In this special report to Consortium News from the Syrian capital, Jeff Klein describes a people getting back on their feet after the defeat of jihadists in Ghouta, while explosives remain a part of daily life.
By Jeff Klein Special to Consortium News
A loud and persistent booming woke everyone up here in the early hours of the morning on Saturday, April 14. To a visitor from Boston it sounded like Fourth of July fireworks over the Charles River. But this was Damascus and the thunder was from exploding missiles in the long-awaited attack by Donald Trump and his British and French allies.
The bombardments started precisely at 4am local time and continued for the better part of an hour. Only the timing was a surprise here, as Trump had been threatening a reprisal attack for the alleged use by the Syrian government of chemical weapons in Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus the previous week.
By all accounts, most Syrians were unfazed by the missile attack. There were videos of Damascenes cheering from rooftops as air defense rockets were launched over the city to intercept the US, French and British missiles.
Trump’s tweet that the attack had been “perfectly carried out” is likely an overstatement. The Russian and Syrian militaries claim that the majority of the incoming missiles were shot down or diverted electronically from their targets, although this is impossible to verify. But it is being reported that two unexploded missiles were handed over to the Russians for technical examination.
In any case, before and after photos of the alleged military/chemical research center in Damascus show pretty thoroughgoing destruction. But the US attacks had been so fully telegraphed – there were claims that the Russians were informed in advance of the targets – that the buildings were empty and there were no reported fatalities.
Of course, if these Damascus targets had actually been chemical weapons facilities as charged there would have been massive civilian casualties from the fallout. There were none.
A ‘Fake’ Chemical Attack
Syrians I spoke to here all derided the chemical attack charge as fake news. Nearly…