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Social Media Buzz: The Crimes We Don’t See in Syria
Written by Syria Deeply On 8 January 2013 @ 10:26 am | No Comments
In Citizen Media, English, Human Rights, Middle East & North Africa, Politics, Syria, Video, Weblog
As part of our collaboration with Syria Deeply  we are cross-posting a series of articles that capture civilian voices caught in the crossfire, along with perspectives on the conflict from writers around the world.
Millions of Syrians are using social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Skype to disseminate and discuss the conflict. Each week our Mohammed Sergie monitors the online conversation in English and Arabic, pulling out the highlights in a feature called the Social Media Buzz.
Apart from the relentless rounds of global diplomacy, recent headlines on Syria have focused on the rise of extremist brigades calling for an Islamic state and fears about the fate of Syria’s minorities. They have overshadowed episodes of civilian suffering, like the estimated fiftieth air strike of a bakery  in a Sunni neighborhood. That’s led to complaints across Syrian social media that some crimes are being amplified while others are ignored.
Some of those online voices are calling attention to one visual element often overlooked in the press: videos leaked from the Syrian military. Just as rebels record some of their worst behavior, Syrian soldiers and pro-Assad militias have documented their brutality. By some act of defiance or deliberate messaging, those images make their way to the Syrian public. These leaked videos show how soldiers stomped on unarmed protesters  and lit unguided ”barrel” bombs with their cigarettes before tossing them out of a helicopter. One video that went viral was allegedly shot in Al Hiffa, a Sunni town in the Alawite mountains that was shelled by the Syrian military in June  after rebels took control of the town. A Syrian soldier confronts civilians in the street.
It’s a short scene (above). A man is kicked and punched. Three women, including a teenage girl, were a few meters away. The soldier turns his attention to them, slaps the girl and rips off her veil, while hurling obscenities at the women. He tells the man that he plans to violate his sister. Another soldier mocks the women and calls them jihadis.
Makdissi gives Jarrah a glimpse of his mindset, sympathetic to the “heroic actions of the Syrian people.” Jarrah tells Makdissi how he was detained by the security apparatus in Syria and slapped with a travel ban years before the revolution. He urges the diplomat to defect or take a real stand with the people. More of the interaction is posted at @AlexanderPageSY . Global Voices Online covered the story here .
Our last snapshot of the week examines the now familiar tensions between Islamist and more secular opposition groups in rebel controlled territories in Aleppo. Protesters gathered on Friday at their usual spot in Bustan Al Qasr, a working class neighborhood in Aleppo that has been shelled repeatedly since July. They start singing songs of revolutionary defiance. But fans of the more extremist Islamist fighting groups refused to join the secular chants and tried to force the crowd to repeat their own calls for an Islamic state. An argument ensued.
Despite the reports of live fire used on the crowds, no serious injuries were reported. But activists condemned the violence  and equated the Islamists’ behavior with the Assad regime’s crackdown on peaceful protests.
Article printed from Global Voices: http://globalvoicesonline.org
URL to article: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2013/01/08/social-media-buzz-the-crimes-we-dont-see-in-syria/
URLs in this post:
 Syria Deeply: http://www.syriadeeply.org/
 fiftieth air strike of a bakery: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Foreign-Policy/2012/1224/In-war-torn-Syria-tactic-of-targeting-civilians-is-on-the-rise
 unarmed protesters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSuEHY4L9hk
 ”barrel” bombs with their cigarettes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8IYbsnAfcRQ
 shelled by the Syrian military in June: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/06/201261503338837464.html
 providing intelligence to the U.S. in Washington: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/24/syrian-official-us-intelligence-agencies
 @AlexanderPageSY: https://twitter.com/AlexanderPageSY
 here: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/12/26/syria-negotiating-defection-on-twitter/
 activists condemned the violence: https://www.facebook.com/ghassan.yasin1/posts/459520984112448
 on state TV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpXLLqo8emc
 in Aleppo from April 2011: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYBb0XUotFA&sns=em
 as anti-rebel demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAiZl7BwHI4&sns=em
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