British Media Softened Public Image of Terrorists in Syria - Report

"The Canary" British website yesterday published a report revealing attempts by  British media to mislead the public opinion by giving favorable coverage to terrorist groups in Syria and presenting them as "moderate opposition". The website shed light on the British Channel 4 News coverage to " Nour al-din al-Zenki " terrorist movement.

" Nour al-din al-Zenki " and other terrorist groups with Wahhabi extremist thinking are fully linked to the Turkish regime which has been facilitating the infiltration of mercenary terrorists into Syria across the Turkish borders in order to commit massacres and all forms of crimes against civilians under unacceptable takfiri pretexts that have nothing to do with human values, and tolerant Islam.

"In what is possibly the most shameful Western reporting to come out of Syria recently, a popular British news channel gave positive coverage to known child murderers, and is now hiding its own report from public view," The Canary said.


It added that "on Wednesday 5 October, Channel 4 News published a report from Aleppo via its official social media channels. The video report entitled "Inside Aleppo" was presumably featured earlier on Channel 4’s live broadcast. But it has since been removed from public access in what appears to be Channel 4’s censoring of its own embarrassing and disturbing content."  

Astute observers on social media, however, had been quick to save the news segment before it disappeared, the website noted.

Uncritical coverage of  so-called ‘moderates’ in Syria

According to "The Canary", in the segment, Channel 4’s correspondent is embedded with the Nour al-din al-Zenki terror movement  and provides narration of the action. Surprisingly, the narrator consistently describes the Zenki group as “moderates” – even going so far as to describe the core of the group as initially formed by “farmers and factory workers”.

The website clarified that "al-Zenki was the same terror group that received broad media coverage in July 2016 for the brutal beheading of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy named Abdullah Issa. The boy had been kidnapped from a hospital. His public decapitation with a small knife by Zenki terrorists was filmed and subsequently uploaded to the internet."

"The Canary" went on to say that "the barbaric act and celebratory nature of those who filmed themselves carrying out the crime caused a stir in Washington, as Zenki had been a CIA-vetted group receiving heavy weaponry from the West. A tense State Department briefing ensued, with Associated Press and other reporters demanding accountability from the US government, which had previously been openly supportive of the group."

War crimes glossed over

"Even after knowledge of Zenki’s crimes had gone viral, Channel 4 clearly chose to feature this group as representing ‘moderates’ in Syria. And it didn’t once ask the group about the beheading of a child which was, by that time, known around the world," said the website.

In fact, the website added, Amnesty International had issued a report in July condemning Zenki’s crimes, describing the group as having: "truly plumbed the depths of depravity".

But Channel 4 didn’t only embed itself within Zenki, said the website, adding that "the channel also gave favorable coverage to two of the very terrorist leaders who directly carried out the child’s beheading. In a 19 August article, The Canary was the first Western news outlet to identify one of them as Umar Salkho."

Channel 4’s October report featured Salkho throughout. It even uncritically captured a movement where Salkho verbalises plans to attack a bakery as he looks at a map. Amazingly, the narrator rationalises this proposed attack on a civilian target simply as: "their way of defending East Aleppo is to hit back", said the website.

Live broadcast segment removed

It went on to say that "the Channel 4 footage may have actually captured other war crimes in the making, too. The final scene featured Zenki members capturing civilians, including young children, from a pro-government area. In the scene, the Channel 4 correspondent notes that the first question asked of one nervous civilian by a Zenki fighter was about his ethnic identity. The trucks then carry the civilians away to an unknown fate."

"On 7 October, Channel 4 hid the video report, marking it as “private” on YouTube. This was possibly in response to an early public outcry on Twitter as people started to recognise Umar Salkho as one of the murderers of 12-year-old Abdullah Issa. The news segment had been accessible for just two days, "The Canary" said.

Hamda Mustafa