Comedy,  Syria

“Celebrating” April Fools Day in Aleppo, Syria

Also, take a few minutes to listen to this interview with French journalist Nicolas Henin, who was held prisoner by the Islamic State for almost a year: particularly his view on the role of the Syrian regime in the rise of IS.

Finally: Before you buy into the Assad and Putin regimes’ narrative about “liberating” the historic town of Palmyra from IS, read this account by journalist Rasha Elass:

Assad has engaged in a cynical game of “tactical withdrawals” and months of ignoring Islamic State as the terror group quickly swallowed one third of the country. Before the rise of Islamic State, Assad released known jihadists and criminals from his prisons under the guise of amnesty. He told the international community that he was releasing political prisoners to appease the demands of his opposition. He knew the jihadists would wreak havoc and show him as the only alternative.

Assad is not the protector of religious minorities, but rather he has held minorities hostage in the face of an uprising he is willing to sacrifice his nation to crush. Nor does he embody a secular regime (even if he and his wife happen to be secular individuals). Syria under his government has never allowed civil marriage or the conducting of personal matters, such as inheritance and adoption, outside of church or mosque rules. In fact, like most Arab countries, Syria adheres to a mix of religious law and the Napoleonic penal code.

If there is one thing to Assad’s credit, it is the fact that he has not wavered from his strategy, which his supporters sum up with the slogan: Assad, or we burn the country.

Update: The effort of the Syrian regime to score propaganda points over the discovery of a mass grave in Palmyra reminds me of the Nazi propaganda after their discovery of the Soviets’ Katyn Forest massacre in Poland.

In case you missed it.