Turkish army and Syrian rebel fighters in its employ have been parked on the outskirts of the northern Syrian town of al-Bab for three months now. Unable to storm the settlement against ISIS defenders the Turks have resorted to that trusty tool of all militaries low on fighting spirit but high on firepower — heavy bombardment.
Constantly over the three months the town of 60,000 has been subjected to Turkish air strikes nominally targeting ISIS but repeatedly killing scores of civilians. Damascus government has condemned the Turks as have opposition monitors, but they are the only ones.
Western media has barely reported on the Turkish strikes, much less tried to generate outrage about them. That is even as SOHR, the source it has relied on for Syria updates until now, claims Turks have now killed 430 civilians in al-Bab.
Another ‘inconsistency’ then. Let’s recall. For the entire 2016 the western mainstream expressed outrage at civilian deaths in rebel-held Aleppo at the hands of Syrian (and sometimes Russian) bombs and artillery but failed to:
- pay any attention to loyalist enclaves (Fuah and Kafarya) similarly besieged by rebels
- point out the parallels between Aleppo battle and the US-Iraqi operation in Mosul
- point out east Aleppo civilians were blocked from evacuating by rebel fighters
- point out most affected civilians were jubilant when government finally took back east Aleppo
- pay much attention to rebel counter strikes on west Aleppo using improvised artillery
- point out similarities between Aleppo battle and American assaults on restive Iraqi cities (Falluya, Ramadi, Sadr City…) during the 2003-11 occupation
All this in mind it is impossible to be actually surprised about yet another hypocrisy of the regime media in the west but it is one that needs to be pointed out.
In their invasion of northern Syria the Turkish military has so far suffered 68 dead, majority of them at al-Bab. The rebels in their tow who reportedly number just under 10,000 have suffered 497 dead and 1,800 wounded. Turkish media is reporting their forces in Syria are set to rise from 4,000 to 8,000.