Vanessa Beeley

Vanessa Beeley
25 Sep 2023 | 1:09 pm

1. Ukraine grain scandal and the myth of the wonder weapons

Zelensky watches his own speech at the UNGA.

The grain dispute between Poland and Ukraine is gathering fury. Poland and other neighbouring countries have extended the grain embargo on Ukraine despite the EU not extending the block.

After Zelensky insinuated at the UNGA that Poland was playing into Russia's hands after maintaining curbs on Ukrainian grain exports via Polish territory - the Polish government issued this statement:

"No one in the world has provided more generous help to Ukrainians than Poles. President Zelensky (Volodymyr Zelenskyy) should remember this. But the government in Warsaw is primarily concerned with taking care of Polish citizens, including farmers," Jacek Sasin, Minister of State Assets, said on X.

Kyiv and EU/NATO partners are trying limit the damage of the collapse of the Black Sea grain deal in July. Land routes are essential to reach world markets from Ukraine.

Poland, Hungary and Slovakia have refused to lift restrictions on the Ukrainian foodstuff trade within their borders in an effort to protect their domestic market and farmers who have suffered from a glut of cheap, poor quality Ukainian produce.

Zelenskyy told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday that it was "alarming to see how some in Europe ... are helping set the stage to a Moscow actor."

"I hope these words are not addressed to Poland," Polish government spokesman Piotr Muller told radio broadcaster RMF FM. "The name of our country was not mentioned there, so I would not like to perceive them that way."

"We are helping Ukraine militarily to defend itself — but also us — against Russia. However, in economic and agricultural matters, we must defend Polish interests," Muller added.

A previously planned meeting between Zelenskyy and Polish President Andrzej Duda did not take place at the UN on Tuesday.

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Poland is a leading provider of arms and diplomatic support to Ukraine in its war with Russia.

The country's ruling party, Law and Justice (PiS), is facing parliamentary elections on Oct. 15 and has vowed to protect farmers — one of the party's key voter groups — from cheaper inflows of Ukrainian grain.

Ukraine Leaks on Telegram have recently detailed the contaminants found in Ukrainian grain and with the supply of Depleted Uranium to the Kyiv regime and ultra-nationalist armed forces, the risk of contamination can only increase.

While some very exaggerated reports were circulating about the foreign investment in Ukrainian agricultural land - there is a very real threat from the GMO giants who are eyeing up the purchase of prime land in Ukraine for the future.

This article from GlobalIlManifesto details the moves by the EU to remove the moratorium on the foreign purchase of Ukrainian land:

Despite the moratorium on land sales to foreigners, by 2016, ten multinational agricultural corporations had already come to control 2.8 million hectares of land. Today, some estimates speak of 3.4 million hectares in the hands of foreign companies and Ukrainian companies with foreign funds as shareholders. Other estimates are as high as 6 million hectares. The moratorium on sales, which the US State Department, IMF and World Bank had repeatedly called to be removed, was finally repealed by the Zelensky government in 2020, ahead of a final referendum on the issue scheduled for 2024.

Among this long list, European companies particularly stand out, and the role of the EU is increasing, especially after the signing of the economic association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union that came into force in 2017. That agreement, denounced at the time by Russia as a backdoor to facilitating the entry of Western multinationals, includes the promotion of "modern agricultural production … including the use of biotechnologies," an apparent opening towards GMO crops on Ukrainian (non-EU) fields.

Furthermore, agribusiness development in Ukraine and Eastern Europe is part of the European Commission's strategic plan to boost "protein crops" and reconvert production in those regions to mainly soybean, for which meeting current EU needs is still largely dependent on imports from Argentina and Brazil.

My short report for UK Column News is below:

I also covered the pantomime created by the Ukrainian propaganda machine in which Zelensky can be seen watching his own speech (watch report for details).

A recent article for CNN by Keir Giles, contributor to the Russia and Eurasia Programme of Chatham House provides some important insight into the role of the UK in the proxy war against Russia:


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Vanessa Beeley
23 Sep 2023 | 2:31 pm

2. Assad and Xi summit heralds a new dawn in East and West Asia relations

The two Presidents sign multiple memorandums of understanding in Guangzhou and Beijing.

On Thursday 21st September President Assad and the First Lady, Asma Al Assad arrived at the Chinese city of Ghuangzhou as honoured guests of President Xi Jinping. The Chinese President had chartered a private plane to bring Assad and his wife to China for their first visit since 2004.

The Assad Xi summit began on a foggy, damp day in Ghuangzou but the warmth of the welcome was palpable. Many have spoken about the symbolism of the First Lady's outfit which was of the finest silk damask to honour the historical importance of the Silk Road now transformed into the Belt and Road Initiative that Syria joined officially in January 2022. It is rare these days that we see such a nod to history, culture and civilisation from Western leaders.

The Syrian delegation accompanying the President was a high level one - including Dr. Faisal Mikdad, Foreign Affairs Minister and long term advisor to the Presidency, Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban. The plan was to hold a summit meeting and a discussion session and a luncheon in honour of President Assad and Asma. Assad and the delegation would then travel to Beijing to meet with senior Chinese officials and to discuss future economic cooperation projects and to sign a number of bilateral agreements.

The two Presidents seal the future of the Belt and Road Initiative

Xi Jinping referred to the sixty seven years of Syrian-Chinese relations that have remained steadfast despite the ever changing international landscape. Syria is perceived as a strategic partner in the Belt and Road Initiative. Xi also supports Syria joining the Shanghai Organisation as a partner for dialogue.

