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.