Several hours after reports of an attack on a facility in northern Syria emerged early on the morning of September 7th the BBC News website published a report that was originally titled “Israeli jets ‘hit Syrian chemical site'”. After an additional alteration, that headline was later changed to read “‘Israeli jets hit Syria’s Masyaf chemical site’ – reports” and in the hours after its initial publication the article underwent numerous amendments.
From version five of the report onwards, BBC audiences were delivered a dose of Syrian regime propaganda – including a link.
“The Syrian army said rockets had struck the base near Masyaf, about 35km (22 miles) west of the city of Hama, at 02:42 on Thursday (23:42 GMT on Wednesday), causing “material damage” and the deaths of two personnel.
It accused Israel of attacking “in a desperate attempt to raise the collapsed morale” of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) and warned Israel about “the dangerous repercussions of such hostile acts on the security and stability of the region”.”
This is of course far from the first time that BBC reporting on alleged Israeli strikes against military targets in Syria has included amplification of the Assad regime’s unfounded propaganda concerning supposed Israeli support for one or other of its enemy factions and intervention in the civil war in Syria. That practice has been in evidence for well over four years:
One presumes – and hopes – that BBC knows full well that such statements from the Syrian regime are mere baseless propaganda and yet it continues to serially feed those unqualified falsehoods to its audiences.
Similarly, readers of this article once again found amplification of Assad’s lies concerning another issue.
“The attack comes a day after UN human rights investigators said they had concluded a Syrian Air Force jet had dropped a bomb containing the nerve agent Sarin on a rebel-held town in April, killing at least 83 people.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said the incident in Khan Sheikhoun – which prompted the US to launch a missile strike on an airbase – was a “fabrication”.
He has also insisted his forces destroyed their entire chemical arsenal under a deal brokered by the US and Russia after a Sarin attack outside Damascus in 2013.”
Clearly the BBC is not enhancing audience understanding of events in Syria (or its own reputation as a credible and relevant media outlet) by parroting the unchallenged propaganda of a brutal regime that has killed hundreds of thousands of its own citizens and displaced millions.