China supports Syria's battle against hostile external interference, rejects the occupation of Syrian territory by illegal forces and urges the lifting of economic sanctions which unilaterally punish the Syrian people for resisting regime change since 2011.

President Xi also acknowledged Syrian support over US interference in Taiwan.

President Assad described China as an advanced and economically strong nation but one that has not lost its humanity unlike developed counterparts in the West.

Rather, according to Assad, China plays a major role in bringing balance to the global political sphere and in developing a win-win cooperation paradigm. Syria will remain a loyal friend of China because they are united in principles and vision for the region.

Assad reiterated support for 'One China' and supports initiatives proposed by Xi that envision a secure future for Humanity.

Assad confirmed the need to confront Western military power with the principles of soft power based on ethical trade and cooperation that China has adopted.

Assad considered this to be a historic visit, one that comes as a multipolar world is being created that will restore global equilibrium and stability.

Perhaps most importantly for the Syrian people, there were extensive discussions about the restoration and development of the electricity, oil and gas sectors in Syria that have been decimated by the 12 year proxy war and with the US still occupying the north-east oil-rich region of Syria.

President Al Assad and First Lady Asma Al Assad arrive for the welcome banquet in Ghangzhou and the opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Games.

History in the making

"China is a rising power, it is important. Most of the world has different kinds of relations with China whether in science, politics, economy, business - in every field you need China now. And our relationship for the future is going to be on the rise. It was good, but it will be better because when a country like China proves that it is a real friend, a friend you can rely on, it is very natural to have a better relationship on the popular level, not only on the formal level"

President Assad - March 2017

President Xi described China's role in the region at a meeting of the Arab League in 2016:

Instead of looking for a proxy in the Middle East, we promote peace. Instead of seeking any sphere of influence, we call on all parties to join the circle of friends for the Belt and Road initiative. Instead of attempting to fill the "vacuum" we are building a cooperative partnership network for win-win outcomes.

The Chinese Arab Policy paper published in 2016 is well worth reading. "Over two thousand years ago, land and maritime Silk Roads already linked the Chinese and Arab nations. The policy paper emphasises historic cooperation, peaceful relations and the openness of diverse civilizations to each other's perspectives. It seeks to build relations based on trust, regional peace, stability and mutually beneficial economic development.

In July 2018 President Xi gave a speech at the opening ceremony of the Eighth Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum. Xi proposed a road map that incorporated economic partnership and multi-dimensional cooperation in politics, culture and technology.

The future of trade ties between China and the Arab nations, including Syria. would be channelled through the BRI and the 1+2+3 system. The core of this pattern is hydrocarbon-based energy, its two branches are infrastructure construction and trade and investment facilitation. There is a third sector of development that includes new energy, nuclear energy and space exploration.

The BRI with its focus on developing infrastructure, open trade and connectivity between continents will be a major component of any Syrian strategy for reconstruction.

In August 2017 President Assad coined the phrase "Heading East" when he informed the Syrian foreign service to embark on a revision of Syria's international relations - the pivot East.

Syria and the Ancient Silk Road

Relations between East and West Asia span three millennia. The Ancient Silk Road was originally concentrated in two or three overland routes and one sea route. The most important began in the city of Chang'an, capital of Tang China, running through Central Asia to Persia and then into ancient Syria and the Arabian Peninsula reaching the cities of Palmyra and Petra in Syria and Jordan respectively.

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From Petra, the trade caravans would head to Alexandria in Egypt and then towards Rome. At a later stage Palmyra rather usurped Petra and dominated the trade scene. Palmyra is located at the centre of the Levant, the midpoint between Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean.

Crossing the Syrian desert was one of the shortest and most accessible of the Ancient Silk Road routes.

Palmyra developed into a quasi empire built on the riches acquired through the Silk Road trade until Roman imperial armies besieged, destroyed and looted the great Syrian city state in 273 AD bringing the Palmyrene Empire to an early demise.

Of course during the regime change war waged against Syria, the Western-backed ISIS terrorists looted, destroyed and besieged Palmyra again until liberation in 2016 and re-liberation in 2017 by the Syrian Arab Army and allies.

In the North-East of Syria is the ancient city of Dura-Europos located between the modern day cities of Al Mayadin and Al Bukamal (border crossing with Iraq coveted by the US) in the Syrian governorate of Deir Ezzor, another region that has been targeted both by ISIS, the US military and their proxy Kurdish Separatist militia.

Dura Europos became one of the main hubs of the Ancient Silk Road.

Today, as I stand here and look back at history, I seem to hear the camel bells echoing in the mountains and see wisps of smoke rising from the desert and this gives me a specially good feeling

President Xi Jinping - September 2013

The much fought-over city of Aleppo is located at the crossroads of trade routes between East and West, straddling a strategic position connecting Anatolia, the Mediterranean and Europe.

The city of Antioch, now annexed by Turkiye, is located West of Aleppo on the Orontes River and was also an important trade hub for the Silk Road caravans which journeyed from Antioch eastwards - through Aleppo, modern day Jarablus (occupied by Turkish proxy armed groups) towards Persia and East Asia to trade commodities with Chinese traders. Antioch was also a hub for traders from the Arabian Peninsula and Yemen via Palmyra.

It is not coincidental that these cities and regions were targeted early on in the regime change war by the West and Turkiye (NATO member state) in a clear attempt to take control of the primary hubs along the Ancient Silk Road that would also play a pivotal role in the new Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.

