Syria

Syria's President Joins Instagram

What filter goes best with human rights abuses?

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It's not quite as epic as posing with a tiger a la Vladimir Putin. But Syria's Bashar al-Assad has joined Instagram and the photos are propagandastically fantastic.

No ugly images of bloody battle fields taint the feed of the president caught in the middle of a brutal civil war. Instead, it's photo after photo of him and his wife being caring—and being loved.

There's al-Assad talking to a little girl by the side of a hospital bed. There's his wife wiping away a little boy's tear. There's al-Assad intently listening to a group of women. There's his wife intently listening to a group of women. And lots of pictures of him being mobbed, greeted, hugged by adoring masses.