The Washington PostThe Washington Post

Influencers are whitewashing Syria's regime, with help from sponsors

By Sophie Fullerton

08 Aug 2022 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

You should read this opinion piece to understand how the Syrian regime using non-political travel bloggers to present a whitewashed image of the country devastated by civil war.

Last November, around the same time the Irish travel vlogger Janet Newenham was filming videos of her strolls through Damascus and Aleppo, five members of a family, including three children, were killed in a Russian airstrike in northwest Syria. But none of Newenham's 170,000 YouTube subscribers would have learned that from her upbeat dispatches - in her videos, Syria is not a country at war.

After a scorched-earth war - supported by Iranian forces, sectarian militias and the Russian air force - Bashar al-Assad's regime has regained control of much of Syria, but over half its population remains displaced, and the rest languish under the same suffocating terror that inspired them to rise up against the regime in 2011.

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