Our coverage of Syria

But Syriasly, Folks…..

An awful long time has elapsed since the media began frenetically covering the uprising in Syria—long enough for more truth to have emerged by now.

At WhoWhatWhy, we’ve had our suspicions that pressworld was getting it wrong (as usual)—but held off from any serious analysis to see what else might come out. A development the other day seemed to mark the right moment to weigh in.

Here’s the New York Times:

Three gunmen ambushed a military general on a residential View article …

Syria: We Can Learn a Lot From the “Small Stuff”

Every now and then, Syria jumps into the headlines, and our consciousness. Even then, it’s easy to forget the big picture: that the United States government and its allies are waging, through surrogates, a war designed to overthrow an existing government.

One of the reasons we forget is that the news media does such a terrible job of providing context. Here are a few contextual aspects we’ve collected over the past few weeks:

Who Caused the Crime?

The New York Times View article …

Donald Trump

Disinformation on Syria: Collection of WhoWhatWhy Exposés

Was Bashar al-Assad behind the recent poisonous gas attacks on his own people in Khan Sheikhoun, a town in the rebel stronghold of Idlib province?


Assad claims that on April 4, the Syrian army bombed a rebel-controlled warehouse that contained chemical weapons. The rebels deny it. And the Syrian regime denies targeting the rebels — but makes a very unconvincing case.


The area was bombed again on April 8, but it is not yet clear where the planes involved in this strike came from. The runway at the Shayrat airbase hit by US missiles on April 7 View article …


Is Turkey about to Test Trump with New Syria Attack?

Just when US-backed and Kurdish-led forces have encircled the Syrian capital of ISIS, Raqqa, a threatened Turkish invasion could undermine the war against the terror group. Even without meddling from the country that hosts NATO’s second-largest army, the United States is facing formidable odds in trying to pacify areas liberated from ISIS. Turkey’s new incursion, directed against the Kurds, could turn Syria into another Middle Eastern quagmire for the US.


Amid an exchange of apocalyptic threats with North Korea, a deepening military involvement in the Middle East, a spat with Russia and worsening relations with the European View article …

Doubts About Who Is Using Chemical Weapons in Syria


The Obama administration and allies claim, with near certainty, that Bashar al-Assad has used lethal gas on his population.  But no credible evidence has emerged to confirm this. Conversely, as the West pushes for approval to bomb the Assad regime, some evidence suggests it may instead be the rebels who are using chemical weapons against other rebels—an extension of ongoing ethnic/religious battles being fought with what one UN inspector characterized as “almost medieval savagery.”

Perhaps both regime and rebels are using chemical weapons. Whatever the reality, these uncertainties must View article …

Connecting the dots on Syria: Fooling Enough of the People Enough of the Time…

There once was a country where the leaders enjoyed playing tricks on the public, and could always count on its friends in the “media” to play along. The joke was to tell the public the same old lie again and again, and see if anyone ever stood up to protest. The government knew that the public would put up with almost anything unless it involved pulling away the plate in front of them or shutting off their television.

Short of that, they would tolerate anything—while ignoring warnings that they were View article …

Confused by the Bloody War in Syria? Here’s the WhoWhatWhy.

ISTANBUL — The announcement late Thursday of an agreement on a “cessation of hostilities” between the Syrian government and rebels confused many people, including some of the diplomats who negotiated and  told the BBC anonymously that “it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on.”


The confusion is understandable, as there has been a lot of spin on Syria, and the narrative has shifted spectacularly several times since the Russian operation started there in late September of last year. At first, the official line in the West was that Russia had plunged itself into a quagmire that could View article …

Syria: The Dangers of One-Sided Reporting

The news out of Syria gets more and more appalling. But so does the quality of the journalism. Here’s an example, from the BBC dated May 26:

At least 90 people, including many children, have been killed in Syria’s restive Homs province, opposition activists say, calling it a “massacre”.

They said scores were wounded in the violence in Houla, as government forces shelled and attacked the town.

Shocking footage has emerged of the bodies of children killed as part of one the bloodiest attacks View article …

Turkish army, Kurds, Syria

Erdogan Risks Syria Becoming Turkey’s ‘Vietnam’

Turkey has now embarked on its grand plan of taking over northern Syria, crushing a fragile experiment in radical democracy that US allies have been building there and resettling the area with refugees. But the Turkish invasion is likely to backfire, experts say, with US enemies ranging from ISIS to Russia, Iran, and the Syrian regime standing to gain the most.


Syria is already a quagmire that would bring headache to any occupier — a major reason why President Donald Trump decided to pull US troops View article …

Vladimir Putin, John Kerry, Barack Obama

Experts: Syrian ‘Black Hole’ Deepens As US Election Approaches

As the Syrian army advances on shattered East Aleppo and US Secretary of State John Kerry struggles to find his footing against the Russians, Western media is ripe with speculation that the offensive is timed to the US election.

As The New York Times put it, “The strategy of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, say, is to move aggressively in what he sees as a prime window of opportunity — the four months between now and the 2017 presidential inauguration — when Mr. Putin calculates that the departing President Obama will be View article …

Turkish, attack, Ras al-Ayn

A Firsthand View of Syria, Turkey, and the Middle East

We’ve all heard the admonishment that the best way to understand a place is to go there. Our guest on this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, journalist and broadcaster Charles Glass, takes that very seriously. 


As a television reporter, he covered the civil war in Lebanon in 1973 and has since been on the scene for most major events in the Middle East, the Balkans, Southeast Asia, and the Mediterranean.


Talking to Jeff Schechtman from Italy, where we can hear the sound of church bells in the background, Glass explains the anti-US and View article …