On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he ordered missile strikes on Syria in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack on Douma, a city near Damascus, live on television. Shortly after the announcement the missile strikes began.
The U.S., along with French and British forces, launched 105 missiles into Syria, "successfully" hitting all three targets. Russia's defense ministry reported the following day that the majority of the missiles were intercepted by Syria's air defense system. Nevertheless, the U.S. continues to boast that their mission was accomplished.
Coincidentally, American cable news journalist, Pearson Sharp, found himself in Damascus during the strike.
The following day he teased his followers with a selfie taken in an airport.
Sharp's plan was made public on Facebook on April 13th with screenshots of his post, announcing his arrival in Syria, quickly making the rounds on Twitter. The One America News Network (OAN) journalist traveled directly to Syria in response to the reports of a chemical weapons attack to investigate what other journalists seemingly refuse to.
Sharp got right down to business on his first day in Damascus. According to an OANN report and Twitter, the journalist visited local hot spots where he spoke with and filmed everyday Syrian citizens about their lives in Damascus, gathering feedback on President Bashar al-Assad.
On the night of April 13th, the situation in Damascus took an unexpected turn.
From his hotel on the outskirts of Damascus, Sharp heard explosions which he attributed to terrorists firing on the Syrian Arab Army nearby. Only one hour later did Sharp begin to realize the reality of the situation when he tweeted that the explosions were "not mortars, but missile strikes from the US."
Less than one hour later, Sharp tweeted an image of Syria's air defense system engaged in protecting Damascus and the surrounding area.
The following morning Sharp witnessed what few see in the West - Syrians were celebrating in the streets. While U.S. corporate media celebrates the strike's "success," Syrians were celebrating "their victory in shooting down American missiles."
Despite the U.S.' active engagement in hostilities, Syrians Sharp encountered were welcoming and hospitable, going so far as to say "Welcome! We still love you." - a stark contrast to the opinions of Syrians held by many Americans, for which Trump deserves some credit.
The following morning, OAN released an exclusive report. As expected from his tweets, Pearson Sharp takes his audience through Damascus but he first includes an important side note after describing an understandably tight border:
"... but they do let journalists into the country. So I was able to get a visa and the reports from other western journalists, I don't know what they're saying when they say they can't get into the country. Obviously you can."
After sharing the planned report, Sharp is interviewed and describes his personal experience of the U.S. strike on Syria, including interactions with Syrians who have experienced U.S. aggression on their country for the past seven years. Watch the report below.
Sharp spent the following days traveling and interviewing locals in Douma, a suburb of Damascus. With the original intent of his trip being to investigate the alleged chemical in the city.
What Sharp found is like nothing before seen on Western corporate media.
OAN's bombshell exclusive report shows, in effect, the exact opposite of what Americans see in Western media. Not only was Sharp unable to find a single resident in Douma who witnessed, heart, or knew about the chemical attack, he was unable to find any physical evidence whatsoever. Not only did residents of Douma assert that there was no chemical attack, they went so far as to say it was staged by the rebels as a last ditch effort to get the Syrian Army off their backs in order to make their escape from the besieged town.
While OAN's initial reporting does not contain video or audio interviews, Sharp recently tweeted that interviews are forthcoming.
Much can be gleaned from Pearson Sharp's reporting from OAN, most notably that at the very same time Sharp, with a government escort, is able to easily enter Douma for his investigation, mixed messages are being sent about The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons's (OPCW) access to the area.
Investigators from the OPCW arrived in Syria on Friday, not long before the U.S. strikes began. Mainstream sources are reporting that both "Syrian and Russian officials blocked efforts to reach the site where rebels claim government forces unleashed chemical weapons against civilians" despite Sharp's ease of access to the area. Headlines from USA Today and The New York Times leave little room for other possibilities.
Russia and Syria both deny blocking the investigators. According to Reuters, The Kremlin has said "that British allegations chemical weapons inspectors were not being allowed access to Syria's Douma were groundless, adding Russia has consistently supported an investigation into the suspected gas attack."
These same mainstream sources do admit that "Syrian and the Russian officials informed the team that "pending security issues" needed to be worked out before the group went to Douma." "Security issues" should not be out of the question in a city that was recently rebel-held and affected by nearby bombing by the U.S. It shouldn't be far fetched to assume that the U.S. strikes may have delayed the OPCW investigation for at least a day or two.
Meanwhile, the U.S. appears to be laying the groundwork for combating the OPCW report if it does not go their way with reports already surfacing suggesting that Russia and Syria may have tampered with the evidence.
Thankfully, journalists like Pearson Sharp and Robert Fisk, who visited the clinic at the center of the crisis, are on the ground in Syria and unafraid to report the truth of what they see with their own eyes. These eyewitness accounts must be viewed in concert with reports from outlets like Sky News and CNN, where a reporter humorously smelled chemical weapons on clothing, and the guy who wants to buy Trump a beer.
Clearly at least one player in this game is lying and it is on each one of us to decide who that is. Not because mainstream media or independent media tells you so, but because you were able to deduce a conclusion on your own.
Not only did Russia predict this exact series of events one month ago, both Russia and Syria have been more than willing to allow an investigation to proceed (a resolution that was blocked by the U.N.), with Russia clearly communicating to the international community that they do, in fact, have evidence of who organized the alleged chemical attack.
Meanwhile, the U.S. illegally bombed Syria, a sovereign country, just as the OPCW investigation was set to begin before France released a report placing blame for the chemical attack on Assad. The U.S. then had the gall to retroactively ask the U.N. to support the attacks.
The conflict in Syria, its history and current plight, is not as straightforward as you were led to believe.
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