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Chris Slee, commenting on my claim that "Of course there was no use of "chlorine or cluster bombs" by any rebels in this report (and the entirely false accusation in a previous Amnesty report that chlorine was sued against Sheikh Maqsud was based on one photo with some yellow dye smudged on it)", quotes the Amnesty report: "There are also **allegations** that members of armed groups attacking Sheikh Maqsoud **may have** used chemical weapons. A local doctor told Amnesty International that on 7 and 8 April he treated six civilians and two YPG fighters for symptoms including shortness of breath, numbness, red eyes and severe coughing fits. Several of the victims, he said, reported seeing yellow smoke as missiles impacted. A toxicologist consulted by Amnesty International, who viewed video-clips of the apparent attack and reviewed the doctor’s testimony, said the patients’ symptoms **could be** the effects of a chlorine attack. A subsequent statement purportedly issued by the leader of the Army of Islam armed group said that a field commander had deployed an **“unauthorised weapon”** on Sheikh Maqsoud and that he would be held to account".

Not sure that the only cause of “shortness of breath, numbness, red eyes and severe coughing fits” is the use of chemical weapons. Lots of “may”, “could” etc in this report for very good reason. Ask the residents of Ghouta about effects of chemicals.

The trouble with the bit about a Jaysh Islam leader disciplining a northern field commander (JI is almost entirely a Damascus-based group) for use of “weapons not authorized for use in these types of confrontations” is that JI specified it was referring to “modified Grad rockets, not chlorine: https://twitter.com/islamalloush0/status/718121743949414403. The PYD folk who continue to use this unclear statement to assume he meant chemical weapons know very well about this clarification, but just use it anyway. Well, everyone lies in war, I suppose. I will be referring to Chris’ important points about JI sectarianism in a longer post about the nature of revolution.

Nick Fredman chose not to respond to my post about how laughable it was for him to put regime crimes and rebel crimes on a par, instead simply repeating points I had shown were wrong. Rather he writes:

“The idea that the abuses documented in this report by the PYD-led movement and the rebels are comparable is laughable. The former is accused by not looking after everyone properly it moves for military reasons, of conscription — without mentioning the YPG/J are volunteer forces and conscripts are strictly adults who only serve in the civil defence HXP —
and the abuse of one young man who refused conscription.”

The report that I read, just for this most recent period, included the continued prevention of return of substantial numbers after the Minbij offensive last year, but even more seriously, from Suluk, which the YPG took over, and violently expelled the inhabitant, in May 2015; the expellees living under “dire humanitarian conditions” who did not receive the necessary assistance (the part Nick will admit); the demolition of houses of expellees, pillaging of their property and cutting down their olive trees (rings a bell); further confiscation of computers and telephones from residences, “in addition to burning down some individuals’ properties” during the sacking of Aleppo; expulsion of residents of Heisha where they were “ordered to leave the area by SDF troops, some of whom went house to house demanding that civilians leave on threat of punishment” and who “continue to live in dire conditions, lacking even basic necessities;” the forcible conscription of child soldiers (despite Nick’s assurances that the YPG/SDF doesn’t do this – we should believe only what we want of the report presumably); the torture of one 17-year old who refused this non-existent conscription (Nick says “abuse” while the report says the minor was “both physically and psychologically tortured during interrogation, while blindfolded”); and the imprisonment of other “boys aged 13 to 17 years.”

Dress it up how you like Nick. It sounds qualitatively similar to rebel crimes. Yet Nick writes: “Rebels — with the worst being Jabhat Fatah al-Sham but others implicated as well — are
accused of widespread indiscriminate attacks on civilians”

Yes, I made the point that this is widely condemned by revolutionary circles, but this is “shooting back” from the bombed, besieged, starved ghettos under daily aerial massacre by Assad and Russia, something the YPG/SDF doesn’t have to deal with, and so yes of course armies do shoot back, and often miss due to the rebels’ pathetic quality of home-made weaponry. That is if you want to talk about “context” Nick. But as I also pointed out, even given this context, the YPG does exactly the same thing in its *offensive* (not just defensive as with the rebels) operations against ISIS, just that it is the US air-force that does it for them: as I said, the US bombed to death over 200 civilians to enable the YPG/SDF to seize Manbij from ISIS. Why is that different? As long as the imperialists are doing it for you, it is better?

