Is Assad really a “brutal dictator” who oppresses the Syrian people, as he is portrayed in the West? Is he responsible for the alleged April 7 chemical attack on innocent civilians?
To find out, Pearson Sharp, from One American News (OAN), arrived in Damascus on April 13 and wandered the streets to hear what the Syrian people had to say about the situation. On what turned out to be the eve of the French, UK and US missile strike on Syria as punishment – without evidence – for Assad’s alleged guilt in ignoring western “red lines” and staging another chemical attack, he found the streets and cafes full of people having a good time.
“Everyone I’ve spoken with loves President Assad and think he’s doing a wonderful job,” Sharp reported, adding that the Syrians are proud of their country and President Assad. One group he spoke with were relieved he was showing Syria’s side of the story.
While some Syrians said they loved Americans, they want to get along and work together with America to resolve the issues between them, and don’t understand why America is bombing them. When someone said, “God bless America” at the conclusion of their interview, Pearson Sharp was taken aback and called it a “pretty strong sentiment for a country that keeps bombing them.” However others told him they are “tired of living under the gun.”
Sharp rebuffed the lie that it was not possible to gain access to Syria, or the site where the alleged chemical attack took place. He said that while border control is very strict, he was able to gain easy access to the area where the White Helmets (who receive funding from the US, UK, and some NATO states ) claimed the chemical attack occurred. At the hospital in Douma (a suburb of Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus), where the White Helmets filmed the aftermath of the ‘gas attack’, he interviewed doctors who told him that there was no chemical attack, and in fact, no one died on April 7.
Sharp asked numerous Douma residents, at random, about the alleged chemical attack on April 7 and no one had heard or knew anything about it. One man, who was fifty meters away from the ‘attack’ when it supposedly happened, said he heard or saw nothing out of the ordinary. When Sharp asked then what they thought the ‘chemical attack’ was, all of them told him that it “was staged by the rebels who were occupying the town at that time.” It was a fabrication, a hoax, they said. When Sharp asked them why, the residents told him it was because the rebels were desperate and needed a ploy to help get the Syrian Army off their backs so they could escape.
Pearson Sharp’s report is backed up by Robert Fisk, an author and award-winning journalist who has reported on the Middle East since 1976 and who wrote The Great War for Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East (2005). Fisk also had no problem gaining access to Douma, and walked about freely. When he found the hospital where the alleged chemical attack was filmed, he interviewed Dr Rahaibani, a senior Syrian doctor, in what he called the “weird geology of this partly-underground city.” Speaking in English, Dr Rahaibani told him:
“I was with my family in the basement of my home three hundred metres from here on the night but all the doctors know what happened. There was a lot of shelling [by government forces] and aircraft were always over Douma at night – but on this night, there was wind and huge dust clouds began to come into the basements and cellars where people lived. People began to arrive here suffering from hypoxia, oxygen loss. Then someone at the door, a “White Helmet”, shouted “Gas!”, and a panic began. People started throwing water over each other. Yes, the video was filmed here, it is genuine, but what you see are people suffering from hypoxia – not gas poisoning.”
Robert Fisk found many people amid the ruins in Douma who said “they had ‘never believed in’ gas stories – which were usually put about, they claimed, by the armed Islamist groups.” 
This is the second time a ‘chemical attack’ story was told from ‘rebel’ held Eastern Ghouta, and with graphic photos to ‘prove’ that many children died. The first story was about a ‘sarin attack’ that occurred on 21 August 2013, after which Obama threatened a military strike against Syria for crossing his “red line.” The strike was averted at the last minute by a Russian-brokered deal to destroy all of Syria’s chemical weapons.
However, what is interesting about the 2013 ‘sarin attack’ is that the name Porton Down (now synonymous with the recent Skripal poisoning), also featured in this story, and was instrumental in causing Obama to back down from the threatened military strike against Syria. Seymour Hersh exposed why:
“Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria’s infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.” 
