Conflict & Justice

Syria: President Assad's Instagram feed vs reality


Smoke is seen rising from buildings following alleged bombings by regime forces on the city of Daraya, southwest of the capital Damascus, on Jan. 11, 2014.


Fadi Dirani

The Syrian administration's official Instagram feed is obviously in the business of making the regime look good.

There are pictures of President Bashar al-Assad having heartfelt conversations with loyal followers and pictures of people deep in prayer.

There are plenty of pictures of Assad's stately wife, Asma, kneeling to speak to a Syrian child.


There are no pictures of the 5 million other children in need of assistance as a result of the ongoing war.

A Syrian boy in Aleppo after government forces shelled the city on Jan. 6, 2014. (Mohammed Wesam/AFP/Getty Images)


The juxtapositions speak for themselves. Jan. 10 was a good morning for Syria's first lady.


In Aleppo that same morning, a man searched through trash.

(Mohammed Wesam/AFP/Getty Images)


On Jan. 12, Assad prayed.


Elsewhere, in the city of Daraya, men tried to put out a fire after a government attack.

Daraya, southwest of the capital Damascus, Jan. 12, 2014. (Hussam Ayash/AFP/Getty Images)


On Dec. 10, the Tishreen Titans qualified for the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest finals, sponsored by IBM.


Meanwhile, winter made life harder in Aleppo for families whose homes were destroyed by fighting between government and rebel forces.

Aleppo, Dec. 13, 2013. (Mohammed al-Khatieb/AFP/Getty Images)


On Jan. 9, Asma al-Assad helped more kids.


The day before, mourners carried the body of a comrade killed during battle in Aleppo.

(Mohammed Wesam/AFP/Getty Images)


Assad's Instagram feed makes a rare reference to fighting on Jan. 9: "The First Lady spends the morning with children of martyred soldiers during their midterm exams, 9 January".


According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights at least 130,000 people have been killed since March 2011 on both sides of the conflict.

(Mohammed Wesam/AFP/Getty Images)


On Jan. 12, Assad prayed.


The day before, smoke rose from buildings after regime forces bombed the city of Daraya.

(Fadi Diran/AFP/Getty Images)


Also as Assad prayed on Jan. 12...


... a man was treated at a field hospital in Daraya after an alleged poison gas attack by Assad's troops.

(Fadi Diran/AFP/Getty Images)


Assad after he prayed on Jan. 12.


On the same day, rebel fighters stood next to the bodies of handcuffed and blindfolded men laying dead on the ground in Aleppo.

(Mahmud al-Halabi/AFP/Getty Images)