“In Aleppo alone 2002 people have been killed... and that's with a truce in place”.
That was the introduction to an extremely sub-par piece of journalism we were subjected to on RTÉ's Drivetime on Wednesday afternoon as the state broadcaster bombarded rush hour listeners with a half-truths, bias and blatant falsehoods in what was supposed to be a report on how Donald Trump's election as US President will affect the ongoing Syrian Civi War.
Despite what RTÉ claims, there is no truce in Aleppo. There was a unilateral ceasefire by the Syrian Military and Russian Air Force to allow humanitarian aid into the jihadist-occupied parts of the city. In response, the so-called “rebels” launched what was described as a “new offensive” on Government districts “unleashing a series of deadly car bombings and mortar attacks”.
RTÉ's then quotes the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) who it says have “documented 733 civilians... being killed by Russian and Assad air strikes” adding “41 civilians have been killed by Assad's artillery shells in that time”.
Aside from such blatantly biased terminology (can we expect reports from Mosul to refer to “Obama air strikes” or “Obama artillery strikes”?) what RTÉ doesn't tell us is that the loftily-named Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is in fact just one individual, Rami Abdel Rahman, a pro-Opposition former prisoner who runs SOHR out of his home in Coventry, England, and claims he relies on an anonymous network of sources across Syria for his reports.  Russia has described the information from SOHR as “fake” adding that the “group” is “no more reliable than a waiter in a pizzeria” while the UN has stopped using reports from SOHR as they cannot be verified.
Next, the listener hears a snippet of an interviewee, whom RTÉ identifies as “Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – who appears to have resumed dropping chlorine on the population of Aleppo.”
Again, when will we hear US President Obama accused of “dropping white phosphorus on the population of Mosul?”
Earlier this year the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed its latest disposal operation “completes [the] destruction of all chemical weapons declared by the Syrian Arab Republic.”  In fact, the only suggestion in recent days of chemical weapons use has been on the part of the Al-Qaeda aligned rebel fighters.
On Tuesday the Syrian Foreign Ministry requested the OPCW investigate the use of chemical weapons by armed groups in Aleppo. Meanwhile, the Russian Ministry of Defence also accused rebels of using chemical weapons in Aleppo and said it had uncovered a chemical weapons factory in the 1070 Apartment Complex in south-west Aleppo, which was recently retaken by the Syrian Army .
No reference is made to either of these allegations by RTÉ.
RTÉ then continues from perpetuating bias and half-truths into a full scale misinformation campaign:
“He [Trump] must have been briefed that Russia is in fact, not targeting ISIS”, we are told.
This is untrue. The Russian Air Force is currently supporting Syrian ground forces in Homs Province – around the city of Palmyra which was retaken from ISIS in March – and also east of Salamiyah in northern Homs and southern Hama Provinces. The Russians have also been aiding in the defence of the city of Deir Ezzor, which has been surrounded by ISIS for several years.
This same myth has been peddled by other mainstream media outlets. In October, The Associated Press made a similar claim which it was forced to retract and clarify when it was shown its own reporting directly contradicted the claim. One AP story spoke of how: “The [Syrian Army] push into the town of Qaryatain took place under the cover of Russian airstrikes and dealt another setback to the IS extremists in Syria”. 
So, why is Ireland's state broadcaster peddling blatant mistruths?
We are then treated to an unnamed spokesperson for the so-called “Syrian Opposition” who accuses Trump of being misinformed, and goes on to claim “the US has been helping the Syrian people and at the end of the day the US respects international law, Russia does not”.
At no point is this unnamed individual challenged on these assertions.
The idea that the US respects international law in Syria is certainly not based in fact. It must be recognised that Russia is the only foreign actor operating within the law in Syria.
“Forcible action at the request of a government is permissible in international law. States can use force within the territory of another state if the government of that state has agreed to it”.  Whether RTÉ likes it or not, the United Nations recognises the Syrian Government of Bashar al-Assad as the legitimate representatives of the Syrian people. Therefore, only actions permitted by that Government are considered legal.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem told the United Nations Assembly in New York in September: “Without such coordination [with the Syrian Government], any action [by external forces] would be considered a breach of sovereignty, a flagrant interference, and a violation of the principles and purposes of the [UN] Charter. 
The report then goes on to claim that 32 people were killed when Russia “bombed a hospital and a blood bank” in Aleppo.
There's two issues here. First, this claim is again made by the Coventry-based SOHR with zero supporting evidence. Secondly, Russia is not conducting operations in Aleppo – the Syrian Arab Air Force is.
Thirdly, even Reuters – whom RTÉ claims its report was fact-checked with  – notes that the hospital itself was not bombed, instead it reports how a “bombing struck next to a children's hospital and blood bank in the Shaar district”. 
This would imply the airstrikes were targeting something or someone in the vicinity of hospital, but not the medical facility itself.
It should be noted that Médecins Sans Frontieres admits to withholding the locations of its facilities from Syria and Russia, making it impossible for either air force to differentiate between medical facilities and other buildings.
Families who have fled eastern Aleppo have confirmed to reporters, including renowned British Journalist Robert Fisk (whose dedication to human rights in journalism won him numerous awards including Best Print Journalist at the Amnesty International Media Awards) that “all these hospitals are also bases for militias and their weapons. The hospitals have some patients, but lots of rockets are on the top of hospitals where they use them to rocket the west of the city”. 
Regardless of RTÉ's position on the horrific conflict in Syria, listeners are entitled to unbiased and non-partisan coverage. The Drivetime piece might as well have come directly from the press office of the US State Department.