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July 31, 2013 11:07 am

Syria’s Assad Opens Instagram Account Featuring Fawning Photos of the Dictator Amidst Civil War

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avatar by Zach Pontz

Photo of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad enjoying a cup of tea. Photo: Syrianpresidency instagram account.

Amid all the bloodshed in his country, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad still found time to get in on the social media craze. Last week, as his forces were killing scores of Syrian civilians, an account in the name of “Syrianpresidency” was launched on the photo-sharing site Instagram.

In most of the photos posted on the new account Assad and his wife, Asma, can be seen happily greeting and mingling with civilians, apparently blind to the two-year-old civil war ravaging Syria, where estimates of the number of dead now surpass 100,000 people.

Amnesty International UK Syria campaign manager, Kristyan Benedict, told The UK’s Daily Mail: “On one level you’d have to say that it’s not surprising to find any government, even the rigid and oppressive one in Damascus, using social media to broadcast and frame its own narrow world view.”

“Image obviously matters in a cult of personality and the illusion of relative stability is important in President Assad’s ‘love me or I’ll kill you’ strategy,” Benedict said.

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“Naturally, we’ll find no trace here of the horrifying reality on the ground in Syria – of the torture chambers or places of execution. Seeing the Assads in hospitals only reminds you of the fact that Syrian government hospitals have been used as places of torture. No amount of photos or tweets or Facebook posts will ever wash away the stain on the Syrian government’s record.”

Photos from the Assad Instagram account can be viewed below.

Syrian President Bashar-al Assad and wife Asma greeting children. Photo: Syrianpresidency instagram account.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad waving to an admiring crowd. Photo: Syrianpresidency Instagram account.

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