One of the most active Facebook pages promoting the electoral slogans of the president of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad, was suddenly taken down, after a vague statement, circulated by official media, that disavowed the page.
Over the past few days, a page entitled “Sawa 2021” gained traction, as it spread the same electoral slogan that Assad proposed in the 2014 elections. “Sawa 2021” was promoting Assad as the sole and legitimate presidential candidate and its posts were circulated by official media staff. Content included a professionally shot, yet ludicrous, video clip that showcased resilience in the face of the global conspiracy and portrayed the war in Syria as a card game during which Arab and Western countries plot against Syria, only to get brought down by the regime’s “steadfastness.”
The page would regularly post backstage content from the Presidential Palace and other exclusive video clips. The page liked that of the media advisor and director of the media office of Assad [Luna al-Shibl].
The degree of affiliation of the page to the president is still unclear, but the content strategy suggested that it might have been an official page.
On Tuesday evening, semi-official media quoted sources they described as unambiguous that the Sawa 2021 page does not reflect any official activity regarding the presidential elections. There was a reminder about what pages are pro-regime, and the Sawa 2021 page was immediately deleted.
The interest of the Presidential Palace in a particular page on social media does not go without notice. The presidency even issued a statement about the page, using its name, which remains out of the ordinary. What is surprising is that the page was deleted in conjunction with the release of the statement. Pro-regime Russia Today pointed out that “a number of journalists whom Assad met with recently had contributed to promoting the page, in what appeared to be a kind of preparation for the upcoming elections, for which no date has been set, although its preparations are scheduled to start in mid-April.”
Perhaps there was a lack of coordination that led to the early launch of the campaign, as the leaks of Assad’s meeting with his media staff last month indicated that the date for the launch of the election campaign will not be before next March. Alternatively, it could have been that Sawa 2021 did not achieve the required level of dissemination and effectiveness and was met with a huge amount of ridicule because of the stiff and abrasive tone of voice that it adopted in its daily posts [and that is why it was taken down].
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.