Pro-Assad page claims Syria and Iran engineered Hurricane Sandy

October 30, 2012

Firefighters work at the scene of a house fire in the storm's aftermath in Lindenhurst, N.Y. (AP)

Among the many global reactions to Hurricane Sandy's impact on the U.S. East Coast, this one might be the most amusing. Syrian Army News, a pro-regime Facebook page, announced that anti-Western "resistance" forces working under President Bashar al-Assad and under the Iranian government secretly engineered the natural disaster using "highly advanced technology." It describes the hurricane as a punishment for threatening Assad's Syria.

Here's the English translation:

Sources confirm that hurricane Sandy, now buffeting the U.S., was carried out by highly advanced technology developed by the heroic Iranian regime, in coordination with our resistant regime. These sources have also confirmed that experts from Syria have contributed in carrying out this work. This is the consequence of attacking Assad's Syria and threatening its security.

The post attracted over a thousand comments and was shared over a thousand times. Though some users expressed support, much of the commentary appears to be mocking and derisive. The most common comment was a simple string of "haha." Many made references to donkeys. 

Pro-regime Syrians are extremely active on social media, particularly Facebook, where they disseminate pro-Assad propaganda (not all of which is quite so fantastically absurd), attack sites they perceive as anti-Assad, and sometimes use phishing scams to secure personal information about anti-regime Syrians. Some of these online networks appear to maintain links directly to the Syrian government, though they also likely operate with a high degree of self-sufficiency.

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Olga Khazan | October 30, 2012