“of conscription of child soldiers”
No, only JFS was accused of that. And, of course, YPG/SDF. No other rebels were accused of this. But Nick believes it about JFS (and by extension the rebels) but not about those he likes.

“of widespread summary execution of prisoners, and both JFS and Jund al-Sham are accused of setting up sharia courts in Idlib that regularly dispense arbitrary imprisonment, torture and execution.” As we saw, one case of alleged torture, ie, the same number as for YPG/SDF.

“E.g. in the period of this report, Liwa al-Aqsa executed 128 prisoners in one brutal job lot” Wow Nick, you couldn’t care less could you. As I explained, these 128 executed fighters were themselves *FSA rebels*, they were the fucking victims, and they were murdered by Liwa al-Aqsa gangs, who are linked to ISIS! As I noted, it is somewhat mistaken for the UN report to lump the crimes *against rebels* carried out by an *ISIS-linked* group in the category of “rebel crimes” rather than ISIS crimes, but I guess Nick wouldn’t mind if some ISIS massacre of 128 SDF fighters by ISIS was put under “SDF crimes” and people quoited it as evidence of the SDF carried out widespread “summary executions”, even after clarification.

“and JFS stoned to death a women for adultery in Heish village in Idlib, and shot the man allegedly involved. Let's let the stoning to death of a woman and the shooting of a man for adultery sink in for a minute. Some revolution.” Yes, that is what we mean by the revolution of course Nick. A single reported individual crime by JFS, in some village where they have the control no doubt, that occurred nowhere else in any rebel-controlled territory, and despite the fact that the rebels continually battle JFS, and that the report itself separates JFS crimes from rebel crimes; despite all that, we can summarise not only rebel crimes, but *the entire revolution*, on the basis of a single act of savagery by JFS. But I’ll deal with that separately in the other post I mentioned above.

Just for now, let’s see what other rebel crimes the report mentioned:
“During the reporting period, Syrian men and women expressed their desire to begin sharing control over local governance with armed groups on an array of matters relating to daily life. Residents in Kafr Nbuda, northern Hama, for example, quarrelled with members of Ahrar al-Sham over local governance mechanisms in an attempt to obtain more rights and autonomy through power-sharing. A number of civilians further staged demonstrations during the period under review throughout both localities, with some calling for the withdrawal of armed groups who they increasingly view as imposing rules inconsistent with the needs of the civilian population.” I realise that Ahrar and other brigades didn’t arrest, torture or shoot those "quarrelling and demonstrating," but no doubt a few gave dirty looks or quarrelled back loudly.

John O’Brien:
“If one wants to believe that al-Qaeda's supporters in Syria (al-Nusra, etc.) and ISIS and other such jihadi fanatics would not use indiscriminate bombing as Bashir al-Assad, is ignoring reality … Are you stating - that the U. S. military - could be of actual help? Thus ignoring the purpose of the U. S. military - which is to harm those opposed to capitalist rule?” No idea who said either that the US military could be of any use, or who said that al-Qaida or ISIS are good guys, but genuinely confused about how these two sentences could be part of the same argument. Aside from the fact that neither “al-Qaida” (I assume John means the ex-Qaida JFS) nor ISIS have even the remotest possibility of coming to power; and the fact that ISIS in particular is relentlessly hostile to the rebels who have fought it back more than anyone has; surely John is aware that the US military in Syria has the following main roles:
1.    Bombing ISIS
2. Bombing JFS, in collaboration with Assad and Russia, especially in Idlib and west Aleppo (I assume you saw the 57 worshippers the US just murdered in a mosque when it claimed to be bombing “al-Qaida terrorists”, a claim backed by its Russian allies, and sounding a lot like some commenters here …)
3.    Supporting military offensives by the YPG/SDF against ISIS
4. Supporting Assad’s clashes with ISIS in Deir Ezzor and Palmyra regions (I assume you saw the widely reported US-Russian-Assad-Iranian collaboration in the latest reconquest of Palmyra).
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