The wrong virus

star-BBCFree Syrian ArmyDa’esh or FSA. Does it matter?

A photograph suits an agenda and becomes viral. Sometimes, even frequently, the graphic doesn’t show what those sharing in the social media think it does. The BBC seems to have caught one of these. How we wish the BBC would show such an eagle eye for Palestinian fauxtography and Pallywood.

Not IDaesh but FSA. Does it matter?

The viral graphic.

Do you sense a BBC smirk?

According to the BBC in This viral photo falsely claims to show an IS fighter posing as a refugee the gent with the scar, in the above photographs, is a former Free Syrian Army commander. If he is not not Da’esh therefore by implication he is a ‘goody’. Another argument against open borders has fallen.

So often the BBC fails to consider the consequences of their statements.

If he is a former combatant, how can he be a legitimate refugee? The definition of refugee in Article 1. the 1951 UNHCR Convention does not apply to those for whom there are serious reasons for considering that they have committed war crimes or crimes against humanity, serious non-political crimes, or are guilty of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

There are accusations of use by the FSA of child soldiers – a war crime and allegations of bribery and extortion. Who has checked out this man?

Can a soldier be a refugee?

The BBC assures us he is only a former combatant but what does this mean in this context? Is he no longer an FSA commander – not even a simple fighter, because he left the battle field, resigned his commission or because his army was defeated? Perhaps he retired on pension?

Even if not guilty of a specific war crime can combatants in a war legitimately claim refugee status? Surely the refugee convention excludes them?

It’s not that they fall through the cracks. The Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949 has rules for their humane treatment.

Extra credit

About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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