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Fighting in Aleppo makes headlines in Tehran

Conservative news outlets in Iran celebrate victories of the Syrian army in Aleppo.
Supporters of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad carry their national flags as they celebrate what they say is the Syrian army's victory against the rebels, in Aleppo, Syria December 12, 2016. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki - RTX2UQKE

The Syrian army operation to retake the last opposition-controlled eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo received full coverage by Iranian media in recent days. Most conservative and official outlets in Tehran showed their support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in covering the news.

Iran's Press TV reported Dec. 12 that the residents of Aleppo took to the streets to “celebrate the official announcement of the city’s full liberation.” On its website, Press TV posted videos of Syrian people showing the "V" sign, waving flags and dancing in the streets. The semi-official Fars News Agency on Dec. 13 quoted anonymous sources “from the ground” saying “only 2% of eastern neighborhoods have not been freed yet” in Aleppo.

Iranian print media also hailed the news of the Syrian army retaking control of eastern Aleppo. On Dec. 13, the Iranian state broadcaster’s newspaper Jam-e Jam on its front page carried a large photo of pro-Assad militants wielding Kalashnikov assault rifles and holding a Syrian flag. Under the headline “Countdown to freedom of Aleppo,” the daily wrote, “It started by 95%, then it increased to 96% and 97%, and now it is at 98%. This is the percentage of the land in Aleppo [that has] been freed, according to regional media.” Jam-e Jam continued, “If the news is true, then the ecocultural heart of Syria and the country’s second-biggest city will soon be entirely free from the terrorists’ grip.” 

The conservative daily Javan chose the headline “One more assault to conquer Aleppo” for its front page. The daily also analyzed the move by [the Islamic State] to recapture the ancient city of Palmyra. By echoing Russian authorities' remarks, Javan put the blame on Americans for the fall of the city. The daily added, “Syrian politicians have stressed that they will keep focus on Aleppo, despite the attack on Palmyra, which took place with the green light of Western powers.”

Khorasan daily led its coverage of the news with the headline “Aleppo Freed,” and celebrated the latest development in Syria as “the greatest victory of the Syrian army against the takfiris,” referring to Syrian opposition groups by an Arabic term. "Takfiri" in Arabic means a Muslim who accuses another Muslim of apostasy. Moreover, the daily reported that the Syrian army “evacuated over 4,000 civilians” from the battleground and “provided shelters to accommodate them.”

The moderate center-right newspaper Jomhouri-e Eslami chose the same headline as Khorasan daily and said, “As the sounds of [President] Barack Obama’s steps leaving the White House turn louder, the sound of Obama’s ‘moderate terrorists’ being crushed in Aleppo is booming.” The daily suggested, “Resistance is the only way to fight back against takfiri terrorists, who have swept across Syria.” Jomhouri-e Eslami continued, “Negotiating with the supporters of terrorism without resistance on the ground gets [us] nowhere. What has happened in Aleppo could be a model for how to handle terrorists in Syria.”

Resalat, another conservative daily, put the percentage of freed territory in eastern Aleppo at 97%. With the headline “West’s bones crushed in Syria,” the daily said, “Victories of the Syrian army over takfiri terrorists have cut off the breath of the West, Saudis and Turkey.”

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