Published On: Thu, Apr 12th, 2018

Analysis: “British military” embedded with its proxy forces in Ghouta; now captured by Syrian army?

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Yesterday, Fars News reported that a number of British military operatives were in the custody of the Syrian Arab Army after having been captured in Ghouta. A UK Ministry of Defence response appeared on the Sun website late on Wednesday night, and in what looks like a vehicle written especially for a denial. However, there is an element of the Fars story that makes it credible in that it mentions the place where, last week, at least one member of British intelligence or special forces was purported, in Arab media, to have been captured, and links it to events that could suggest a sudden loss of local command structure in the US/UK proxy forces defending Ghouta.

The name of the settlement in question is al-Nashabiyeh – a town or village that had been in the original Ghouta pocket surrounded by the Syrians and their allies ahead of the offensive to bring it under Government control. This place was mentioned in a report from the Arab news site,, as being the site of the “capture of a [sic] British military advisers”, and from other sources it was determined (here at FBEL) that it had been captured by Syrian forces by the end of the day on the 28th February. That the British could be caught out in such a way was deemed quite possible in the circumstances of their situation; the Syrian forces appear to have forced a pincer through territory from the north and west of Nashabiyeh so as to potentially cut it off from the rest of the terrorist-held enclave. Speedy execution of this manoeuvre, while pinning the Nashabiyeh defenders to their position, could very well have resulted in any British there being completely compromised.

The reader can inspect the evidence for this data by looking at the FBEL article in which it originally appeared: Is the Skripal incident linked to the recent liberation of a town called Nashabiya? (link). It had also been noted that the British Foreign Office had summoned the Russian ambassador on the 27th February, and it was posited that this could have been caused by the imminent or recent capture of the British operative(s) (it is still not clear how many personnel were supposedly taken prisoner, although Fars retails that it is “a number of British forces”).

The Fars News report tells of the taking of Nashabiyeh as a pivotal moment in the battle for Ghouta in that its loss essentially triggered the end of an effective defence effort of the Damascene suburb – reflected in the observation at that time, as Wikipedia reports, by Michael Stephens of the London-based think tank Royal United Services Institute, that “the fall of the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta pocket was ‘inevitable’”. Not counting the eventual Hasrata pocket, the Syrians went on to contain the mercenaries in Ghouta in two pockets – the Jobar/Irbeen (Arbin/Arabyn?) pocket (where Zamalka is situated), and Douma – although evidently, according to the Fars source, the defenders were staging an “orderly” collapse to pre-determined locations. And as the Fars article relates, this major adaptation in the management of the defence of Ghouta was one that was ordered remotely (the Jordanian border):

The US operations room in al-Tanf base ordered end of all operations by the aforementioned allied forces after the terrorists were defeated in Eastern Ghouta and the collapse of the two towns of al-Nashabiyeh and al-Mohammadiyeh on the first days of the Syrian army’s offensives in Eastern Ghouta.

Also the US CENTCOM urged withdrawal of allied forces from Eastern Ghouta to Arabayn, Zamalka and Douma before dividing Ghouta into three areas to pave the ground for their withdrawal from Ghouta region.

Could it be that the capture of al-Nashabiyeh impacted the entire defence of Ghouta because, with the surrendering of a British contingent, the head, or some large part of it, had been chopped off the local command structure? Foreign special forces or intelligence agents would not be embedded with their proxy forces just to provide extra manpower – they would undoubtedly be providing leadership.

For the author’s part at least, the fragments of data available to us can indeed fit together to inform us that the Fars News story is not to be dismissed on the say so of the British Ministry of Defence, and in fact appears to be quite plausible – which makes things very interesting, because Fars is considered to be the “semi-official” news agency of the Iranian Government. This story of British military embedded in the ranks of the likes of the Salafist Jaish al-Islam is then elevated to another level out of the domain of pure rumour because it has been reported by Fars, and consequently noticed and picked up by the Daily Mail, which did a fair job in its own coverage.

Fars News’s own source was the Moscow correspondent for the Arabic-language channel al-Mayadeen, and we could reasonably expect that the details about US command from al-Tanf were divulged by the British prisoners under interrogation – although we have no way of understanding how this information would come to al-Mayadeen. On the other hand, when we are faced with the sort of data in the following extract from the Fars piece, it’s harder to appreciate where it would come from:

Earlier reports had disclosed last month that foreign military forces were deployed in Eastern Ghouta of Damascus to launch a ground assault against Damascus in cooperation with the US…

“After the plot was disclosed, the Syrian-Russian military commanders started operations in Eastern Ghouta to repel it,” the sources said.

As the extract explains, it appears that the Syrians found out about the presence of foreign military to provide the leadership for the operation – which suggests that the Syrian Government had some very well-placed spies; it’s quite feasible. And what is interesting is that the Syrians had developed knowledge of the foreign military through specific intelligence; there isn’t a reliance on a general assumption (that observers of the invasion of Syria are guilty of) that all US/UK proxies in Syria are led by the special forces or intelligence operatives from those countries. While this still may very well be true, it doesn’t feature in this narrative. It is implied, instead, that particular Syrian spy-craft discovered the embedded foreign troops.

What doesn’t appear in the above extract is another aspect of the foreign powers’ plan against Damascus, as explained in the Fars News intelligence, in which US and Israel would provide “airstrikes so that… [the proxy ground forces] could capture vast areas of Damascus to pave the ground for the Syrian government’s collapse”. Consideration of this information leads us to reaffirm the dominance of the Syrian-Russian air defences (as much written of at FBEL), because of the obvious question that arises regarding the non-emergence of an attack out of Ghouta, and the reasons for that. Well, the plan depended on having a certain degree of freedom to operate in Syrian airspace – which appears to have not been available for however long the UK and the US had been looking to bust out of Ghouta.

The final thing to say about the British in Ghouta is that, potentially, the war crimes committed there by their proxy Islamist terrorist underlings are their responsibility. The author doesn’t know the full extent of this, but has already seen reports of the starvation of the inhabitants by the hoarding of foods by the mercenaries, and the imprisoning of civilians, and the mistreatment of Syrian prisoners of war. It could well be that hundreds (if not thousands) of hostages have been murdered. How much of this has taken place on the watch of the Ministry of Defence and the British Government is something that is yet to be fully understood. It is doubtful that the likes of David Cameron and Theresa May will ever see the dock in a war crimes tribunal, but if the Syrians do have British spies in their custody that can, at some time in the not too distant future, be tried in a Syrian court for collusion to perpetrate the outrages enacted upon Ghouta, then the author feels strongly that it should be done to serve as a deterrence on behalf of the potential victims, all over the world, who might otherwise suffer great misery and chaos inflicted upon them by the underhanded and destructive activity of the degenerate, malevolent British “Spartan” class.


Update: 7pm, 12/04/18: while claiming to be in possession of blood and urine samples as evidence for a chemical weapons attack in Douma, “US officials” are admitting “the presence of U.S. or foreign intelligence assets on the ground”:


WASHINGTON — The U.S. now has blood and urine samples from last Saturday’s deadly attack in Syria that have tested positive for chemical weapons, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence.

The samples suggested the presence of both chlorine gas and an unnamed nerve agent, two officials said. Typically, such samples are obtained through hospitals and or collected by U.S. or foreign intelligence assets on the ground. The officials said they were “confident” in the intelligence, though not 100 percent sure.

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