By Eva Bartlett
The last leg of the trip from Damascus to Msyaf followed a road which at times was 500 metres away from terrorist factions (including Ahrar al-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam, Jebhat al-Nusra and Da'esh [ISIS]) occupying Houla villages (including: Kafrlaha, Tel Dow, Tel Dahab, Aqrab, Taiba, Houla and Zara).
Three large chimneys of the power plant in the distance are a landmark with Zara village just beyond. Zara civilians were savagely massacred in May 2016, by Ahrar al-Sham, a terrorist faction the west refuses to dub as terrorist, in spite of the horrific massacre of at least 115, Syrian civilians (as well as Ahrar al-Sham's [among other western-backed terrorists] continued firing of rockets and gas canister bombs on the 1.5 million people of Aleppo).
At one point as the van drove along, we passed a hospital 300 metres away, secured by the Syrian Arab Army. Some few hundred metres beyond, however, are terrorist factions.
Along the road, we stopped at a spring to fill water bottles with pure cold water, and wash dust and sweat off our faces and arms.
After climbing a winding road through olive-tree dotted hills, passing through small villages in Msyaf, and dipping back down again, the van passed an intersection. "That's the road we should have taken," I was told, "but there are terrorist snipers along that road."
Yesterday, along one of the roads we traversed, the Syrian Arab Army defused 8 landmines set by terrorists in the region.
At the village in the mountains, we took a walk to family land, where a variety of vegetables grown were harvested for the day's meal.
From the low mountains, looking down on the greater Houla region, the village hubs of Aqrab and Houla can be seen.
Houla was site of a horrific terrorist massacre of over 100 Syrian civilians in May 2012, and nearby Aqrab the site of a horrific terrorist massacre of between 120-150 Syrian civilians in December 2012, both by the so-called "Free Syrian Army".
See Prof. Tim Anderson's "The Houla Massacre Revisited: “Official Truth” in the Dirty War on Syria."
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