Kim Kardashian Gets Involved in Syria's Social Media War


On March 30, Kim Kardashian tweeted the following:

Twitter screenshot

The celebrity, who is of Armenian descent, was drawing attention to the predominantly ethnically Armenian-populated town of Kassab in northern Syria, which was captured by rebels, including Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra, late last month.

Credit: David Shankbone/wikimedia

Kardashian was only one of the Twitter users using the #SaveKessab hashtag to highlight atrocities such as mass killings and the desecrations of churches carried out in the town by rebels.

However, Kardashian and many others on Twitter who thought they were drawing attention to a recent horror committed by some of Assad's opposition were in fact probably perpetuating a myth that may have been started by supporters of Assad.

From the Associated Press:

Kassab's residents fled after rebels seized their village on March 23, as part of a rebel offensive in the coastal Syrian province of Latakia, Assad's ancestral heartland.

There are no credible reports that rebels killed any residents, or that they inflicted major damage on churches.

The Daily Beast explains that one of the images of a supposed victim of violence in Kassab is from a horror film; another shows the body of a decapitated girl who was killed in 2012, not recently.

There have been atrocities carried out by some of Assad's opposition in the Latakia province before. In October Human Rights Watch released a report on the killings of civilians in Latakia.

Kardashian's tweet is one of the most prominent examples of how social media is being used in Syria's civil war. Whether it be Assad's Instagram account or the jihadist opposition group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria live-tweeting an amputation, social media is being used by different actors in the conflict to disseminate propaganda.