Bellingcat

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Syrian State Propaganda - From Terrorist To Peacemaker

At a conference organised by the opposition groups tolerated by Assad’s regime in Damascus a group of what was claimed to be 11 former rebels, led by a "Captain Khaled Abdel Rahman al-Zamel" declared their intention to turn their back on the armed opposition and to "return to the army and cooperate with the Ministry of National Reconciliation".  In the below photograph we see the men who appeared alongside him


The man on the far right was described in Russia Today's coverage as "Yaser al-Abed, another FSA officer who attended the conference, formerly commanded a rebel group in Aleppo province", who you can see speaking here (thanks to @THE_47th)


Russia Today quotes him saying
Work your minds and know that holding weapons is nothing but a violation to the minds and freedom alike...  Syria is our home and honor, but they wanted to burn it. The most targeted things are our religion, nation and land...  I have known all that, and that is why I have decided to lay down my weapon to be a loving person who seeks the good and the humanity.
Very moving words from a man who was six months earlier being described by Syrian State news agency SANA as "Terrorist Yasser Fouzi al-Abd", with his confession broadcast of State TV


SANA's article on the March 2012 confession provides details
Terrorist Yasser Fouzi al-Abd on Tuesday confessed to assassinating businessmen Mahmoud Ramadan and Mahmoud al-Sourani, in addition to committing acts of killings, robbery and sabotage in Aleppo Province and its countryside.

In confessions broadcast by the Syrian TV, al-Abd said " Mohannad Jafala and I were close friends, we had the same salafi ideas."

He added that Jafala was a jihadist in Iraq, adding that he had stayed in Tikrit city for three months during the war.

"We made a group and named it 'Abu Amara Battalion', its members were Mohannad Jafala, Hassan Othman, Abdul-Fattah Abdu-Majid, Said Hajj Othman and I." He confessed.
This seems to rather contradict many of the claims made in the press conference, particularly al-Abd's claims at 2:00 in the video of his speech to the conference where he says that he voluntarily handed in his weapons after the calls of the Minister of National Dialogue.  You'd also imagine a murdering, Salafi terrorist would at best still be in prison (if not executed), not attending press conferences and receiving rounds of applause.

As the Russia Today articles points out:
Al-Zamel’s statement sparked debate among anti-regime activists – some argued that al-Zamel was forced to make his statement; others claimed that they had no idea who he was.
Which really isn't that surprising when one of the other people speaking at the press conference appears to be unsure of whether or not he's a Salafi terrorist or recently handing in his guns to become a peacemaker.  The other question to ask is how complicit the organisers of the conference were, seeing they are meant to by the only opposition that's viable in the eyes of the Assad regime, and if they are helping to produce propaganda it says a lot about where their loyalties lie.

Related Articles
Syrian State TV Lies About Turks In Tremseh
More Syrian Propaganda - Fake Al-Qaeda Members
Syrian Regime Propaganda at Work
Russia Today And Their Anti-FSA Propaganda
Alex Jones' InfoWars And Their Anti-Free Syrian Army Propaganda

You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@gmail.com

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