Free Syrian Army "set monitor and journalist up to be killed"
Published Saturday, June 9, 2012
The Free Syrian army set up a leading Western journalist and an Arab League observer to be killed by regime forces as it would help the opposition win the propaganda war, it has been claimed.
Alex Thomson, chief correspondent of the British Channel Four News, said that he was “quite sure” armed Syrian rebels deliberately sent him and his colleagues down a path protected by Syrian government snipers as "dead journos are bad for Damascus."
He later tweeted that an Arab League observer, brought in to monitor the situation on the ground, had been set up in a similar manner.
Thomson's car came under intense fire, but they were able to escape down the path from which they came.
The British journalist said he had been led down the route by opposition rebels, despite having originally wanted to go a safer path.
“We are led another route. Led in fact, straight into a free-fire zone. Told by the Free Syrian Army to follow a road that was blocked off in the middle of no-man’s-land,” he wrote.
“I’m quite clear the rebels deliberately set us up to be shot by the Syrian Army. Dead journos are bad for Damascus," he added.
An Arab League Observer tells me he too was 'set up' in same way by Syrian rebels in al Zabadani
— alex thomson (@alextomo) June 9, 2012
The killing of Western journalists in Homs last year, including Sunday Times correspondent Marie Colvin, led to increased pressure on President Assad, with Western governments intensifying their criticism of the regime after the deaths.
Damascus has long argued that it is fighting a foreign-backed insurgency, funded by hostile states such as Saudi Arabia, the United States and Qatar.
The opposition has refuted such claims and the battle over coverage in the Western and Gulf-owned media has been crucial in the wider portrayal of the crisis.
Earlier this year Al-Jazeera's correspondent in Syria Ali Hashem resigned over the Qatari-owned channel's coverage of Syria, after editors refused to show a video he had filmed showing opposition fighters.