Instagram bursts with mockery of Syrian first lady’s ‘Mother's Day’ congratulations

An unrepentant Asma Al-Assad welcomes a group of mothers. (Photo courtesy:
Updated 23 March 2017

Instagram bursts with mockery of Syrian first lady’s ‘Mother's Day’ congratulations

DUBAI: Social media users made fun of Syrian First Lady Asma Al-Assad being named as the “Mother of the Nation.”
In comments replete with derision and taunts, they said it was galling on her part to be called the “Mother of the Nation” after having overseen the murder of nearly 400,000 of her compatriots since the 2011 revolution.
Almost 5 million people have fled Syria since the beginning of the war and a further 6.3 million remain as internally displaced persons, according to UNHCR data.
The Syrian president wife was named “Mother of the Nation” in a flurry of pictures and video clips released on the occasion of Mother’s Day in the Middle East.
To mark the occasion, which is celebrated on March 21 in the Arab world, Asma Al-Assad welcomed a group of mothers whose sons had died in the fighting in Aleppo.
The Instagram and Facebook accounts of the Syrian presidency posted images of the meeting, showing Asma Al-Assad hugging and laughing with a group of women.
The images and video were titled “Mother of the Nation,” in reference to the first lady. Instagram users went ballistic against her. “She has no shame,” said one Instagram user. “She and her husband have reduced the country into one big graveyard.” 
In a video posted to the Facebook page, Asma Al-Assad told the mothers: “You, Aleppo mothers, made Aleppo stronger. You have been the compass we all followed and went through toward victory. You decided you would win and you did through your sons, your homes, your endurance and your support to your army. You won and Aleppo won along with you.”
She further said: “Every mother that insisted on staying at her home despite the bombs of terrorism is a weapon in the hand of a soldier, and every mother who sent her children to school despite the fear and danger is a bullet in the rifle of every soldier.
The plight of civilians in Aleppo caused global outrage as Syrian troops moved from neighborhood to neighborhood and civilians posted social media videos bidding farewell to their followers.
“We appear to be witnessing nothing less than ... a total uncompromising military victory,” former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the time, according to Reuters.

Will Turkey abide by provisions of Berlin Summit?

Updated 21 January 2020

Will Turkey abide by provisions of Berlin Summit?

  • Expert says sudden end to Ankara’s intervention in Libyan conflict unlikely

JEDDAH: With the conclusion of the Libya peace summit in Berlin on Sunday, it remains to be seen whether Turkey is willing to implement the provisions of the final communique and stay out of the conflict.

Ankara is accused of sending Syrian fighters to the Libyan battlefront in support of Fayez Al-Sarraj’s Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) against military commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces.

During the summit, French President Emmanuel Macron voiced concerns over the arrival of Syrian and other foreign fighters in Tripoli, saying: “That must end.” 

Samuel Ramani, a geopolitical analyst at Oxford University, speculates that Turkey will not deploy more troops.  

But he told Arab News that a sudden end to Ankara’s intervention in the Libyan conflict is unlikely for the moment as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country will remain present “until the GNA’s future is secured.”

Noting the difficulty of enforcing the Berlin agreement, Ramani said Turkey might not be the first mover in breaching a cease-fire in Libya.

But he added that Turkey will not hesitate to deploy forces and upend the agreement if Haftar makes any moves that it considers “provocative.”

The summit called for sanctions on those who violate the UN Security Council arms embargo on Libya.

Turkish opposition MPs recently criticized the expanded security pact between Ankara and the GNA, saying the dispatch of materials and equipment to Libya breaches the UN arms embargo.

Until we see what specific cease-fire monitoring and enforcement mechanisms will be implemented and by which foreign powers, we don’t know what arrangements, if any, have been agreed upon.

Micha’el Tanchum, Analyst

The summit does not seem to have resolved ongoing disputes regarding the Eastern Mediterranean pipeline, a planned natural gas pipeline connecting eastern Mediterranean energy resources to mainland Greece via Cyprus and Crete.

The Cypriot presidency accused Turkey of being a “pirate state,” citing Ankara’s recent drilling off its coasts just a day after Brussels warned Turkey that its plans were illegal.

Erdogan dismissed the warning and threatened to send to the EU some 4 million refugees that Turkey is hosting.

Turkey dispatched its Yavuz drillship to the south of Cyprus on Sunday, based on claims deriving from the maritime delimitation agreement with the GNA.

Turkey’s insistence on gas exploration in the region may be subject to sanctions as early as this week, when EU foreign ministers meet in Brussels on Monday.

Aydin Sezer, an Ankara-based political analyst, drew attention to Article 25 of the Berlin final communique, which underlined the “Libyan Political Agreement as a viable framework for the political solution in Libya,” and called for the “establishment of a functioning presidency council and the formation of a single, unified, inclusive and effective Libyan government approved by the House of Representatives.”

Sezer told Arab News: “Getting approval from Libya’s Haftar-allied House of Representatives would be a serious challenge for Ankara because Haftar recently considered all agreements with Turkey as a betrayal. This peace conference once more showed that Turkey should keep away from Libya.”

Many experts remain skeptical about the possible outcome of the summit. 

Micha’el Tanchum, a senior fellow at the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy, said: “Until we see what specific cease-fire monitoring and enforcement mechanisms will be implemented and by which foreign powers, we don’t know what arrangements, if any, have been agreed upon.”