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Two Brothers Wage Media War for Syrian Rebels

  • Rudi Bakhtiar

ANTAKYA, Turkey — As the Syrian uprising rages on, the rebel Free Syria Army is getting some technological help from young Syrians living outside the country. Two brothers are risking their lives to aid the rebels in what they call “the media war” against the Syrian government.

It’s a dangerous trek across the Turkish border into Syria. With the Turkish military patrolling one side and Syrian rebel fighters on the other, the risk of being caught up in the conflict is extremely high.

But for Syrian Ayman Al Haddad, 29, it’s a risk he is willing to take.

“I have to find a way to go inside and make something for those people who [Syrian President] Bashar Assad killed them," says Al Haddad. "So I think that I cannot carry gun, but I can bring them some technology - we are not just in a gun machine war, we are in a media war and in a media war it means you need technology. You have to use technology.”

Al Haddad is helping Syrian opposition activists get their stories communicated outside the country. On a recent journey into Syria, Al Haddad brought satellite phones and computers to the Free Syrian Army, so they can transmit pictures and video.

Media coverage inside Syria is limited to state-run broadcasts. International reporting is spotty as Syria does not allow foreign reporters to roam freely, leaving the foreigners to cover the stories illicitly.

So, Al Haddad says, it up to the Free Syrian Army to tell their stories.

“They need good coverage from the media," he says. "Till now the media is not covering well. It’s only covering a few parts from Syria."

Al Haddad's brother, Abood, 18, lives and travels with the Free Syrian Army, documenting scenes from the frontlines and sending information to his older brother to distribute.

Al Haddad says his brother, seen here injured during a fierce attack on the FSA, is his hero.

“Today we must document everything in this revolution," he says. "Everybody killed. Every woman killed."

Al Haddad says the Free Syrian Army must publicize their plight. And he says rebels must tell of their lack of military training.

“I saw these brave people that they don’t have any experience with the guns, any experience with war, because it’s really war,” he added.

Al Haddad vows to continue the media war. “I will stay helping my people in my county," he says. "I have no choice. I have to. They are my family."

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