Over the past few days, Syria’s state television, as well as YouTube channels linked to the government, have been showing videos of people they say are protesters taking up arms. This, if true, would be at odds with the opposition’s proclaimed efforts to keep protests peaceful.
Despite thousands of people taking to the streets since the start of the protest movement in March, Syria’s leaders have always blamed the unrest on armed groups they say are terrorising the country, thus justifying the military’s deployment. The opposition has responded by repeatedly calling for their movement to stay peaceful at all costs.
But for the past few days, pro-government media outlets – both official television stations and YouTube channels – are out to prove, via amateur videos, that protesters (whom they call “terrorists”) are armed and shooting at security forces. Activists quickly reacted by creating Facebook pages
calling on fellow protesters to keep their methods peaceful.
According to Avaaz
, a human rights organization based in the United States, 1,790 civilians have been killed since the beginning of the protests in March. Meanwhile, Syrian authorities have counted 1,300 “martyrs of the nation”
among their security forces.
Two Syrian anti-government activists tell us what they think of these videos.
This footage broadcast on Syrian television purports to show Syrian protesters bearing arms. Video published on Youtube.