American writer Brandon Turbeville has recently given an interview about a trip he made to Syria back in early October. In listening to his account I was struck by the rather marked similarities to my own impressions formed when I journeyed to Syria in 2014. Here is a bit of what he says:
“We did fly into Beiruit and traveled from Beirut into Syria…Lebanon is great, but there was a definitive shift in energy when you go into Syria. Syrian soldiers, who have been demonized in Western media, were extremely nice and polite and welcoming. When they found out that I was an American–because everybody in Syria is well aware of what the United States has done–they’re well aware that America supports terrorists; they’re well aware that Israel supports terrorists–even if Americans aren’t, the Syrians know full well. As an American they have every reason to be apprehensive about me, and possibly be not quite so nice, but that was not the case. And this was not just at check points, but whenever you met Syrian people on the street, they were the nicest, friendliest, most welcoming people I have ever met. There was not one ounce of hostility that I received from anyone for being American, for anything.”
While in Syria, Turbeville visited Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, and Tartus, as well as a number of smaller towns and villages. In the interview he explodes the myth of the “moderate rebels” while discussing other aspects of the war as well. All in all a quite engaging and informative discussion. Turbeville was interviewed on the Vin Armani show. You can go here to access a video showing just Turbeville’s segment on the show (a bit under 50 minutes), or go here to access the entire show, which runs just over two hours.