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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Former Congresswoman Lauds Syria’s ‘Free Health Care’ After Meeting Assad

Writing on Facebook from Damascus, Cynthia McKinney, a former Democratic Congresswoman from Georgia, praised Syria for its “free health care.”

Ms. McKinney, a liberal activist who traveled to the Syrian capital as part of a delegation led by former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, posted the update late Wednesday, after meeting with President Bashar al-Assad. In addition to Assadcare, she noted, Syrians living under the Baathist dynasty also “enjoy free education.”

She concluded her brief report with kind words for Ogarit Dandash, a young Assad supporter who had offered herself as a human shield to defend Syrian government military installations from American air strikes. As Ms. McKinney explained, Ms. Dandash “founded ‘Over Our Dead Bodies,’ a group of young people who climbed atop Mount Qasioun and dared U.S. bombs to target them. They are still there in defiant resistance to any war against Syria. Mount Qasioun should be the site of a peace party, not bombing strikes.”

A Sept. 3 video report from The Wall Street Journal on young Syrians camped outside military installations who vowed to act as human shields in the event of American strikes.

As my colleague C. J. Chivers reported this week, Mount Qasioun is Damascus’s most prominent military position. It is also, according to data gathered by United Nations weapons experts, most likely the location from which rockets carrying sarin gas were fired at rebel-held areas outside the city on Aug. 21, killing hundreds of men, women and children.

Military installations on the high ground above the Syrian capital were the target of air strikes in May, thought to have been carried out by Israel. In an apparent salute to the pro-government activists on Mount Qasioun, Ms. McKinney ended her update with a link to a YouTube video showing fires on the mountain after those strikes, set to thrilling music.

Video showing fires on Mount Qasioun in Damascus after air strikes in May.