The Five Seas Project

Ever since President Bashar al-Assad first announced the Five Seas vision in 2004 as a response to the newly virulent regime change operation launched in the wake of 9/11, the battle lines have been clearly drawn over two opposing destinies shaping the Arab world. When the western-directed Arab Spring of color revolutions sabotaged the efforts of the Five Seas program (and also broader Libyan plans for a Great Manmade water project funded by a gold backed Dinar), things took a very dark turn.

Matt Ehret

Ehret outlines the the Five Seas strategy as "the construction of rail, roads, and energy grids connecting the water systems of the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, Black Sea, Red Sea, and Caspian Sea with Syria. The project serves as a logical node uniting the diverse nations of Mackinder's world island behind a program of harmonization, integration and win-win industrial cooperation."

In a 2009 interview, President Assad described this project passionately:

"Once the economic space between Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran becomes integrated, we would link the Mediterranean, Caspian, Black Sea, and the [Persian] Gulf . . . we aren't just important in the Middle East . . . Once we link these four seas, we become the unavoidable intersection of the whole world in investment, transport, and more."

These weren't empty words. By 2011, Assad had led delegations and signed agreements with Turkey, Romania, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon to begin the Five Seas projects.

This was done at a time when Libya's President Qaddafi was well underway in building the Great Man-Made River, the largest water project in history alongside a coalition of nations that included Sudan, Ethiopia, and Egypt.

The stark difference between US and Chinese policy for Syria

Syria's centuries-old relationship with China, the US nemesis in the region, and President Assad's vision for a multipolar world providing the so called Global South with wealth and independence was a bridge too far for the US oligarchy and deep state who envisioned the world as their exclusive bread basket to be picked clean at the expense of the peoples of the nations they saw as their feeding ground.

According to an NGO established by Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban to record the human rights abuses committed by the Western-backed terrorist groups - Wathiqat Wattan Foundation:

The foreign policy of China is built on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence - its main axioms are respect for all nation's territorial integrity, sovereignty, non-interference in internal affairs and cooperation based on mutual benefits.

China, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has repeatedly referenced these principles when voting against Western-proposed resolutions entailing grave interventions in Syrian internal affairs.

On the 4th October 2011, Russia and China vetoed a UNSC draft resolution on Syria put forward by the US alliance. This was the first of seven vetoes by China (half of the vetoes ever cast by China at the UNSC) that not only placed essential obstacles in the path of the US/UK-led agenda but also upheld the principles of the United Nations Charter that has been corrupted by the US and other aligned member states.

According to a paper published by Wathiqat Wattan Foundation:

The BRI is a Chinese program that aims to maintain an 'open world economic system and achieve diversified, independent, balanced and sustainable development'. It is also a Chinese proposal intended to 'advance regional cooperation, strengthen communication between civilisations and safeguard world peace and stability'. The general thrust is towards an equitable, more inclusive, multilateral global order. It is open to all nations and does not require conformity to a fixed political or economic model. On the contrary, the initiative thrives on the diversity of nations taking part.

President Assad, First Lady Asma Al Assad meet with President Xi Jinping and First Lady Peng Li Yuan at the welcome banquet for the 19th Asian Games in Ghangzhou.

China can contribute to every sector with no exception, because we have damage in every sector. When we talk about the current situation before the comprehensive reconstruction process starts, China is now involved directly in implementing many projects, mainly industrial ones in Syria and we have many Chinese experts here working to set up different sectors. When there is more stability, the most important goal is to rebuild the destroyed areas. The second is the infrastructure, the sanitation systems, electricity and oil fields. The third is the industrial sector and projects, whether private or public sector.

President Assad in 2017

It is worth noting that before the war was kicked off by the West in 2011, China was a primary trade partner of Syria and Syria an important market for Chinese products. In 2010 trade between the two countries was $ 2.2 billion. 99% of the trade value was in Chinese imported goods to Syria.

China has maintained a policy of assistance throughout the twelve year crisis and regular Syrian Chinese discussions on trade cooperation, investment, education, health, energy, telecommunications, transport have continued unabated.

The Assad Xi summit is a landmark one which has demonstrated to the West that they are no longer driving the agenda in the region through piracy and disproportionate military force.

There is a new dawn rising and Syria is a hub that all nations have effectively been fighting over and for - the difference is that China appears to foster dialogue, peace and development while the West is hellbent on destruction and subjugation.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Geng Shuang in 2017:

"Too many people in the Middle East are suffering at the brutal hands of terrorists. We support regional countries in forming synergy, consolidating the momentum of anti-terrorism and striving to restore regional stability and order. We support countries in the region in exploring a development path suited to their national conditions and are ready to share governance experience and jointly build the Belt and Road and promote peace and stability through common development."

Below is my short segment for UK Column on the current situation in the southern districts of Syria and Assad's visit to China.


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Vanessa Beeley
17 Sep 2023 | 9:47 am

3. Thessalia tragedy. Greece in NATO and Zionist crosshairs

Thessalia floods in Greece. Barely reported by legacy media. Why?

We have covered the fires in Greece that serve NATO expansion and the installation of wind farms to provide energy for the EU. Now, we have the devastating floods in Thessalia north of Athens which is one of the three main bread baskets of Greece, now reduced to a sea of pollution, livestock carcasses and dead fish:


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Vanessa Beeley
17 Sep 2023 | 9:42 am

4. Syria under attack...again. The US criminal cartel is not giving up.

Map of hot spots and US agenda to annex more Syrian territory.

