Al Jazeera’s Shaping of the Syrian Story
Of all the myths obstructing the honest portrayal of events in Syria this past year, none has been more fiercely guarded by regime-change advocates than this one stark falsehood:
Myth – the Syrian regime has only been shooting unarmed, peaceful protestors until very recently when opposition groups finally decided to arm themselves in self-defense.
On the contrary, there is clear evidence that armed groups have targeted and killed security forces and civilians from within weeks of the first small protests in March 2011. An earlier investigative piece I wrote on the Syrian casualty lists identifies the shooting deaths of nine Syrian soldiers in Banyas on April 10, 2011 as one important timeline marker for premeditated opposition violence.
Ignoring this vital piece of information about the security landscape has helped shape a fundamentally flawed narrative of events in Syria. Furthermore, this false storyline has directly contributed to the escalation of the crisis by inciting rage against the “one-sided” violence of the regime, and emboldening opponents with a misplaced “righteousness” that kills legitimate debate on Syria.