What are the most powerful militias waging war against the Syrian government today? American & British special forces were training mercenaries from the first year of the conflict, according to emails obtained by Wikileaks regarding meetings at the Pentagon. “…the idea ‘hypothetically’ is to commit guerrilla attacks, assassination campaigns, try to break the back of the Alawite forces, elicit collapse from within. There wouldn’t be a need for aircover, and they wouldn’t expect these Syrian rebels to be marching in columns anyway.” American & British intelligence were commandeering arms shipments from Eastern Europe (especially Croatia) and Libya (from the toppled government’s stockpiles) to countries that supply the anti-government mercenaries in Syria. “ By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria. ” – from ‘The Red Line and the Rat Line’ by Seymour Hersh (April 2014) “ Robert Stephen Ford, US ambassador to Syria between 2011 and 2014, told BIRN and the OCCRP that the trade is coordinated by the US Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, Turkey and Gulf states through centres in Jordan and Turkey, although in practice weapon supplies often bypass this process. ” – from ‘Making a Killing: The 1.2 Billion Euro Arms Pipeline to Middle East’ by Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (July 2016) Economic sanctions, imposed on Syria by the United States and its allies (including Australia which helped draft the sanctions), the European Union, and Arab League have driven up the price of food and medicines inside Syria. Read article. Zahran Alloush, the former commander of Jaysh al Islam has openly called for the genocide of Syria’s religious minorities, especially the Alawite minority. Source. “ The mujahediin of Sham will wash the filth (رجس) of the Rafida and the Rafidia from Sham, they will wash it forever, if Allah wills it…” Zahran Alloush ordered the kidnapping of Syrian women to be locked in cages, so they could be used quite literally as human shields. Source. Now that Aleppo has been taken back by the government, residents describe who was really in charge of “Free Aleppo”. See video here. When “Free Aleppo” (term used by Socialist Alternative) was controlled by Fateh al Sham (formerly known as Jabhat al Nusra, an al Qaeda franchise), leaflets were distributed barring civilians from leaving unless they were too old or too young, and then only if they coughed up $300. Source. When the Free Syrian Army (FSA) (the group that Socialist Alternative identifies most strongly with) took over Aleppo in 2012, they entered the post-office, massacred the workers for being “regime collaborators” because they had government jobs, and then threw their bodies off the rooftops. Source. In November 2012 Time Magazine interviewed an FSA fighter who admitted: “the Aleppans here, all of them, are loyal to the criminal Bashar, they inform on us, they tell the regime where we are, where we go, what we do, even now”. Source. The FSA (Tawhid Brigade) which Socialist Alternative says is “non Islamist” actually banned women from driving in Aleppo in December 2012. Source. The war started on the 17th March 2011, after a week Reuters reported that the government had killed 37 civilians in Daraa, however it turned out that 24 of those killed were Syrian soldiers. “President Bashar al-Assad made a rare public pledge to look into granting Syrians greater freedom on Thursday as anger mounted following attacks by security forces on protesters that left at least 37 dead…The main hospital in Deraa, near the Jordanian border, had received the bodies of at least 37 protesters killed on Wednesday [the 23rd of March], a hospital official said.” – Reuters, 24th of March 2011. Here the number “37” doesn’t refer specifically to “protestors” but to the total number killed and taken to Daraa’s hospital. According to political analyst Prem Shankar Jha: “Suleiman Khalidi, the local correspondent of Reuters, reported on March 23 that 37 bodies had been brought to the Dera’a hospital till then. The number was intriguing because all news reports had been unanimous that 13 civilians had been killed till March 23, so where did the other 24 bodies come from?” As it turned out the other 24 bodies were SAA soldiers who were killed in an ambush. According to a detailed investigative report titled ‘The Hidden Massacre’ by journalist Sharmine Narwani, this massacre was carried out by insurgents ambushing a truck of SAA soldiers who had been called to enter Daraa after the initial violent incidents on the 17-18th of March, 2011. The massacre unfolded as follows according to Narwani: “Several old Russian-made military trucks packed with Syrian security forces rolled onto a hard slope on a valley road between Daraa al-Mahata and Daraa al-Balad. Unbeknown to the passengers, the sloping road was slick with oil poured by gunmen waiting to ambush the troops. Brakes were pumped as the trucks slid into each other, but the shooting started even before the vehicles managed to roll to a stop.” The first battle of the war led Syrian government forces to the al Omari Mosque in Daraa. Source. The Syrian government has addressed all the major demands of the peaceful protestors who demanded democratic reforms. Source.