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On Syria, UN's Amos Omits Al Nusra to Whom Ladsous Ordered Surrender

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 30, updated -- When UN humanitarian aid chief Valerie Amos spoke on Syria to the Security Council on September 30, one expected her to describe the impact of the airstrikes in Syria by the US and five Arab kingdoms which began fully eight days before on September 22.

  But Amos stuck to the script, a written report with a cut-off date of September 17. Thus she did not mention the reports of airstrikes hitting grain mills in Manjib. One question is, will she ever?

Update: Amos in public also did not mention the "other" UN-named terrorist group in Syria, Jabhat al Nusra. Inner City Press has learned that in the closed-door consultations that followed, Amos presented a map of who controls what in Syria, listing ISIL-affiliates groups and then, in another color, other groups. That includes Al Nusra -- that is, Nusra and the Free Syrian Army. We'll have more on this.

   Syrian Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari came out of the Security Council. Off-camera, he told Inner City Press that the airstrikes since September 22 -- the only day on which he said Syria was notified by the US -- have killed "only 14 Da'esh" or ISIL fighters.

  On UNTV camera, Inner City Press asked Ja'afari about the impact of the strikes; he said the number of civilians casualties is not yet known but when he has the information, he will provided it.

  Inner City Press asked about the order by UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous that troops from Fiji and the Philippines surrender to Al Nusra. Ja'afari said Ladsous has not gotten back to Syria -- strange, given that it hosts a peacekeeping mission, and that Ladsous met untransparently with Sudan's Omar al Bashir.

  But Ladsous is getting more and more selective, more recently blocking Inner City Press' camera and then taking his favored scribes away from the scheduled (and canceled) stakeout for a "briefing." Video here from Minute 1:19.

  The UN released its August 19 - September 17 Syria aid access report for September in an even more pre-spun way than it did on April 23, then on May 22, on June 20 and then on July 24 and August 28. The UN has declined or refused to reform its broken "gray lady" system. This report cuts off on September 17 -- before the airstrikes by the US and five Kingdoms.

  The new report, cutting off on September 17, says "Government forces also shelled and undertook airstrikes against ISIL positions in the northern and eastern parts of the country in an attempt to stop ISIL."  What about the US and five Kingdom's airstrikes?

  Inner City Press on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access went to the UN Spokesperson's Office on September 29, the eve of the Security Council's month meeting, and asked for an explanation why rather than reform the pre-spin system, the reports are simply not pre-released. There was no explanation.

Update II: on September 30, the UN Spokesperson's office put the report, dated September 23, into its "Gray Lady." What was the point? We'll have more on this. The UN should be transparent.

 The new report goes on, "Government- controlled cities and towns continued to be subject toindiscriminate mortar attacks, shelling and vehicle-borne improvised explosivedevices by armed opposition, extremist and designated terrorist groups, notably in
Aleppo and Damascus governorates. For example, in Aleppo city, extensive shellingin the Khalideah residential and commercial area at the beginning of September resulted in the deaths of eight civilians, including women and children."
 On a group neither listed with ISIL and Al Nursa, nor (formally) with the Free Syrian Army, the new UN report says "On September 5, armed opposition groups took control of the Dokhanya and Ein Tarma suburbs of Damascus and engaged government forces in Midan and Zahira al Jadida, located less than 2 km from the Old City. A similar operation took place in Teshrine district, north of Damascus. On 16 September, one of the main Islamic Front factions (Ajnad al Sham) announced the beginning of a second phase of rocket attacks on the centre of Damascus."

   In the new system, selective reports circulate for days before the UN's actual report.

  The spoon-fed pre-spinner, ironically, has engaged in censorship of other leaks, click here for, here for critique by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

  As Inner City Press reported here, Australia along with Luxembourg and Jordan pushed a  resolution on Syria aid access.

  Again, the UN report does not directly address calls in Washington to support the Free Syrian Army -- which is still listed by another part of the UN as recruiting and using child soldiers.


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