The author is delusional. It is however a nice example of how the Western media builds its propaganda. A few quotes – from Anti-Assad groups and the UN (to give it a sense of objectivity) are picked out and strung together to build the narrative. Of course; this is just how delusions are developed by psychotics – a few points which are true establish the narrative which itself is delusional. The author no doubt believes his “analysis” and probably thinks he is saving humanity.
Before commenting on a few specific points it is worth noting that the author gets through his whole piece about an upcoming “murderous onslaught” in Syria’s Idlib province without once mentioning who the target of the military campaign is – Al-Nusra, or Al Qaeda in Syria – and affiliated groups. This, Al-Nusra / Al-Qaeda, is the same group who murdered more than 3000 Americans in the Twin Towers attacks in 2001. This group is not mentioned once in the article! That alone tells us we are in the realm of extraordinary propaganda.
A few points:
The author cites something called “The Syria Campaign” as evidence of human rights atrocities committed by Assad/Russia (he doesn’t specify which). A quick glance at the website of “The Syria Campaign” with its banner “We are a human rights advocacy group supporting Syria’s heroes in the struggle for freedom and democracy” tells us clearly which side of the civil war this group is on. As we know “truth is the first casualty of war”. Citing a partisan group for information in the context of a war is reasonable reporting; however to present it as some kind of source of neutral facts is babyish. You shouldn’t even pass the first year of an undergraduate course in journalism if you can’t show that you are assessing your sources for likely bias.
The author describes as “disinformation” and “fake news” recent Russian claims that the militants are planning a chemical weapons “false-flag” operation. He then backs up this claim by referencing “documented evidence” by a group called the Syrian Archive that the Syrian government has committed chemical weapons attacks in the past. (Therefore it is false to say that the militants are planning a false flag attack). Again we are supposed to believe that the Syrian Archive is some kind of neutral objective group. But even one second’s research shows that it is not. The director of this group is linked to the notorious Belllingcat operation – a single person who is linked to Nato’s Atlantic Council  and who produces shoddily researched papers based largely on “social media analysis” backing Western positions on various matters (usually Russia bad). (We have analysed his ‘work’ on MH17 here – it is demonstrably technically flawed). What we see here is a nexus of organisations who present themselves as “human rights advocates” and so on but who, in reality, are part of an organised network of groups producing pro-Western narratives. Furthemore; if the Assad regime has on occasion used chemical weapons it does not follow from that that every incident can be taken at face value. It is possible for it both to be true that Assad’s forces have used chemical weapons and militants have staged false flag attacks. In reality this is what happens in the fog of war. On both points then – objectivity of sources and general understanding of how to report on wars author Simon Tisdall’s piece fails elementary tests of journalism. He simply fails to show that Russian claims about an upcoming chemical weapons false flag operation by militants are “fake news”.
Then we have this:
The Russian and Syrian regimes claimed to be solely concerned with fighting terrorism when defending their previous, indiscriminate missile, barrel bomb and artillery attacks on civilian residential areas, hospitals and schools, notably in Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta, which caused mass casualties.
One wonders if Mr Tisdall has any evidence for his claim that Russia has used “barrel bombs” and “indiscriminate missile attacks” in Syria? Probably not. He’s probably just making it up.
The underlying thread here is basically that when Russia is involved in a military operation it is a “murderous onslaught on civilians” but when the West or Israel is it is usually a “targeted campaign aimed to minimise civilian casualties”. To be fair to Mr Tisdall he was one of a few voices questioning the propaganda the public was fed in the run-up to the Iraq war. It seems strange that he appears to have lost his ability to question what the Western corporate-state is telling him on Syria.