Journalist Alex Thomson reports that Syrian rebels set him and his crew up to be killed by Syrian troops in a bid to show Damascus in a negative light.
Thomson, a chief correspondent for Channel 4 news, says he and his group were deliberately given incorrect directions by a group of Syrian rebels. As a result, their car entered a free-fire zone, where the road ahead was blocked off, and started receiving shots presumably fired by the Syrian army, who thought the vehicle belonged to rebels.
“Suddenly four men in a black car beckon us to follow,” he wrote on the channel’s website. “We move out behind. We are led another route. Led in fact, straight into a free-fire zone. Told by the Free Syrian Army to follow a road that was blocked off in the middle of no-man’s land.”
They then tried to escape the attack by driving onto a nearby side-street, but it turned out to be dead end. Eventually, they returned to the road where the group of rebels had seen them off.
“Predictably the black car was there which had led us to the trap. They roared off as soon as we re-appeared,” Thomson noted.
Thomson said he was sure the rebels were eager to get him and his crew killed in order to have the international community blame Damascus for the death of Western reporters.
“I’m quite clear the rebels deliberately set us up to be shot by the Syrian army. Dead journos are bad for Damascus,” he stated.
Thomson’s mission to Syria was unique in a way, as he was reporting on both sides of the conflict, interviewing both Assad loyalists and rebels. In fact, he was in the country on a legal visa, issued by the Syrian government.