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Syrian President Bashar Assad Photo: AP
Syrian President Bashar Assad Photo: AP
 
 

Syrian opposition's print revolution

Rebels fight President Assad's media blackout, publish dozens of newspapers; One slams Assad for 'betraying Golan Heights,' handing it to Israel

Roi Kais
Published: 04.02.13, 23:23 / Israel News

Since the Syrian civil war started in March 2011, President Bashar Assad 's regime has been attempting to hide from the world what was actually going on.

 

Nevertheless, Syrian rebels have managed to bring about a revolution in print and publish their own papers challenging the regime and the state-approved newspapers.

 

Related stories:

 

This output is available both online, in websites and social media, and in print, with one goal: "To make sure truth reaches the Syrian people."


רוצים שהאמת תגיע לרוב הסורים. העיתון "שאם"

The Sham

 

Rebels distribute their newspapers secretly, under the cover of darkness or during mass-protests against the regime.

 

Distribution of Golan Betrayal near Damascus

 

One of the more prominent papers is the Sham weekly, which has been covering Syrian events since the uprising's beginning, with international new outlets often relying on its reports.

 Distribution of Sham

 

The Sham's administrative director Abdallah Bassam recently explained in an interview to the Turkish news agency Anadolu the paper aims to report the latest in the revolution's news to Syrians and to the international community and to offer detailed analysis of events.

 

Contrary to the state-approved newspapers, rebel journals suffer many difficulties which hamper the aspiration at a regularly published paper.

 

One of the bigger challenges is distribution. "Our distributers put themselves in great danger in handing out the paper," Bassam said and added that there are many delays in distribution due to Assad's forces' bombings.

 

"In addition, there's no transport because of the situation and the fuel shortage. Distribution is a dangerous adventure until the paper reaches the readers."


דגל המהפכה הסורית בפסגת החרמון. "הגולן שנמכר" 

Flag of the Syrian rebellion in the Golan Heights in the Golan Betrayal

 

Reception of the rebel journals, despite the many difficulties in distribution, has been overwhelmingly positive, as many Syrians crave pro-revolution newspapers.

 

Bassam told how many Syrians complained of delays, wondering why new editions failed to reach them.

 

One of the hot topics in the rebel media is freedom of speech – an issue absent from the regime's mouthpieces.

 

Bassam reported that in rebel-controlled areas free speech has been enjoying a revival, as papers released in these areas are not committed to one approved line and published pieces garner both comments and criticism.

 

Golan Betrayal

The Sham newspaper is not alone in the campaign to bring "the truth" to light in Syria. Dozens of other papers are printed with meager funds and distributed in cities and villages across Syria.

 

One of these is the "We're Liberated" bi-monthly, released by the Local Coordination Committees, an opposition group.

 

Another is the "Inab Baladi" weekly, published in the city of Daria near Damascus, whose editor was killed two weeks ago in clashes between Assad's forces and rebels.

 

One rebel journals which draws major attention is the "Golan Betrayal," which has released 17 editions so far.

 

Founded by opposition members in Quneitra in the Golan Heights and distributed in southern Syria, the paper caters mostly to Syrians displaced from the Israeli controlled part of the Golan.

 

The Golan Betrayal criticizes Bashar Assad and his father's failures to bring about the release of the "occupied Golan Heights."


מנהיג חיזבאללה זכה לכינוי "פרוצה" בעיתון "הגולן שנמכר"

A cartoon ridiculing Nasrallah in the Golan Betrayal

 

"Our beloved Golan was sold in a dirty deal by Hafez al-Assad," wrote one editorial published in the paper.

 

Hezbollah and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, have also won unfavorable attention, the latter even being called a "prostitute."

 

"This group which fights Israel entered Syria to liberate it from its people while pissing in the same plate which it was eating from for so long," an editorial lashed at the Shiite group.

 

"Its answer to Syrian generosity toward the Lebanese during the Second Lebanon War is treachery and despicable acts," the editorial said.

 

Despite many difficulties, among them funding and printing, the rebel journals keep a relatively regular printing schedule.

 

 

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