For almost a decade, Russia served as the main supporter of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad as he decided to violently suppress the Arab Spring revolution that threatened his long reign of the country. Russia sent unlimited amounts of arms to him along with experts and army fighters to help him regain the territories he had lost to rebels. Now, it seems that the time has come for Bashar Al-Assad to return the favor to Vladimir Putin.
While the world keeps watching the escalating developments in Ukraine as Russian troops face unexpected difficulty advancing towards Kyiv and other major cities in the country, discussions are developing over what Putin's supporters can do to help him "gain his war."
From the streets of the under Assad control Damascus city / #Syria— Firas Alsaid (@FirasAlsaid) March 6, 2022
"We support Russia" (Assad and his thugs)
"The right is rising" (they mean the #RussianUkrainianWar )#StopPutinNOW pic.twitter.com/jtLo6pfKZi
In the Middle East, Syria's Bashar al-Assad is considered the strongest ally of Vladimir Putin, which does not come as a surprise to anyone given the massive support he received from Russia amid the Syrian Civil War and the fact that Al-Assad's control over Syria would not have lasted if not for Putin's military and financial support.
Despite the lack of confirmed reports that Syria is officially taking part in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the internet is seeing emerging photos and videos from Syrian cities, where thousands took to the streets to express support for the Russian military operation in Ukraine, holding photos of both Bashar Al-Assad and Vladimir Putin, along with Syrian and Russian flags.
One video clip that was aired on Syrian state TV and shared online showed university students in Homs's Al-Baath public university as they rallied in support of Russia.
Syrian state TV channels have also been heavily supporting the Russian narrative over the events in Ukraine, broadcasting Arabic commentary that justified the invasion.
الممثل السوري معن عبد الحق المعروف بدور "أبو صطيف الأعمى" في مسلسل باب الحارة يرسم حرف Z على سيارته إعرابًا عن تضامنه مع الغزو الروسي لأوكرانيا!!#الحرب_على_أوكرانيا #غزو_أوكرانيا pic.twitter.com/BOtoIIYJFl— Rouchan Bozou - روشان بوظو (@RBouzoAH) March 7, 2022
Translation: "Syrian actor Maen Abd Elhaq adds the Z letter to his car in support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine."
The support for Putin by pro-Assad Syrians has also been noted in social media posts by Syrian celebrities who had supported Al-Assad during the war, including actor Maen Abd Elhaq, who posted a photo of himself posing in front of his car, on which he had added the "Z" symbol famously used by Russian military vehicles, in reference to "Za pobedy" or "for victory."
Moreover, intelligence reports by the United States have revealed Russian plans to "recruit Syrian fighters" to support Russia's attempt to take control over Kyiv, especially after the unexpected challenges Russian troops are facing in advancing towards the Ukrainian capital.
Same Russian helicopters wiped out entire cities in Syria many Syrian kids died with what Russia is doing today in Ukraine, in the name of what keeping Assad in power? Entire population reject him there are 10M+ Syrian refugees from Putin policies in Al Sham. #WeStandWithUkraine pic.twitter.com/rBRPJWfFIx— Nagi N. Najjar (@NagiNajjar) March 7, 2022
Meanwhile, anti-Assad Syrians have been weighing on the ongoing invasion in Ukraine, reminding the world that Putin's war in Ukraine is not his first one, pointing out his years-long participation in the war in Syria which resulted in several massacres and the killing and displacement of millions of Syrians.
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