BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:50 P.M.) – As pro-government forces continue to roll back the Islamic State frontier in eastern Syria and as it becomes more apparent with each passing day that so-called “opposition” groups in western Syria cannot hope to win the war, anti-Assad cyber activists and media outlets have taken it upon themselves to report fake ISIS advances in order to at least make the strategic situation sound better for their mostly jihadist sympathizing audiences.
Since the beginning of this year, there has been a significant increase in the amount of fake major ISIS advances being reported. Interestingly enough, such reports have not been disseminated by Islamic State-linked media outlets, but instead by pro-rebel sources which claim to be both anti-ISIS and anti-Assad.
For all of its vile promotion of sectarian hatred and jihadist idealism as well as its claiming of bloated enemy casualty statistics, the ISIS-linked Amaq media outlet remains exceptionally honest about reporting advances on the ground in Syria.
The most drastic claim came at the beginning of this year when pro-rebel media sources reported that a massive ISIS offensive – apparently involving thousands of jihadist fighters dressed as Syrian troops – in southeast Aleppo Governorate resulted in the terrorist group capturing the strategic garrison town of Khanasser from pro-government forces and besieging them in Aleppo city.
One popular Syrian War interactive map site with pro-jihadist moderators actually reported this as fact despite Amaq – generally desperate to claim any victory, no matter how small – itself not even confirming the information.
Since then, pro-opposition media has made more fake reports on large ISIS counteroffensives as the battles for Palmyra, east Hama, south Raqqa and Deir Ezzor have unfolded. Again none of it was ever confirmed by Amaq or any other ISIS-linked media sources.
To give one more example, as the Syrian Army approached the western gates of Palmyra back in late-February, a number of pro-rebel sources started to make claims that a huge ISIS counteroffensive had suddenly pushed back pro-government forces over 12 kilometers, utterly destroying the 5th Assault Corps, and that the terrorist group was preparing further operations to march on the city of Homs. In the event, none of it was even remotely true.
The intended effect of reporting such blatant lies can be found in the jubilant pro-ISIS responses to the reports on Twitter and Facebook coming from accounts (some of them quite popular) that pose as being humanitarian-orientated and even pro-Kurdish.
Thus, here can be found a rather perverted attempt by pro-opposition media agencies to raise the morale of anti-Assad activists around the world by giving them hope that ISIS is defeating the Syrian Army – something which their adored “moderate” rebel groups repeatedly failed to do in Aleppo, Hama, Homs and Damascus.