I will be writing a more detailed summary of the status quo on the battlefield in Syria but for now I made this short report for UK Column News just highlighting the main issues:


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Vanessa Beeley
11 Sep 2023 | 2:01 pm

5. A big thank you!

Just a quick thank you note to all subscribers to my Substack. I am amazed how quickly it has grown and really appreciate the support. There does not seem to be a way to respond to paid subscribers individually so THANK YOU. Every little contribution makes it possible for me to continue doing my work on the ground in Syria and elsewhere. Without you, it would not be possible.

Vanessa Beeley
11 Sep 2023 | 1:43 pm

6. Media on trial with Eva Bartlett, Fiorella Isabel and Vanessa Beeley

Mike Robinson speaks to Vanessa Beeley, Eva Bartlett and Fiorella Isabel about what it's like to report from the front lines of conflict zones, what they have experienced in their interactions with legacy media journalists and what it's like to live and work in Russia and with RT.

Vanessa Beeley is an independent journalist, peace activist, photographer and regular contributor to the UK Column. She can be found on Twitter, and on her Substack.

Eva Bartlett is an independent journalist with extensive experience in Syria and in the Gaza Strip, where she lived a cumulative three years (from late 2008 to early 2013). She has also reported from the Donbass and Venezuela. She can be found on Twitter, and on many other platforms.

Fiorella Isabel is a journalist and geo-political analyst. She can be found on the news at RT, on the Convo Couch, and at her Substack.


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Vanessa Beeley
7 Sep 2023 | 11:24 am

7. Syria, Ukraine and the shifting global alliances

My latest conversation with Jeremy Nell of Jerm Warfare about Syria, Ukraine and journalism in general:


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Vanessa Beeley
7 Sep 2023 | 11:18 am

8. The U.S. needs perpetual war to survive

In conversation with Misty Winston about Syria and the West's rank hypocrisy in Ukraine and beyond:


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Vanessa Beeley
4 Sep 2023 | 1:32 pm

9. Western rampant hypocrisy as they condemn children in north-east Syria to a life of abuse

Save the Children report on north-east Syria detention camps.

June 2023 - On International Children's Day, Ambassador Neil Holland says that Ukraine's children are paying the price of Russian aggression.

Neil Holland was appointed Head of the United Kingdom's Delegation to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in May 2023.

In June 2023 Holland made a statement to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OCSE) - 'Russia's brutality towards Ukraine's children' in which he said:

Mr. Chair, we also continue to receive disturbing reports of the forced deportation of Ukrainian children by the Russian authorities. As the most recent Moscow Mechanism Report makes clear, these children are exposed to the deep trauma of being separated from their parents. They suffer violations and abuses of their rights, including being forced to relinquish their Ukrainian identity and participate in Russia-centric education. Russia's forced deportation and attempted indoctrination of Ukrainian children is a despicable and systematic attempt to erase Ukraine's future.

Holland claims that:

"Each day that Russia chooses to press on with its illegal and unprovoked invasion, Ukrainian children suffer. Children who have their whole lives ahead of them. Children whose futures the Russian authorities seem determined to take away."

Reality is different to UK FCDO propaganda

Just one of the camps converted into housing for refugee families from the Donbass region in eastern Russia. Photo: Vanessa Beeley

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine said there was evidence of the illegal transfer of hundreds of Ukrainian children to Russia.

In November 2022 I visited eastern Russia and met with refugee families including children in Sterlitamak and the Bashkortostan region. I visited more than three community centres and summer camps that had been converted into reception complexes for these temporarily displaced people who had already endured nine years of ethnic cleansing pogroms by the Kiev regime and Nazi cohorts.

Refugee children and families in Eastern Russia after fleeing the Donbas region. Photo: Vanessa Beeley

One particular camp was organised in 24 hours to receive refugees from the Mariupol area in April 2022. More than 200 refugees were brought by train to the station in the city before being picked up and driven to the camp.

One of the families looking forward to returning to Mariupol after Russia has rebuilt the scarred city. Photo: Vanessa Beeley

Psychological help was provided upon arrival for the traumatised families. Medicine and medical care is free with doctors and pharmacists on site.

In March 2023 the UK State media outlet and narrative manager, the BBC, reported:

In some cases, parents or children told the Commission that once in Russia-controlled areas, transferred children were made to wear "dirty clothes, were screamed at, and called names." They also said that "some children with disabilities did not receive adequate care and medication."

Cabins with water, electricity and heating are provided for all families. Even family pets were vaccinated, vet checked and welcomed. Residents are given three meals per day, children can play outside or inside in safety and there are playgrounds, football pitches and climbing frames in the grounds of the facility.

The children are being helped to keep up their schooling & integrated into the Russian curriculum. Citizenship is now being organised for those who want it but they all have been given the same labour rights etc as Russian citizens. Free buses are laid on every day to take the families into the town centre.

Inside one of the buildings converted into a shelter for refugee families in eastern Russia. Photo: Vanessa Beeley

Margarita Bolycheva who is with the state committee of the Republic of Bashkortostan on foreign economic relations told me she had spent time with Syrian refugees in Berlin and that I should compare their treatment by the German government to the reception given to the refugees from Donbass.

As I said in November 2022:

She is absolutely right. There is no comparison. Here in Russia these displaced people are treated with respect and compassion. They are treated like human beings.

British and EU record of inhumanity towards foreign national children in Syria

In January 2023 a report by Human Rights Watch described the inhumane conditions that British and other nationality children were being forced to endure in north-east Syria.

