Hours earlier, before the ISIS raid, Fares’s Media Center broadcast a radio program featuring Syrian women discussing their recent divorces. All too much for the takfiris, who abducted six of Fares’s employees (they were released two hours later) and stole or smashed the center’s computers and broadcasting equipment. “The reason Kafranbel became important is because it’s been persistently and consistently supporting the revolution in all of its aspects—whether it’s the nonviolent revolution or the armed revolution or the humanitarian and civil society work,” Fares told us. “The regime, when we would say something in opposition to them, they’d shell us. ISIS, when we made a drawing against them—the first in June of this year—they wanted to attack us, so they came and raided the Media Center. At the end of the day, they’re both the same. They’re both tyrants.” (Not long after this interview, which took place as Fares was touring the United States, ISIS tried to assassinate him in Idlib. He was shot several times but recovered from his injuries.)
Whatever the perversion or barbarity, ISIS has a ready-made justification. The salability of its dark vision cannot be underestimated. Recently, the US State Department created a Twitter account called “Think Again Turn Away.” It tweets photographs of ISIS atrocities and casualties and links to news stories describing them. It also engages with pro-ISIS accounts, in effect trolling them. Thus, in opposition to @OperationJihad, who wrote to no one in particular, quoting a jihadist anthem, “We have nothing to achieve in this world, except martyrdom, [i]n the mountains we will be buried and snow will be our shroud,” the State Department rejoined: “Much more honorable to give a Syrian child a pair of boots than drive him from his home into snow w/your quest for death.” @OperationJihad didn’t bother to reply.