan will be suddenly active.


Novosti Mira: Is there still some respect in the population for the West?  What is the relationship with America, what do the people think about the engagement in the affairs of Syria?


Anhar Kochneva: In last summer, a group of enthusiasts has raised a Syrian flag at the Embassy of the United States. At the fence, they have written: “America, Piss off!” I think that answers your question.


Novosti Mira: Anhar, in your opinion, is there something that could reconcile the country, is there hope that the situation will be resolved peacefully?


Anhar Kochneva: Once you stop supporting the armed bandits with money and you stop to provide them with weapons, the army will finish them pretty quickly. The “normal”, peaceful Syrians have nothing they would argue about.


Novosti Mira: Anhar, why not Syria pursues active policy to support its positions anyway? Sometimes one gets the impression that Syria is easily crushed by a steamroller; however, there is hardly any information of your side. The website of SANA is not too active. As far as I know, the Syrians are a highly educated and cultured people, but why we do not see them on the Internet, in the sphere of information?


Anhar Kochneva: We ask this question ourselves every day, on different levels. That whatever happens, it happens mainly through the efforts and the costs of enthusiasts. There is even no real possibility here to obtain information constantly about terrorist attacks, raids and so on from official sources. We obtain more information of acquaintances and friends, via Facebook, via phone.

There is no kind of any sort of briefing by the Interior Ministry; there is no press attaché in the Interior Ministry, who would, at least, give once a week an overview of what is happening and where.

Although there are many things to report: according to official information, in the last 40 days where the “ceasefire” was complied, there were a total of 4,000 crimes which were perpetrated by the armed bands: arson, explosions, kidnappings, murder…


Novosti Mira: Anhar, thank you for answering the questions, we wish Peace for you and the Syrian people.


Source of Translation:

  1. mklostermayr says:

    Linda :
    A UN Observers Mission car ran over 3 Syrians in Latakia, two of them are in critical condition

    • mklostermayr says:

      Syria, Lattakia / A UN observers’ car on Tuesday ran over three residents in Lattakia countryside while they were trying to explain their suffering due to the acts of the armed terrorist groups. The civilians are Amer Mohammad Zamzam, Mustafa Hikmat Kamel and Issam Ma’rouf Mahmoud, two of them are in critical condition.

      Mustafa Kamel, said that he was among the people who gathered at a point between al-Sheer and Set-Kheiris villages on Lattakia-Aleppo highway when members of the UN delegation, who refused to listen to the citizens’ demands, kept on moving across the gathered crowds, causing several bruises to Kamel’s body and creating an atmosphere of panic among people. 

      In turn, Amer Zamzam said that the UN observer team rejected talking to the people and drove their car rashly, injuring me in the leg and causing a car to turn over. The doctor who supervised the treatment of the injured citizens, Anas Adel Raad, said that the injured showed clear marks of abrasions, bruises and a stretching of hamstring and ankle muscles.

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