Caveat: I blame HRW and Amnesty International for much of the propaganda that has provided justification for the regime change war against Syria since 2011. However individuals working for these organisations do provide valuable information from time to time and this report confirms what I have already heard from one or two decent journalists who were able to visit the ISIS camps in the north-east prior to the visits of the HRW staff.

Of the nearly 42,000 foreign Islamic State (ISIS) suspects and family members from 60 countries currently detained in northeast Syria, most are children. Many were taken to Syria by parents who sought to join ISIS or live in the "caliphate." Others were born in Syria under areas of ISIS control or in the camps where families with alleged ISIS links are detained. Nearly 80 percent of the children are under the age of 12, and far too young to have played an active role in ISIS, yet many governments refuse to take these young nationals back, citing national security concerns or fearing public backlash.

The children are detained in such dire conditions that it might amount to torture. They face increasing risks of becoming victims of torture or radicalisation and recruitment by ISIS. Many children in the ISIS holding camps in north-east Syria - under US direct and proxy occupation - were found to be suicidal.

Many United Nations, counterterrorism, and security experts warn that abandoning these children in the camps and prisons carries greater national security risks than bringing them home.

As of January 23, 2023, nearly 42,000 foreigners remain held in the region along with more than 23,000 Syrians. Nearly 37,000 foreign nationals are detained in al-Hol and Roj, two locked, sprawling camps primarily holding the wives, other adult female relatives, and children of male ISIS suspects. Nearly 27,000 foreigners in the camps are from neighboring Iraq, while nearly 10,000 others are from about 60 other countries. More than 60 percent of the camp detainees are children. Nearly 80 percent of the children are under the age of 12, and 30 percent are age 5 or younger. Approximately 5,000 other foreigners are held in prisons and "rehabilitation" centers, including up to several hundred children.

Detention based only on family ties is collective punishment of these children which amounts to a war crime. Governments whose citizens languish in these makeshift detention camps are complicit in the abuse of these children.

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Conditions for these children in Al Hol and Roj camps are "life-threatening, deeply degrading, and in many case, inhumane; their cumulative psychological impact may amount to torture. Medical care, clean water, as well as education and recreation for children are grossly inadequate."

It is claimed that an estimated 371 children have died in 2019 in Al Hol camp, from preventable disease or hypothermia.

Children have also drowned in sewage pits, died in tent fires, and been hit and killed by water trucks. These children come from many of the countries that have been responsible for the regime change war waged against Syria since 2011.

They suffer violations and abuses of their rights, including being forced to relinquish their Ukrainian identity and participate in Russia-centric education. Neil Holland

According to the HRW report - some younger children attend informal preschool, but most children have no access to education and have missed out on years of schooling.

The camps have become increasingly dangerous and violent, as detainees, including many loyal to ISIS, have carried out attacks against other detainees, camp authorities, and aid workers. The UN reported that 90 people were murdered in al-Hol in 2021, and 42 from January to mid-November 2022.

Child rape and trafficking is rife in these camps.

Conditions are even worse in the prisons and makeshift detention centers where the SDF is holding up to 1,000 detainees, from about 20 countries, who are boys or who were apprehended before they turned 18. In the prisons, overcrowding initially was so severe that many of the detainees slept shoulder to shoulder. Many imprisoned Syrian and foreign boys were initially held in cells with men.

In January 2022, ISIS attacked one prison holding about 700 boys in the city of al-Haskah, sparking a 10-day battle with SDF fighters backed by US and UK forces.

According to local reports more than 500 were killed in this attack including several children. The information and accountability vacuum surrounding the fate of these children could easily suggest that there were more fatalities or disappearances.

Foreign boys can be forcibly removed from their mothers without warning and transferred to "rehabilitation centers". The majority are as young as 10 and 12. Mothers are not informed of the whereabouts of their sons for weeks, months or not at all. Foreign boys are regularly not allowed contact with their mothers or siblings.

According to Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, the UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism:

"The de facto culling, separation, and warehousing of adolescent boys from their mothers is an abhorrent practice inconsistent with the dignity of the child and inconsistent with the most essential of rights any child is entitled to in any circumstances."

From the HRW report:

From October 2022 to January 14, 2023, at least 10 countries brought some or more nationals home: 1,245 (more than half of them children) to Iraq, 4 women and 13 children to Australia, 1 woman and 2 children to Barbados, 2 women and 2 children to Canada, 16 women and 42 children to France, 5 women and 7 children to Germany, 12 women and 28 children to the Netherlands, 38 children to Russia, 1 woman and 1 child to the United Kingdom, and 2 women and 13 children to SpainFrance repatriated an additional 15 women and 32 children on January 24, 2023. [Emphasis added]

Russia is one of the countries that has repatriated the majority of nationals in the ISIS camps.

Save the Children noted in December 2022, at current rates, repatriating the more than 23,000 foreign children still held in northeast Syria could take up to three decades.

It has been proven that repatriation and rehabilitation has been largely successful and that the children do return to normalcy after time.

When asked how the child is adjusting overall to their new country of residence, 89 percent of respondents to the online survey—comprised of family members, teachers, and social workers—reported that the child was doing "very well" or "quite well." Only 4 percent said the child was having difficulties.

According to HRW:

In a bitter irony, many of the same countries with nationals languishing in the camps have accepted thousands of refugee children, who, like children in the camps, have often survived displacement, conflict-related violence, family separation or loss, and interrupted schooling. Canada, for example, accepted approximately 20,000 child refugees from Syria in 2015-2016, and resettled over 3,800 school-aged children from Afghanistan after the Taliban retook power. It has also offered refuge for thousands of children fleeing the war in Ukraine.

