Syria's Untold Story

Fighting continues between rebel fighters and government forces on the doorstep to Damascus where the pictures and stories of those opposing the Assad regime are gripping and unsettling. Those who argue Bashar Assad does have support get little traction and little serious attention dismissed as propagandists. Are we missing something?



Part One of The Current

Satire

It's Tuesday, January 31st.

Trying to calm the fears of seniors, the Harper government says all those on Old Age Security today will continue to collect without any change.

Currently, everybody else is SCREWED.

This is The Current.

Syria's Untold Story - Reporter Jonathan Steele

We are becoming use to hearing the sounds of protesters from around the Arab world, calling for dictators to step down and clear the way for freedom and democracy. But the chants you just heard are from a rally in support of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, held in the heart of the capital city of Damascus. They're saying Day and night, we are with you Bashar.

The sentiment on display at that rally and others like it stand in stark contrast to what we see playing out in the news on a daily basis. Yesterday, the U.S. White House said the regime in Syria has lost control and will eventually fall.

Meanwhile, the Arab League - backed by the United States, Britain and France - is pushing the UN Security Council to act on an Arab peace plan that would call for President Assad to leave office. (Watch the U.N. today for that story to play out). Some say the anti-Assad sentiment on the ground in Syria may actually be less widespread than we think.

A little publicized poll commissioned last month by the Qatar-based Doha Debates showed that 55% of Syrians actually want President Assad to stay. Our next guest says this is an indication that there's more to the Syrian conflict than meets the eye - and that the media may not be giving us the full picture. Jonathan Steele is the former chief correspondent for the The UK-based Guardian newspaper. He wrote a column for the paper this month entitled Most Syrians back President Assad, but you'd never know from western media. Jonathan Steele was in our London studio this morning.

Syria's Untold Story - CBC's Margaret Evans

The CBC's Margaret Evans is one of the few international journalists who have managed to get into Syria. The regime banned most foreign media when the uprisings began in March. She's spoken to both supporters and opponents and watched as the conflict grows more violent. Margaret Evans is a long time middle east correspondent now based in London.

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