Powerful associates of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, are making and selling captagon, an illegal amphetamine, creating a new narcostate on the Mediterranean.
“The idea of going to the Syrian government to ask about cooperation is just absurd,” said Joel Rayburn, the U.S. special envoy for Syria during the Trump administration. “It is literally the Syrian government that is exporting the drugs. It is not like they are looking the other way while drug cartels do their thing. They are the drug cartel.”
The Times cited an institutional failure and determined the “Caliphate” team gave too much credence to the claims of a supposed former terrorist.
After an internal review that took more than two months, The New York Times has determined that “Caliphate,” its award-winning 2018 podcast, did not meet the standards for Times journalism.
Bombs killed thousands of civilians in Raqqa, and the city was decimated. U.S. lawyers insist that war crimes weren’t committed, but it’s time to look honestly at the devastation that accompanies “targeted” air strikes.
via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/12/21/americas-war-on-syrian-civilians
The long read: In November 2019, James Le Mesurier, the British co-founder of the Syrian rescue group, fell to his death in Istanbul. What led an internationally celebrated humanitarian to take his own life?
via the Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/news/2020/oct/27/syria-disinformation-war-white-helmets-mayday-rescue-james-le-mesurier
The disinformation campaign quickly grew, its aim to sow doubt about the White Helmets and the footage they collected. As the war progressed, north-western Syria became a magnet for extremists bent on using the chaos to launch a global jihad. Propagandists exploited the confusion on the ground. Soon, claims appeared online that the White Helmets had been infiltrated by al-Qaeda, which had supposedly seized on the group as a way to obtain foreign funds. There were also accusations that the group had been created by governments determined to remove Assad from power, and that the White Helmets volunteers were “crisis actors” staging scenes to discredit Russia and Syria.