So, why are chemical attacks blaming Assad coming from Eastern Ghouta? The Saudi Arabian-funded group, Jaysh al-Islam (the Army of Islam), who want to replace Assad with an Islamic State, have held Eastern Ghouta hostage for several years. Rania Khalek, an American journalist, writer and political commentator based in the Middle East, describes them as “extremely sectarian and just as nasty in its rhetoric, tactics and goals as IS.” 
Stories now coming from the residents of Eastern Ghouta reveal that Jaysh al-Islam held them hostage and forced them to dig tunnels that ran for miles beneath the city, big enough for vans to drive through to access the many weapons storage facilities also built there. Other civilians were used as human shields during the fighting. Many residents were imprisoned, killed, or denied food for refusing to comply with the terrorist’s demands.
As Robert Roth noted:
“The character of the armed conflict has always been between an authoritarian but pluralist and socially inclusive state, and Saudi-style sectarian Islamists, acting as proxy armies for the big powers.” 
The terrorists holed up in Eastern Ghouta were well aware that chemical attacks are a “red line” for the US and France, and staged one because of their imminent defeat by the Syrian Army. While they hoped to bring in the ‘big guns’ to make good their escape, this time their ploy failed and they were bused out of Eastern Ghouta by the Russians – along with their White Helmet friends who chose to go with them.
See references below.
Tulsi Gabbard, 24 January 2017
As much of Washington prepared for the inauguration of President Donald Trump, I spent last week on a fact-finding mission in Syria and Lebanon to see and hear directly from the Syrian people. Their lives have been consumed by a horrific war that has killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians and forced millions to flee their homeland in search of peace.
It is clear now more than ever: this regime change war does not serve America’s interest, and it certainly isn’t in the interest of the Syrian people.
Ann Wright, Consortium News, 21 April 2018
Reporter and author Max Blumenthal has tracked the role of the White Helmets in the Syrian conflict. He reported that the White Helmets were created in Turkey by James Le Mesurier, a former British MI5 agent. The group has received at least $55 million from the British Foreign Office and $23 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development as well as millions from the Kingdom of Qatar, which has backed a variety of extremist groups in Syria including Al Qaeda.
Seymour Hersh, 19 December 2013
Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts.
Seymour M. Hersh on US intelligence sharing in the Syrian war
Barack Obama’s repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office – and that there are ‘moderate’ rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him – has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. Their criticism has focused on what they see as the administration’s fixation on Assad’s primary ally, Vladimir Putin. In their view, Obama is captive to Cold War thinking about Russia and China, and hasn’t adjusted his stance on Syria to the fact both countries share Washington’s anxiety about the spread of terrorism in and beyond Syria; like Washington, they believe that Islamic State must be stopped.
 RT (2016) ‘We don’t hide it’: White Helmets openly admit being funded by Western govts, 19 October 2016, online: https://www.rt.com/news/363363-white-helmets-funded-west/
 Fisk, Robert (2018) The search for truth in the rubble of Douma – and one doctor’s doubts over the chemical attack, The Independent, 16 April 2018, online: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-chemical-attack-gas-douma-robert-fisk-ghouta-damascus-a8307726.html
 Hersh, Symour M. (2014) The Red Line and the Rat Line: Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels, London Review of Books, Vol. 36 No. 8 · 17 April 2014 , online: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line
 Khalek, Rania (2018) Syria War: What the Mainstream Media Isn’t Telling You About Eastern Ghouta, RT, 5 March 2018, online: https://www.rt.com/op-ed/420521-syria-eastern-ghouta-aleppo-media/
 Roth, Robert (2018) What’s Really Happening in Syria: Who Started the War, Who Can You Trust to Tell the Truth? A Consumer Fraud Laywer’s Mini-Primer, Global Research, 2 January 2017, online: https://www.globalresearch.ca/whats-really-happening-in-syria-who-started-the-war-who-can-you-trust-to-tell-the-truth/5570297