Syrian Facebook video mocks U.S. aid


Free Syrian Army fighters stand guard at a checkpoint in Idlib province, Syria. (AP/Hussein Malla)

A video that surfaced on Syrian Facebook on Tuesday confirms what many opposition leaders have said already: Syrian rebels are unimpressed by the U.S. promise of direct non-lethal aid.

John Kerry's Feb. 28 announcement of the $60 million aid package, which would include food rations and medical supplies, reversed U.S. policy on the Syrian issue and provoked ire elsewhere in the Middle East. But the aid won't put weapons in rebels' hands, a complaint repeated often by the various spokesmen of the rebel coalition and parodied, somewhat hilariously, in this video.

The clip shows a man "fighting" an unseen combatant with a spray water bottle as the sound of bullets plays in the background. Facebook users have shared the video more than 700 times and left nearly 100 comments mocking the aid package, praying for more help, or just "LOL"-ing at its absurdity.

The Arabic caption says, loosely, "the arrival of the first batch of non-lethal weapons in Homs."

Several factions of Syria's opposition coalition have come out against the package in the past week, complaining the aid is "too little, too late."

“If the international community really wanted to make a stop to this crisis then they would provide real support to the FSA, not meals,” Fahad al-Masri, the spokesman of the Free Syria Army, told The Independent last week.

"While the allies of the Syrian people have pledged little more than cautious words, the allies of the Syrian regime supply Bashar al-Assad with a steady stream of military support," Salim Idris, the chief of staff of Syrian Military Joint Command, noted in an op-ed for Foreign Policy. He goes on to argue: "The United States' hands-off approach in Syria is only exacerbating the conflict by allowing anti-American and extremist elements to gain a stronger foothold in the country."

On social media, the criticism seems less far-sighted, but just as angry.

"It is a shame that ... [was all] the civilized world can do for Syria and the Syrians," one woman commented on the Facebook page Syrian Days of Rage. "What a shame."

In an interview with ABC News, Kerry said the U.S. had not necessarily ruled lethal aid out.

 

Caitlin Dewey runs The Intersect blog, writing about digital and Internet culture. Before joining the Post, she was an associate online editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
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Caitlin Dewey · March 7, 2013