News Release

Syria Facts: * Rebels Refusing to Talk * 43 Percent of 100,000 Dead are Pro-Government Combatants

ROBERT PARRY, consortnew at aol.com
Parry is founder of ConsortiumNews.com and has written a series of articles on Syria. Most recently, he writes: “Two weeks after an apparent chemical attack in Syria, the Obama administration continues to tout its ‘scrubbed and rescrubbed’ intelligence as proving that the Syrian government is to blame. But not a single piece of verifiable evidence has been presented to the American people.”

In another piece, Parry states: “Though many Americans may believe — from absorbing the mainstream U.S. news — that it is Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad who needs to be pressured to the negotiating table, the reality is that Assad has repeatedly offered to join peace talks in Geneva. It is ‘our’ opposition that has refused to go.

“The rebel leaders have offered up a host of excuses: they want the U.S. government to provide sophisticated weapons first; they want all Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon to withdraw; they want to be in a winning position before talks begin; they want Assad to agree to resign as a precondition of talks.

“In other words, the fractious rebels, whose most effective fighters are allied with al-Qaeda, don’t want peace talks; they’d rather wait for the United States and other outside powers to be drawn into the civil war and ensure Assad’s ouster, an outcome that also could make Syria the new hotbed for terrorism in the Middle East.”

RANIA MASRI, rania.z.masri at gmail.com, @rania_masri
Masri is assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Balamand in Lebanon and is currently visiting the U.S. She said today: “There are a host of falsehoods being made about Syria. The issue is falsely being framed as either bomb or ‘do nothing,’ ignoring the host of diplomatic and nonviolent options … Some are starting to note that the administration is using a much higher figure for the casualties from the recent chemical weapons attack (see FAIR’s ‘John Kerry’s Very Precise Death Toll: Where Does It Come From?‘) But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s become a media cliche to say Assad ‘slaughtered 100,000 of his own people’ and the regime certainly has committed crimes, as the rebels have, but consider the best estimates we have for this: 43 percent of the 100,000 fatalities are pro-Syrian army combatants. Approximately 14 percent are rebel militants. And the remainder are civilians. The source is the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.”