Our interviewee, Giorgio Bianchi is a professional journalist and photographer from Italy. It just so happened, that he personally visited the major hot spots of today — in the Donbass and Syria. At the moment when this material comes out, he will still be in the Middle East.
The editors of the “New Land” decided that to ignore such an opportunity and such a person is simply impossible. So we sent him our questions and offer the reader the answers that were sent by our colleague and comrade.

— What were your views on the situation in Syria before you went there? Whether they match with reality now, when you yourself are in a conflict zone?

— Giorgio Bianchi: Looking at the situation in Syria from my own country, Italy, it is still something to look through bend spectacles. Western media present the crisis in Syria as a revolution made by citizens, wishing to obtain more democracy.

For example, all publications have told that at one point the Syrian army started shooting at protesters. During my stay in Damascus and other Syrian cities, I spoke with many people, most of who are witnesses to these facts, and they all told me that in any case, and the soldiers were entitled to open fire on defeat. Two weeks ago, I met an officer by the name of Fadi, who was seriously wounded by a grenade, thrown by protesters during clashes: he said that in that day many of his colleagues were killed and injured.

I was a witness of the events on Kiev’s Maidan in February 2014, and I can say that something similar happened there. For many days I was able to observe how the Riot police stood in front of the protesters, protecting the Parliament and did not respond to the provocations of nationalists, but sometimes they went over to the offensive to oust them from the building of Rada. Then among the protesters there were groups of well-equipped and trained people, who have thrown into the “Berkut” and internal troops the stones, “Molotov cocktails”, sometimes fired from a firearm. In my eyes, one soldier was seriously wounded from firearms, but his colleagues wouldn’t let me take pictures of him lying on the ground.

— What are people saying about the situation in Syria, the media in general in Europe and in Italy in particular?

— Giorgio Bianchi: People in Syria are in shock from the double standards, from how foreign media refer to the Syrian crisis. On the one hand, we have the Syrian army, backed by Russian aviation, which is trying to recapture the Eastern part of Aleppo still held by the so-called “moderate rebels”. While all the Western media every day say about losses, obtained after the air strikes, but they “don’t remember” that humanitarian corridors were opened to allow civilians to leave Eastern Aleppo. They don’t say that the rebels shoot at the people, who are trying to leave the city or require for this a cash award in the amount of about $ 400 per person.

On the other hand we have the so-called “coalition” led by the United States, which is trying to recapture Mosul. In this case, the Western media say that civilians are used as human shields by ISIS in order to blame the deaths of civilians those who fight against caliphates. In the same way, Syrian soldiers are always imagine how “brutal murderers of their citizens”, while the fighters of the rebel special forces or “Iraqi Golden brigade” appear as heroes.
The West does not understand that the majority of Syria’s population does not care the labels, hang by the press. According to them, the ISIS and rebel-jihadists are the same enemies for the stability and security of their country, who kill their sons, husbands and relatives.

A few days ago I had an interview with a local Catholic, who was kidnapped with his three sons, by ISIS and was in captivity for one year. When I asked him if he wants to say something to Western countries, he said to me: “Please stop your media, because they are killing our people more than the guns of terrorists!”

— What methods of warfare are used in Syria? Do you agree that in the Donbass and Syria is a war against the same enemy?

— Giorgio Bianchi: Of course in Syria and in the Donbass the enemy is the same. In my opinion, the US is using these seemingly different sceneries to destabilize the EU by non-stop flow of refugees and at the same time they’re trying to force the Russian Federation into a corner by economic sanctions and by loss of partnership with friendly countries.

— How many people in Syria who are not involved in armed conflict, and still remain in the country?

— Giorgio Bianchi: After six years of war, I see how the soldiers are tired, they are not always well-equipped, and most of them are very young. They are trained to fight in a conventional war, but the problem is that this is not a conventional war. The enemy is trying to hide in the cities, is interspersed with civilians, in most cases, do not support it, and in some cases they control important for the country civilian installations such as power stations and water pipes. For example, the militants had mined the water channels that lead the water to Damascus; last year they left the city for five days without water, the same thing is happening in Aleppo, and in the case of a large-scale offensive they are threatening to blow up the conduits.

The people in Syria love their country; they have a high level of education and don’t want to leave the country. Most Syrians remain in their country. Most cities are safe now and there is normal activity. I have met many people, who return to their home after went to other places for a long time. Of course, many civilians are still displaced in public places (I visited one in Tartous) and they live there with the support of the government and international NGOs. Also in the Western part of Aleppo, the situation is almost normal, and many people still live and work there.

— What is the real level of support for Bashar al-Assad by the people of Syria?

— Giorgio Bianchi: The majority of the population supports Bashar al-Assad and associates his figure with the integrity of the country. Although some claim that Bashar was too democratic, and from the outset did not affect the situation with the hardness that would be needed.

— Have you changed your attitude to the refugees after you visited Syria? In your opinion — are there any measures that could facilitate the situation of refugees in Europe?

— Giorgio Bianchi: It is the only measure that could facilitate the situation of refugees in Europe at any cost to prevent the destabilization of countries, bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Europe must play its role in the geopolitical situation in the Middle East, and should cease to receive instructions from the Americans, in cases that relate to its stability and security. We must not forget that our immigration crisis originated in the United States and that all refugees, who have flooded the EU, came from countries, affected by the Americans. If we add to this that they forced Europe to suspend cooperation with Russia, the picture will be complete. The EU must understand that Russia is not the enemy, and one of the most important partners at the regional and strategic levels.

Personally, I have no high expectations from the presidency of Trump, but I’m glad we avoided Hillary Clinton in this post because in this case we would have had the continuity of the policies of the last eight years.

Interviewed by Vitaly TRETYAKOV

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