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      Syrian Jihadists Enlist Teletubbies to Win Over the Public

      Syria’s jihadist rebels are giving away toys to children, in an attempt to win over the hearts of Syrians.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 8/14/2013, 6:13 AM

      Rebels clash with Syrian government forces
      Rebels clash with Syrian government forces
      AFP photo

      Syria’s jihadist rebels, in an attempt to win over the hearts of Syrians, have enlisted some unusual help: The Teletubbies and Spiderman.

      The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Al-Qaeda-allied rebel factions, that are pushing into Syria, are endeavoring to project a softer, fuzzier image. That endeavor recently included, for example, a family fair in rebel-controlled Aleppo, complete with ice cream eating contests and sermons about jihad.

      Now, reported the newspaper, Al-Qaeda’s campaign for Syrian hearts and minds apparently includes toy give-aways, some of them a bit surprising for a group dedicated to total war against Western culture.

      A video posted on The Washington Post’s website shows a gathering held in Aleppo over the weekend for the Eid al-Fitr religious holiday.

      The event, held by the Al-Qaeda-allied faction Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, appears to be a combination of Al-Qaeda sermonizing – mostly to children – and a toy giveaway.

      The toys that this al-Qaeda group set aside to distribute include Spiderman dolls and Teletubbies, the video shows.

      Arutz Sheva recently reported that another rebel group, the Al-Nusra Front which has pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda, is trying to improve its image in the eyes of the Syrian public by holding public shows which include stand-up comedy routines.

      Members of Al-Nusra and other rebel groups have committed atrocities during the Syrian civil war, including publicly beheading a Catholic priest who was accused of collaborating with Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.

      Al-Nusra was once was the largest faction in the Islamist Front for the Liberation of Syria (ISIS), the 13-member rebel coalition that broke away from the main opposition force and has declared its own Islamic state in Aleppo.