10 myths about Syria: the truth from the military
Correspondent of the Federal News Agency has been working in Syria for more than two months. During this time, he traveled almost the entire country, from the front line to peaceful cities. He was in Damascus and Homs, in Tartus and Latakia, in besieged Deir-ez-Zor and on the approaches to the deserted Palmyra.
I drove south of the country - Daraa and Suweida, which is near the border with Jordan and the Golan occupied by Israel. Finally, he visited Aleppo, the largest metropolis of the Middle East, and its surroundings. Below are revelations of the most popular myths about the Syrian Arab Republic (SAR) and the Middle East as a whole.
Myth 1. There is a civil war in SAR
In 2011, when we watched reports on “mass anti-Assad protests” on Western channels, one could believe in a “revolution”.
Having lived in Homs (where it all started) and talking to local people, looking at photos from the beginning of the “revolution”, I realized that the Western media completely misinterpreted the events of those years. For example, there is a peaceful demonstration of local residents in support of Bashar Assad.Stringer "BBC" removes it and passes for anti-government rally.
It is not for nothing that the war in Syria is called a hybrid: in such a conflict, the role of the media is very large. Unfortunately, in the case of ATS, Western journalists are indirectly guilty of many thousands of deaths.
ATS has long kept its borders open to all Arab countries. Because of this, thousands of extremists have entered the country. In addition, the gangster International of the Islamic State terrorist group banned in the Russian Federation (ISIL, IG, the Arabic name DAISH) is engaged in the very real export of terrorism from Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey - with the tacit connivance of the authorities of these countries.
Finally, in most major cities of Syria, calmly. There are neither “protests” nor “Assad soldiers terrorizing the local population”. Only shelling Islamists and portraits of dead fighters. Almost every street.
Myth 2. All Syrians are Muslims.
Many people in Syria belong to Islam only formally. About how Orthodox in Russia: about 85% of Russians formally baptized, but how many of them really believe? ATS has long been a country of "Arab socialism", here it promoted the idea of a secular secular society.
Syria is a multi-faith country. Before the war, Sunni Muslims (their majority) and minorities of Islam — the Alawites, the Shiites, the Ismailis, and the Druze — lived peacefully here.
There are many Christians in the country, both Orthodox and Catholics. There are also exotic Yezidi Kurds belonging to Zoroastrianism.
In the past couple of decades, mosques, mostly Sunni, have been actively built in the country. Preachers are imported from Saudi Arabia and other “friendly” Gulf countries. So in a peaceful country, where Christians, Muslims and Jews lived in the same street, Wahhabis and Takfiris appeared.
Myth 3. Syria is a poor third world country.
In Syria, free bread. For all. Most of the year in the country is so warm that you can sleep outside. Toilets are free here, drinking water is abundant. People are friendly, so they will always help - both homeless and refugees. But I did not see homeless people here, and the refugees came only with the war.
People here can get land and build a house. Building materials are cheap, bureaucracy for ATS citizens is minimized. Houses are built almost without projects and other permits.
The area of an average Syrian apartment starts from 100 square meters, there are necessarily two or three bathrooms and at least four or five rooms.Even “socialist” houses are an order of magnitude more comfortable than our “Khrushchev” houses.
Before the war, the average salary of a Syrian was one thousand or two dollars. Comments are unnecessary.
Myth 4. Syrian women - hammered cloves from a harem
Latakia, coast, evening. Locals make the promenade. Family walks. Laughing, joking. Women feel relaxed, they smile a lot. Alawite girls do not wear Islamic hats and can afford short skirts. In the capitals and large cities, even the Sunnits behave fairly freely. The number of women drivers in metropolitan areas is no less than in Russia.
Women in Syria often run by men, the female boss is the norm here. Not the highest level, but to manage the department in the ministry - completely.
Myth 5. In Syria, the tourist has nothing to watch, one desert
“Before the war, there was paradise,” almost all Syrians told me.
Warm sea in the west, protected forests and mountains in the provinces of Latakia and Homs; the ancient Euphrates in Deir ez-Zor and the wonderful Palmyra in the east.
Finally, the pearl of the country - Damascus. With its fantastic, untouched Old Town, fortified walls and Umayyad Mosque.And besides - the castles of the crusaders, the ancient Ugarit (the place where the alphabet was invented).
Syria is generally a paradise for lovers of antiquities. Local antique shops will delight you, and city bazaars and shopping centers will become a true Mecca of shopping lovers.
Today, the so-called military tourism is becoming popular - excursions to the front line. Ride a helicopter? Easy! Shoot out of anything? You can also organize. And to do military tourism can companies from Russia.
Finally, in Syria, delicious cuisine and hookahs, which will be a great addition to any rest.
Myth 6. Assad is a bloody dictator
Bashar Assad today is the only guarantor of stability in the country. He himself repeatedly said that he was ready to leave if the Syrian people wished. In the meantime, his stay in power is a pledge of victory over the Islamists, a pledge of a peaceful life. That is why Russia supports the Syrian authorities - only they continue to be legitimate in Syria.
Myth 7. Syrian opposition fighting for freedom
Strictly speaking, there are no “fighters for freedom” in the country: they joined Al-Qaida or the Islamic State.Those who really tried to “democratize” the country now understand: first and foremost, we must defeat the terrorists and regain control over the border. Elections and referendums - then, after the victory.
Myth 8. Syria produces nothing
On the contrary, the country is very strong localization of production.
Powerful agricultural industry, textile, pharmaceutical and food industries.
The huge metropolis of Aleppo has always been the center of production in the country. The war in some places wiped out Aleppo (the Arabs call it so) to the ruins, and the Turkish "partners" took hundreds of factories to their places.
However, people in Syria continue to work, often under shelling.
The government of the country understands how important it is to preserve local production, jobs, and in every way it subsidizes them.
Myth 9. Syrians do not know how and do not want to fight
It is believed that the Syrian army is a kind of "hookah troops" who "fight before lunch and quit smoking."
Indeed, the fighters here love tea, coffee and Argentinean mate. They love smoking too: you can find hookah and fragrant “Hamra” cigarettes in everyone, from private to general. However, without knowing how to fight, the Syrian army would not have lasted a year against the Caliphate.But the bandits are equipped with ultra-modern weapons from Israel and the United States.
Myth 10. The operation in the SAR for Moscow is the second Afghanistan
There will be no ground operation of the Russian Armed Forces in Syria - Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stated this. So there will be no “Afghanistan” either. However, the airbase and military specialists must be protected. Therefore, in Syria, there are both marines and other Russian fighters. Without the Marines, rescuing the Su-24 navigator Konstantin Murakhtin would have been impossible.