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29 Dec, 2011 21:07

Syrian information controversy: who to trust?

The presence of Arab League observers in Syria has revealed an information controversy in the country. With activists claiming new casualties every day and the observers reporting “nothing frightening,” the question arises: who should we trust?

After the report from Homs, the epicenter of nine months of violent clashes between government forces and the opposition, where Arab League observers did not find anything shocking, it has been reported that the observers have split into groups and are now visiting three more hotspots. Meanwhile, opposition have activists reported some more 30 civilian deaths on Thursday.

Afshin Rattansi, a journalist who has worked in the region, says that Syria should definitely allow journalists in to cover the events because the Western media’s view is that we should believe the opposition groups.

“Thousands of Syrian soldiers are dying and they haven’t died because of peaceful protests,” he pointed out.

Speaking of the credibility of the Arab League reports, Rattansi said that although “we had great hopes for the Arab League,” the delegation of this body has “its own politics.”

Rattansi believes that the key reason the conflict is unfolding in Syria, and not in Bahrain or Saudi Arabia where there are plenty of human rights violations, is because the country has been a strong supporter of liberation movements in the Middle East.

“Syria has stood up for the human rights of Arab peoples in the region,” he stated.