— The Erimtan Angle —

The timely release of a “huge cache of evidence smuggled out of the country showing the ‘systematic killing’ of about 11,000 detainees, according to three eminent international lawyers” prior to the start of the Geneva 2 Conference was apparently meant to set the tone, if not to intimidate Assad’s delegation outright.[1]  The Guardian‘s Ian Black states that the “defector [who secured the ‘ huge cache of evidence ‘], who for security reasons is identified only as Caesar, was a photographer with the Syrian military police. He smuggled the images out of the country on memory sticks to a contact in the Syrian National Movement, which is supported by the Gulf state of Qatar. Qatar, which has financed and armed rebel groups, has called for the overthrow of Assad and demanded his prosecution. The 31-page report, which was commissioned by a leading firm of London solicitors acting for Qatar, is being made available to the UN, governments and human rights groups”, adding insightfully that its “publication appears deliberately timed to coincide with this week’s UN-organised Geneva II peace conference, which is designed to negotiate a way out of the Syrian crisis by creating a transitional government”.[2]

The veracity of the photographic evidence could not really be satisfactorily proven and the report was prepared for Carter-Ruck and Co.Solicitors of London, a firm which specialises in media and international law as well as in commercial litigation. The firm declares on its website that ‘Carter-Ruck’s clients are drawn from all over the world. Many are high profile individuals, including heads of state, heads of government and other senior politicians and diplomats, leading business people and celebrities and other prominent figures in the fields of entertainment, media and sport. The firm also represents sovereign states, government ministries, regulatory bodies, academic institutions, charities, multinational corporations and companies of every size. Media clients encompass the whole industry, including newspaper, magazine and book publishers, broadcasting organisations and online publishers’.[3]  In this case Qatari money paid for Carter-Ruck’s services in the propaganda war against Bash al-Assad. Still, the Guardian‘s Jonathan Freedland manages to write that the “source of this evidence is hard to fault: a former photographer for the Syrian regime who has since defected [, in other words, a man known only as Caesar]. The report’s authors, who interviewed the source for three days, have no obvious axe to grind and are eminently credible: they served as prosecutors at the criminal tribunals on Sierra Leone [and] the former Yugoslavia. Those facts will surely offset any misgivings over the report’s origins: it was commissioned and funded by the government of Qatar, a player in the Syrian conflict on the anti-government side. The evidence is too overwhelming, and the reputations of those who have assessed it too strong, for this report to be dismissed as Qatari propaganda (though some will try)”.[4]

Nevertheless, as reported by the Azeri-Press Agency (APA), ‘[a]ddressing the Geneva-2 Peace Conference, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem accused the Turkish government of betraying Syria and supporting terrorists in Syria. According to him, if Syria ha[d] a neighboring ally, bloodshed would have never happened in this country: “At the time when Syria was in need of help, it [received a] blow [from] its neighbors, or these countries kept silence. [The] Erdogan government is to blame for all this. This government let terrorists enter its territories and is training them for fighting in Syria”. Walid Muallem also blamed some [other] participating countries in financing terrorists: “Some countries trying to change the regional situation are financing Wahhabis. But it can not stop the bloodshed in Syria”’.[v]  Iran’s Press TV, for its part, adds that ‘Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has expressed regret that some countries attending the meeting have the blood of Syrian people on their hands. Muallem also said, the terrorists are killing civilians under the slogan of Syria revolution. He emphasized that those who claim to represent Syrian people must stop acting as a puppet at the hand of foreign powers. The Syrian top diplomat also urged international community to stop pouring of arms into Syria. Muallem blamed some Syrian neighbors for what he called backstabbing Syria, warning that terrorism will not remain in Syria and will spread across the region. He also criticized the US for boasting of being a democracy but speaking with the language of terror and aggression’.


[1] Ian Black, “Syrian regime document trove shows evidence of ‘industrial scale’ killing of detainees” The Guardian (21 Jan 2014). http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/20/evidence-industrial-scale-killing-syria-war-crimes.

[2] Ian Black, “Syrian regime document trove shows evidence of ‘industrial scale’ killing of detainees”.

[3] ” Our Clients” Carter-Ruck. http://www.carter-ruck.com/Our%20Clients/.

[4] Jonathan Freedland, “Can evidence of mass killings in Syria end the inertia? Only with Putin’s help” The Guardian  (21 Jan 2014). http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/21/evidence-mass-murder-syria-end-inertia-putin?CMP=twt_gu&commentpage=1.

[5] “Walid Muallem: “The Turkish government has betrayed Syria and is financing terrorists”” APA (22 Jan 2014). http://en.apa.az/news/205958.

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