Earlier this month Trump won an upset victory in the presidential election in the US, which eliminated the possibility of a direct American intervention against Assad.
Two weeks later The New York Times has for the first time discovered there is such a thing as a rebel blockade of eastern Aleppo.
Supposed now that adventure in Syria that NYT was pushing for is definitely off the table, the paper can acknowledge inconvenient truths and try to regain a shred of integrity.
But only just a shred.
As you can see the stalwart of establishment propaganda did not actually report that rebels are preventing civilians from evacuating, but merely carried an Associated Press wire reporting a “Syrian group” (which happens to be the anti-government SOHR) is reporting so.
Still, for the second most toxic paper in the US after the insufferable WaPo even this is a giant step.
Of course the idea that rebels keeping Aleppo civilians hostage is “difficult to verify” is utter nonsense. It has by now been extensively corroborated — by reporters who actually bothered to travel to Aleppo.
The Independent: East Aleppo civilians ‘shot at’ by rebels to prevent them leaving during truce
ITW News: No crossings in Aleppo as rebels bombard exit points
Confirmed – rebels are firing mortars into the checkpoint areas making it extremely dangerous to attempt to leave E Aleppo…
— alex thomson (@alextomo) October 20, 2016
Footage from within eastern Aleppo:
Freedom in Eastern Aleppo!
Civilians running after 'moderate rebels' opened fire as they were protesting against them today (15/11/2016) pic.twitter.com/xQiGF9BHCA
— M Green (@MmaGreen) November 15, 2016
It’s clear why the rebels need to keep the last 40,000 civilians from leaving. Firstly they need civilian casualties (real or staged) to win sympathetic media coverage in the west. Secondly, they can profit greatly by selling foodstuffs at inflated prices, and by collecting bribes from would-be evacuees to be allowed to leave — reportedly at the moment the rate is $150 per person.
And all this time The New York Times had been covering up for them — just so that it could have another dirty regime change war in the Middle East, one on the side of al-Qaeda against one of the few remaining non-sectarian regimes in the region.