EU countries like France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden have made policy choices that increase the difficulty for children to reintegrate and may even cause additional harm. In these countries authorities have immediately separated children from their mothers if the mother is under investigation for offenses related to ISIS without evaluating if separation is in the child's best interests. This causes significant emotional and psychological distress for the child.

Grandparents or other family members can face arduous investigations before being allowed to assume care of the children, even if they have been in contact with the authorities for years. "In one case, for example, a girl arrived in France at age 5 but spent three years in foster care, even though her grandparents had sought custody even before she came home."

More than 60 British children trapped in north-east Syria

In 2019 the then UK security minister, Ben Wallace, said he would not put officials' lives at risk to rescue UK citizens who went to Syria and Iraq to join Islamic State, insisting "actions have consequences".

"I'm not putting at risk British people's lives to go looking for terrorists or former terrorists in a failed state," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Alison Griffin, Save the Children's Head of Conflict and Humanitarian Campaigns, said:

Children in Syria who have fled ISIS-held areas are innocent. Their short lives have been full of violence and fear but with the right care they can bounce back, recover and amaze us. They deserve that chance, no matter what they've been dragged into by the decisions of adults.

For the British children among them we can and must give them the safety they need by bringing them to be cared for in the UK.

According to Save the Children there are more than 60 British children trapped in north-east Syria after fleeing ISIS controlled areas. The children, many under five years old, have endured cycles of displacement and inhumane conditions in the various detention camps while British officials condemn them to this life of torture and abuse without conscience.

As Alison Griffin stated:

Children whose parents are alive are just as innocent as those who have been orphaned. All have been put through unimaginable horrors. The Foreign Secretary has said he wants to ensure 'innocents are not caught in the crossfire'. To play his part to achieve that, he needs to act now while there's still a window of opportunity and bring all the UK's children home.

Older children who have lived under ISIS occupation will have witnessed appalling acts of savagery which include beheadings, crucifixion and mass killings. These experiences leave the children with physical and psychological scars and increase their vulnerability to radicalisation and recruitment by ISIS.

One British mother with two young children, a baby and an under five, had fled the "hell" of Baghouz where in 2019 the U.S. criminally bombed women and children during the last days of the ISIS occupation. "Her youngest baby was close to death with bronchiolitis when they arrived at the camp" in north-east Syria.

In 2019, the U.S. military killed dozens of people in Syria, including women and children, in airstrikes conducted during the final days of the war against the Islamic State, but did not disclose its actions for more than two years.

The New York Times reported on the war crime in November 2021:

In the last days of the battle against the Islamic State in Syria, when members of the once-fierce caliphate were cornered in a dirt field next to a town called Baghuz, a U.S. military drone circled high overhead, hunting for military targets. But it saw only a large crowd of women and children huddled against a river bank.

Without warning, an American F-15E attack jet streaked across the drone's high-definition field of vision and dropped a 500-pound bomb on the crowd, swallowing it in a shuddering blast. As the smoke cleared, a few people stumbled away in search of cover. Then a jet tracking them dropped one 2,000-pound bomb, then another, killing most of the survivors.

UK is funding the expansion of ISIS holding camps

In 2021 the UK provided funding for the expansion of one of the ISIS camps in Hasakah, north-east Syria. Rather than repatriate British nationals the UK FCDO condemned them to a life imprisonment in conditions that are described as inhumane by various Human Rights groups.

According to a report in Defense One - the effort will double in size the current facility at Hasakah, a series of three converted school buildings that holds roughly 5,000 prisoners, according to British Army Maj. Gen. Kevin Copsey, the coalition's deputy commander for strategy. 

A British Ministry of Defense spokesperson confirmed that the U.K. is funding the Hasakah effort, which Copsey called "quite a significant expansion."

Lt. Gen. Paul Calvert, the commander of the U.S.-led mission admitted the dangers that children faced in Al Hol camp:

A huge proportion of the 65,000 people living at al Hol are children, with two-thirds under the age of 18 and over half under the age of 12. The wives of ISIS fighters are carrying out a daily indoctrination program, he said, and so-called "cubs" are "exported back through the rat lines coming out of al Hol that pushes them down into the Badia desert for additional training and use as [ISIS] fighters.

So, not only is the UK FCDO not showing any enthusiasm for repatriation of British nationals caught up in a terrorist proxy war against the Syrian people that the British regime is facilitating - they are also callously condemning the children of ISIS brides to a lifetime of incarceration with a high risk of abuse, exploitation, trafficking, rape and extremist indoctrination.

Russia's forced deportation and attempted indoctrination of Ukrainian children is a despicable and systematic attempt to erase Ukraine's future. Neil Holland

ISIS organ trafficking and role as assassins for the US alliance in Syria

ISIS is also known for increasing revenue through organ trafficking particularly from child victims. According to the World Health Organisation illegal organ trading generates between $600 million and $1.2 billion in profits each year.

Reports from the beginning of the ISIS insurgence in Syria have talked about "medical schools" in northern Syria where organs are extracted. The Iraqi News reported that IS has kidnapped and sold many children in Syria to Turkish organ traffickers in order to finance its operations.

