Carla Ortiz: We Have Been Lied To About Syria
Ahmad Noroozi: Why do you regard Syrians as your family?
Carla Ortiz: When you see a person for the first time in your life, and that person is willing to risk their lives to protect yours, it is how you get to discover what real love means. A family is built in trust and unconditional love! And I have experienced this love from a land worker, a soldier, a businessman, a child and every mother I have crossed paths with!
After spending that last three years on and off on the ground and living the war on my skin with them, it made them my family. I LOVE THEM with all my heart.
Are you planning to make another documentary on Syria other than "The voice of Syria"?
Yes, there are a lot of projects. I would love to make many more things, including fiction films.
You’ve been to Aleppo during the war; what can you tell us about the disinformation campaign against the Assad government during those days?
The disinformation campaign is not only against a government, it is actually against the population of a whole nation. We, in the West, have bombed Syria disregarding the humanitarian disaster we have helped fuel. Our policies in the West have been seeking a regime change by all means, and we ended up supporting terrorist groups that today are in our countries.
Aleppo was not burning! Aleppo was liberated from the hands of Al-Nusra and other extremist factions that have abused the principle of human dignity in every form.
You broke the news when you exposed the reality of the situation in Syria live on CNN. Did they expect you to say what you said? What did they tell you after the interview?
They knew my briefing before they had me. CNN has always supported my career and the work I have done during the past. Maybe they did not expect the entire outcome because it was so spontaneous and emotional. They were honestly surprised by my testimony. After the interview, they invited me to three more shows on the subject. I did the night show in Spanish. CNN International and The Entertainment Show.
You’ve been on the ground in Syria & specifically in East Ghouta; what are your firsthand experiences of the White Helmets? What can you tell us about their background & links?
I have been in one of their training centers in Zamalka and three of their headquarters: one in Aleppo, one in Saqba and another in Zamalka as well. They are always located next door to the headquarters of terrorist groups. Sometimes they share the same garage and in one of the places their recruitment and training center was inside the neighborhood of the leaders of Al-Qaeda. I have seen a weapon factory and a chemical weapon factory a few blocks from their HQ or their residences.
They for sure are linked to the terrorist factions in power in the area. You can add to this interview the links to the videos I have made with my phone via my FB or twitter account on all these four places.
The civilians I have spoken with, claim that they not only work under their supervision but that many are also militants that carry weapons and are involved in terrorist actions.
I have spoken to former members of the organization and they told me that some of them knowingly join the organization because of their ideology. Others have been forced to work with them using food and medicine as a weapon of war. Especially in Ghouta, a father will carry a weapon to feed his family or children.
There are a number of reports that deny what you are saying about the White Helmets and they claim that the information you have provided is either not accurate or completely fabricated conspiracy theories. Those reports have been published to fact-check the lies about White Helmets. What is your answer to these claims?
They can make whatever claim they want. I am only telling what I have seen with my own eyes and what I have found out from the testimony of many victims and residents in all different areas where they were. We have been lied to! We have been misinformed and the cost of this big lie has punished and keeps punishing a whole country.
Every claim made by the white helmets, every video they have filmed has caused more war in Syria; never an approach to peace. It has only driven towards anger, more sanctions on Syria and division. Syria is not that! Syrians want to start rebuilding their country! They want THE END OF WAR! with all extremism out of their secular nation.
The forces of Hezbollah and Iran were the first who stood by the Syrian government to fight the terrorists on the ground. How do Syrians feel about Hezbollah and Iran?
The Syrian people, especially in the countryside, are grateful for the help of anyone that fights terrorists. This is not a conventional war. It is one of the deadliest tactics ever used by mankind far from any definition of humanity. This is the reason why Syrians respect any ally that would fight “that” terrorism.
They told me many stories in my travels about them. I heard a lot especially from Christians: Many Christian villages were saved and liberated by them.
With the terrorists defeated on several fronts, do you think we can see the whole country reunited?
You can already see this.
If you would get to go to Syria you would see how hundreds are returning every day from the different borders. Hundreds of thousands have already gone back to a home without windows or doors, because no human being likes to be a refugee. This is why they still go back to rebuild their houses and their lives.
Many Syrians have given the world a big lesson of resilience and greatness. They have overcome their political or religious differences and have found reconciliation in many ways. If we would have left them alone and stopped our toxic interventions the war would have stopped long ago.
We keep forgetting that Syria and the Syrians preceded us with 3000 years of existence. They have overcome more invasions, wars, destruction than we can ever think of. And they are still standing with dignity and love.
Why did you decide to get so involved in this issue?
You see I am not a journalist, and I was not looking for a story. I was doing a documentary on women in Syria fighting the war from their Homefront. I have a beautiful life outside of Syria and a solid career. But today I know a truth and it is my duty to do the right thing no matter what.
(*) Writer Ahmad Noroozi is a PhD candidate at Tehran University and political commentator.