Syria's propaganda war continues as opposition leader accused of backing Israel
Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, President of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, talks to the press following his meeting with Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi. (AFP)
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An Israeli newspaper allegedly quoted on Saturday a top Syrian opposition leader as saying if the opposition took over Syria, the Jewish state had “nothing to fear.”
But according to Sheik Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib and the Israeli paper he was accused of making the comments to, he said nothing of the sort.
The New York Times reported Syrian state media and Hezbollah-aligned media quoting Khatib as saying Hezbollah was the “son of the devil,” and that the opposition would safeguard the country’s chemical weapons against Hezbollah.
Khatib denied he made the comments, as did Yediot Aharonot, the Israeli paper in question.
According to the Times report, when Khatib realized he was talking to an Israeli, he ended the conversation.
As the original article was only in Hebrew and in print, it was the Syrian regime versions that went viral online.
The episode seems part of a wider propaganda war waged by all sides in the conflict in Syria. Syria has always maintained it is being targeted by “armed gangs” of “terrorists” backed by Israel and the West. It established an “electronic army” very early on in the uprising to spread propaganda. Opposition activists have also been found on numberous occasions to have fabricated and distorted the truth.
“Unfortunately, the original text was less exciting,” Mr. Bergman told the Times. “I would be happy if he would say something like, ‘Yes, we will make peace with Israel’ — then I would get the front page.”
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