On January 6, a suicide bomber killed 26 people in Syria’s capital, Damascus. Several videos of the attack were later broadcast on state television. These have been heavily scrutinised by the opposition as well as Web users, who have noticed quite a few anomalies.
Syria’s official press agency SANA reported that the attack took place on a busy street in the neighbourhood of Al-Midan, where protesters were planning to demonstrate for the benefit of the visiting Arab League monitors. The attack was captured by surveillance cameras.
Syria’s Interior Minister, Mohammed Sha'ar, immediately blamed the explosion on "terrorist groups", which is the term the regime regularly uses to describe the protest movement. The opposition denied the minister’s allegations. Soon after the clips were broadcast by the state news agency, they rapidly spread across the Internet. The opposition says the footage was partly staged; they believe that actors were used and other details added to make the images more dramatic.
The clips broadcast by state television show bodies flying through the air, blood stains all over the ground and security forces trying to help the injured.
But a different picture is portrayed in the video below, posted on YouTube and on an anti-regime Facebook page called “06/01 The scandal of the explosion in Damascus: when the dead raise their heads!” At two points during the video (at nine seconds and more clearly at 38 seconds), security forces who were apparently victims of the attack lift their heads as the cameraman approaches.
This other video shows the inside of a police bus that, according to a Syrian official, was the main target of the attack. As the cameraman films the damage, someone appears to drop police equipment into the bus through a shattered window.
In another video posted on YouTube, a journalist from Syria’s state television is seen placing grocery shopping bags next to pools of blood. According to the opposition, this is a way of making it look as though civilians were hurt in the attack.
More videos accompanied by very detailed explanations can be found online. In the first scene of the following video, the commentary explains that a police officer is comforting an injured colleague. Moments later, the men, who seem to think the cameras have stopped filming, get up and leave. At 55 seconds we see once again the scene filmed from the inside of the police bus. The Web user says that has blood been poured on top of broken glass, but doesn’t explain why. His comment in Arabic: “Your stupidity is killing us!”
These anomalies were also picked up by the Dubai-based pan-Arab satellite television station Al-Arabiya. Its report speaks of "errors" made by Syrian state television, which are illustrated 56 seconds into the following clip.