Al-Arabiya write about my recent visit to Syria

English translation of the article:

The British researcher Jonathan Spyer  managed to obtain an entry visa to the areas under the control of the Assad regime last April. This was within the framework of  a delegation of foreign supporters of Assad, as Spyer described in  a detailed report on his website on the 9th of May. He wrote a report upon his coming back from Syria and posted also on his Facebook page on the same date.

The British researcher conveyed a surprising incident in his report when he revealed an incident with a Russian journalist (whose name he didn’t mention) who threatened a member of the delegation with a pistol. Spyer said the authorities could do nothing with this “drunken” Russian journalist who was threatening with his weapon a member of the foreign delegation that was visiting the country. Spyer wrote that this is because the man was Russian and because “the Assad regime’s servants do not enjoy unquestioned sovereignty even in their own capital.” In the final paragraph of the report, Spyer contended that “today the regime is a hollow structure.”

Spyer ridiculed the slogan “Aleppo is in our eyes,” which he put as the background of his Facebook account and which is used by the Assad regime. He explained that it is intended to mean that Aleppo is under the observation of the Syrian regime and its tight surveillance and monitoring.  The journalist  had already entered Syria beforehand but to the areas under control of the Syrian opposition as mentioned in his report.

The report that the British journalist has produced does not agree with the whims of the regime’s propagandists. He surprised them, discarding Assad’s image that they are constantly trying to wave contrary to the reality. After the official reception, he was given facilities that could tempt any investigative journalist who strives to see the real situation closely. Afterwards he surprised them with an article about his visit titled, “Assad’s Hollow Crown.” In the article, Spyer disclosed the control of Iran and its affiliated militias and Russian forces over all circumstances of life [mafasil al-hayat, joints or details of the life]. [He showed] the Assad regime’s existence has become to an extent a facade, and summed this up in a memorable way by referring to Assad’s “hollow crown”–that is, a nominal power hollow and empty of content.

One of the amenities [facilities, ighra’at means literally “bait” to seduce] that the Syrian regime gave him was the permission to meet officers of the Assad army and cite their declarations as well as those of the Minister of Information Muhammad Ramez Tarjuman. The latter is now under fire from Assad’s propagandists. The British journalist  mentioned that the preparations for his trip to Syria were carried out in coordination with the Ministry of Information of the Regime. The latter appointed a representative to the delegation who accompanied it on its every step.

Spyer met with the regime minister for reconciliation Ali Haydar and published a picture of the encounter in which one can see also other members of the delegation that visited Syria in areas under Assad’s control. It is worth mentioning that the media affiliated with Hizballah militia depict Jonathan Spyer as an “Israeli journalist,” whereas some Arabic sources insist on calling him “a British journalist.” Spyer lives in Israel, and he is a researcher at the Global Research in International Affairs [Center] known as GLORIA.

Journalists of the Syrian regime channel demanded an immediate investigation with regard to “Jonathan Spyer’s entry and the interview that the state minister for national reconciliation gave him.” All this after the researcher had published an expanded report about his visit to the areas in Syria that are under the regime control and with its official accord.

TV repórter Reza al-Basha was suspended from the work on Syrian territories on the order of the Ministry of Information after he had revealed that the  Assad army and its affiliated militias stole from deserted dwellings of Allepo residents.  Reza al-Basha posted on his Facebook page that the Assad regime let “a Zionist” enter in the name of journalism, whereas it forbids entry to those who love Syria.

Doctor Akram Umran who runs a Facebook page, “Syria: corruption at the era of reform” (Surya: fasad fi zaman al-islah) has done the same: He threatened to investigate on his private Facebook page everyone who has contributed to the visit of the aforementioned journalist to Syria.

About jonathanspyer

Jonathan Spyer is a Middle East analyst, author and journalist specializing in the areas of Israel, Syria and broader issues of regional strategy. He is the director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and analysis (MECRA), a research fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for strategy and Security (JISS) and a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
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