"We... have no reason to doubt them given other similar atrocities that have been documented and other heinous crimes for which ISIL has proudly taken credit," the U.S. State Department said in response to charges of IS's organ harvesting. In December, the U.S. government revealed that it had obtained an ISIS document during a raid by Special Forces in Syria. "The apostate's life and organs do not have to be respected and may be taken with impunity," the document said.

The US military occupiers and oil, private security contractors working in north-east Syria are well aware of these ISIS operations. The UK, a strategic US ally in Syria must also be cognizant of these heinous trafficking rings that will prey on the children trapped in this hostile environment abandoned by their respective governments.

The reality is that the Pentagon has refused to vet proxy militias including ISIS for human rights abuses - apparently preferring to turn a blind eye to the revenue-producing crimes committed by terrorist groups under their control.

It is already well evidenced that ISIS is not an enemy of the US in Syria and Iraq. Very recently, in March 2023, the Pentagon was reported to be training brigades of ISIS and assorted terrorist groups to increase attacks on civilians, infrastructure and Syrian Arab Army positions.

Why was a very recent Al Monitor detailed report on women's harrowing accounts of experiences in Syria's trafficking networks retracted and with no trace on the archive websites?

The shame of Shamima Begum

A spy working for the Canadian Intelligence services smuggled Shamima Begum into Syria and Britain later conspired to cover up Canada's role in the operation, a new book has claimed.

The Telegraph

Begum was just 15 when she travelled to Syria with Amira Abase, 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, fellow pupils at Bethnal Green Academy in east London, in 2015. She was a child.

Samantha Begum, now 24 years old.

The Begum family lawyer, Mr Akunjee, said:

"Britain has lauded its efforts to stop Isis and the grooming of our children by spending millions of pounds on the Prevent programme and online monitoring.

"However, at the very same time we have been co-operating with a western ally, trading sensitive intelligence with them whilst they have effectively been nabbing British children and trafficking them across the Syrian border for delivery to Isis all in the name of intelligence-gathering."

Begum was stripped of her citizenship by then-Home-Secretary Sajid Javid. Javid effectively offered 28 days amnesty to British nationals fighting with Al Qaeda, in Idlib, in 2019 but condemned Begum to stateless abuse in Syria despite the UK Intelligence alleged role in her being trafficked as an ISIS bride, aged 15.

A New Yorker headline in 2020 asked a pertinent question:

If Shamima Begum, the ISIS bride, is no longer British, what does citizenship mean?

2019: Begum identified herself to Anthony Loyd, a war reporter for the Times, after he had stopped by the al-Hawl camp on the last day of an assignment. "I am a sister from London. I'm a Bethnal Green girl," Begum told Loyd. She was anxious about her unborn child. "I'm scared that this baby is going to get sick in this camp," Begum said. "That's why I really want to get back to Britain, because I know it will get taken care of, health-wise at least." Loyd's story ran on the front page of the newspaper. Five days later, Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary at the time, stripped Begum of her citizenship. Her baby, a boy named Jarrah, died of a respiratory infection, when he was three weeks old.

When human rights reports were circulating in 2019, estimating 60 British children and 30 women in north-east Syria ISIS prisons, the British government said that, since the United Kingdom does not have a consulate in Syria, it would not be able to "provide assistance". Since then a handful of orphans have allegedly been repatriated.

At the time of Begum being stripped of her citizenship - the British regime had a policy of turning problematic citizens into former citizens.

Richard Barrett, former head of global counter-terrorism for MI6 told the New Yorker:

I think the government position is precisely that. If there is a way of getting rid of the problem to somewhere else, let's get rid of the problem somewhere else.

Since 2006, Home Secretaries have been able to deprive a person of her British citizenship if it is "conducive to the public good"—a subjective rather than a strict legal test—as long as it does not leave her stateless.

Journalist Anthony Loyd pointed out the UK FCDO manipulation of the law:

International law forbids governments from rendering their citizens stateless. The British government has justified taking away Begum's nationality on the grounds that her mother is Bangladeshi, and so she is eligible for citizenship until the age of twenty-one. This is a fiction. Begum has never lived in Bangladesh.

Barrett, the former MI6 official said:

This is a purely political decision. Why one would think that Bangladesh had any better capacity to deal with somebody? It doesn't make any sense.

In refusing Begum's appeal last week, the U.K.'s Special Immigration Appeals Commission acknowledged that her situation at the al-Roj refugee camp, in northern Syria, exposes her to the risk of torture and degrading treatment.

Anthony Loyd the Times reporter who met with Begum " was struck by her guilelessness. She was awkward but direct.". Yes, she was "unfazed" by some of the ISIS atrocities she had witnessed but I have personally met children who could describe terrorist crucifixion of relatives without batting an eyelid after being incarcerated by Western-backed terrorists for years in different areas of Syria. War does that to children.

Former British Ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford gave me this statement:

The UK, so apparently solicitous regarding the children of Ukraine, appears less concerned about some of its own. To the extent in fact of denying them not just a right of abode in the UK but even a right to UK nationality. The most well known case is that of Shamima Begum, an East London teenager encouraged by British government propaganda demonising Assad to join ISIS, and subsequently stripped of her nationality and forced to fester for years in the extremism incubators which are the ISIS prisoner camps in US/UK-controlled Northern Syria.

The sins of mothers being visited on the children, Begum's children, are consequently also denied their birthright, a chance to live in Britain. For a government which behaves this despicably towards children of its own nation to posture as a children's champion is a sickening hypocrisy. 

