On March 15th an item headlined “Why has the Syrian war lasted 11 years?” appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page.
In fact, that item is a slightly amended version of a feature titled “Why has the Syrian war lasted 10 years?” which was published on March 12th 2021, with the opening paragraph of the latest version appearing to have escaped revision: [emphasis added]
“A peaceful uprising against the president of Syria 10 years ago turned into a full-scale civil war. The conflict has left half a million people dead, devastated cities and drawn in other countries.”
The 2021 version was discussed on these pages at the time:
As in the original feature, the 2022 version (which uses the same URL) has a section purporting to inform readers “Who’s involved?” and once again that section erroneously portrays Israel as being “involved” in the civil war in Syria.
As we observed last year:
“The corporation’s journalists appear to be incapable of understanding that Israeli strikes on Iranian weapons bound for Hizballah or Israeli responses to cross-border fire from Syria do not make Israel a ‘player’ in the Syrian civil war but are in fact related to the Iranian and Hizballah aggression against Israel that long predates that conflict.”
“Although the BBC’s feature includes references to injured civilians and the need for humanitarian assistance, readers see no mention of the medical treatment and humanitarian aid provided by Israel for over five of the war’s ten years.”
The 2022 version of the feature includes an opaque reference to chemical weapons attacks without clarifying the perpetrators.
“”Syrians,” a February 2021 [UN] report says, “have suffered vast aerial bombardments of densely populated areas; they have endured chemical weapons attacks and modern day sieges in which perpetrators deliberately starved the population along medieval scripts and indefensible and shameful restrictions on humanitarian aid”.”
As we also noted a year ago:
“The BBC’s coverage of such attacks – particularly during 2017 and 2018 – regularly amplified what was known to be Syrian regime and Russian propaganda such as in this example from April 2017.”
As the civil war in Syria enters its twelfth year, the BBC continues to adhere to some of the unhelpful framing that it has been promoting since its outset.