Rebel groups recently overtook the Armenian-Christian populated town of Kessab in Syria. The media covered reports of destroyed churches and killed citizens, but the devastation recorded may not have occurred.
While Islamist rebels did infiltrate the town in an effort to drive out government forces there, one rebel shot a video of a Christian church in the town showing no harm done to the structure. “The jihadist brothers do not harm anyone. This is our religion and this is our Islam,” he said.
In another video, rebels shout reassuring words at three elderly Christian people althought the Christians appear confused and somewhat afraid.
TIME reported that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has recorded no civilian deaths in the struggle. It seems that the resident fled the scene of attack in advance.
The Islamist rebel groups seem to be aware of their negative perception in the media and are making an effort to portray their tactics as a promotion of human rights.
Another signed by three different rebel group circulated online saying, “Considering the interests and well-being of the Syrian population are our most important priorities, we confirm our commitment to international human rights law by focusing on military targets and protecting all civil institutions including schools, hospitals, places of worship, and houses.”