Conclusion - the West is collectively hypocritical and is content to incarcerate their own child nationals and put them at risk of torture, abuse and death at hands of terrorists they control

For a government which behaves this despicably towards children of its own nation to posture as a children's champion is a sickening hypocrisy. 

Peter Ford

None of these children, Begum included, exploited and abused by their state of birth should be punished for the alleged crimes of their relatives. The only constructive solution is for western regimes to repatriate their child nationals and provide psychological and trauma support to enable them to reintegrate into society and into their culture of origin.

HRW report:

The unlawful detention in northeast Syria of 23,000 foreign children from dozens of countries has deprived them of their basic rights as children, including the rights to a nationality, health, education, family unity, and freedom from mistreatment and arbitrary detention. Those who have died because of the conditions or circumstances of their detention have been denied the right to life itself.

The HRW report concludes that although several countries have marginally increased the repatriation of child nationals, the rate remains indefensibly low.

Western regimes continue to outsource responsibility for their child nationals to militants, terrorists, child and organ traffickers in north-east Syria. In the process 'the children's countries of origin are re-victimizing children who have already endured unimaginable horrors'.

While the West bears responsibility for the mass imprisonment of child nationals in squalid environments where they are preyed upon by all manner of criminals while depriving these children of any meaningful rehabilitation, identity or hope, they cannot take the moral high ground and prosecute Russia for unsubstantiated claims of child abduction in a war zone that the West created.


Vanessa Beeley is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

Vanessa Beeley
3 Sep 2023 | 9:59 am

10. Three Republican Congressmen enter Syria illegally, fraternize with terrorist groups

On Sunday 27th August three Republican Congressmen entered Syria via the Bab Al Salameh border crossing between Turkey and Syria.

French Hill, Scott Fitzgerald and Ben Cline followed in the inglorious footsteps of Senator John McCain who met with terror group leaders inside Syria in 2013 and 2017.

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The three "lawmakers" would have been escorted by the members of two extremist armed groups who control the Bab Al Salameh crossing - Hamzah Brigade and Suleiman Shah Brigade. Both groups have only recently been put under U.S. sanctions by the Biden Administration for alleged human rights abuses including civilian abduction, rape and torture.

The Hamzah Division formed in 2016 as an armed opposition group involved in abductions, theft and torture. A 2021 UN report accused the Hama Division of ill-treatment and torture directly causing death in the locations of Hawar Killis, Rai and informal detention sites.


…Hamza Division has been involved in brutal repression under his leadership. This includes kidnapping Kurdish women and severely abusing prisoners, sometimes resulting in death.

The Suleiman Shah Brigade, a component of the Syrian National Army and part of the armed opposition to the Syrian government, is said to hold significant control over civilians in the Afrin region.

The brigade has targeted Kurdish residents, many of whom are subjected to harassments, abduction and other abuses.

Suleiman Shah Brigade leader Mohammad Hussein al-Jasim (Abu Amsha) is accused of ordering the militia to kidnap local residents, demanding ransom and confiscating their property. He also alleged to have raped the wife of a brigade member and threatened her with violence if she did not remain silent.

His younger brother, Walid Hussein al-Jasim, was also sanctioned on Thursday. He faces several charges related to sexual assault against women.

French Hill has been instrumental in the doubling down of sanction pressure on the Syrian people with the September 2022 Bill to 'Disrupt and dismantle Assad's narcotics production and trafficking' and the May 2023 'Anti-Assad normalisation Act' .

The viciousness of both Bills is off the scale. I have reported previously on the BBC involvement in the justification of the Captagon Act - unsubstantiated claims that President Assad has turned Syria into a 'Narco-state'. The anti-normalisation Act is nothing more than a reflection of US impotence in the face of their allies, Saudi Arabia and UAE, accepting President Assad and Syria back into the Arab League fold:

"Normalization of relations with Syria will only legitimize his regime's heinous acts. I am proud to join Congressman Wilson to introduce the Assad Anti-Normalization Act, which condemns the normalization of relations with Bashar al-Assad and imposes sanctions on those who support him."

     Specifically, this legislation would: 

  1. Require an annual strategy for five years to counter normalization with the Assad regime by countries which have taken steps to normalize with the Assad regime.

  2. Prohibit any federal government department or agency from recognizing or normalizing with any government in Syria led by Bashar al-Assad.

  3. Require an immediate review for Caesar Act sanctions for any grants of $50,000 or more to Syria.

  4. Require a report into the United Nations assistance that has gone to Syria which has gone to the benefit of the Assad regime.

  5. Expand the Caesar Act by plugging loopholes in the original bill which made it hard to enforce. It would also expand Caesar Act sanctions to those involved in diverting and stealing humanitarian assistance meant for the people of Syria and those involved in stealing the property of the Syrian people for political reasons or personal gain.

  6. Sanction the members of Syria's People's Assembly and their immediate family members, as well as those who provide them with support, along with senior officials of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party in Syria.

  7. Clarify the applicability of current sanctions to Syrian regime airlines, and to energy transactions – sending a clear sign to countries normalizing with Assad which are considering allowing Syrian regime airlines to land in their airports.

  8. Determine whether or not Asma al-Assad's charity the Syria Trust for Development meets the criteria for sanctions under the Caesar Act.

  9. Allow the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to request review of any names for Caesar Act sanctions which the President would be required to consider within 30 days.

Despite fraternizing with proscribed terrorist groups and their White Helmet auxiliaries also accused of human rights abuses by the Syrian people who came into contact with them - the three Congressmen are not being questioned or prosecuted for their involvement with these groups.



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