Syrians find unlikely humour in truce

A cartoon showing men firing into the air Image copyright Facebook/Alaa Rostom
Image caption "To celebrate the cease fire..." A cartoon by the expatriate Syrian cartoonist Alaa Rostom

Even as the partial truce came into effect in Syria, many Syrians were already expressing their scepticism about it online.

One popular video was posted on Facebook was supposedly filmed only minutes after the start of the "cessation of hostilities" brokered by US and Russia.

The video titled "Jokes over truce from the battles frontline" shows a night time scene featuring a man wearing a military jacket, with a rifle hanging from his shoulder and his back towards the camera, as he waves into the darkness.

The man appears to be challenging an unseen and possibly non existent fighter on the other side. "Oh soldier, Ooh soldier, shoot me if you can, shoot me," he says standing in total darkness, waving his hand.

"The truce has started, shoot me if you dare. Can you hit me, can you? The entire United Nations [countries] will stand by my side [if you shoot me]." Another man, possibly the person filming him, is heard laughing in the background.

Image copyright Facebook/Akhabr al-Hawin bi Dimashq
Image caption The satirical video features an anonymous soldier daring an unseen enemy to break the partial truce.

"Show me your face. I won't shoot you because it is a truce. The truce started at midnight, and now it is five minutes into the truce," he adds using a comedy accent similar to that used by actors in a famous Syrian soap opera.

The video has been viewed more than 94,000 times on Facebook alone. And because the man cannot be identified and his affiliation is unclear the video has been shared by both supporters and opponents of the Syrian government - though some comments have expressed view that the man belongs to the opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA).

A typical comment reads: "Ha ha ha, you are a hero. May God bless you". Many of the comments express scepticism that the cessation will bring any benefit to the ordinary Syrian population. "A Truce!!! A truce between who if I may ask? Is it between Obama and Putin, with all the Syrian people as its victims? This is really funny. May God support this country for what it has been going through…", a comment on Facebook reads.

Image copyright Facebook/Revolutionary Forces of Syria/Ali Ferzat
Image caption "Truce" blocks the tank barrel of the Syrian opposition while the government and its foreign allies remain free to fire in this cartoon.

Another Facebook page of a Syrian opposition group has shared a cartoon by a well-known Syrian cartoonist, in which it appears to be criticising the agreement between Washington and Moscow. It shows that Assad's allies continue fighting while the other side, the armed opposition groups, need to abide by the truce. It represents a narrative by opposing groups who believe the ceasefire has been tailored to preserve the interest of the government in Syria and its allies.


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Despite all the misfortune in the country since the beginning of the war in 2011, Syrians have not lost their sense of humour and have used it to express their doubts about whether any agreement to end the violence can work.

One Syrian journalist sarcastically wrote on his Facebook page: "People from Homs came out to watch the truce" - a remark which seems to play on a strain of Syrian humour in which residents of Homs are characterised as being stupid. The journalist had earlier posted a rhetorical question that reflected his scepticism about the cessation of hostilities: "Does this mean that after the truce takes effect, we can organize demonstrations calling for the downfall of the regime in areas that have rebelled [against it]?"

Another Facebook user posted that after only two hours the partial truce had "turned into a sieve due to the amount of holes poked in it."

A post by a different Facebook user mocked the mixed feelings over the partial truce , saying: "One of my friends on Facebook has two accounts, one in support of Da'ish and the other in support of the revolution. One account supports the truce and the other is against it."

And a parody account of Syrian President Assad tweeted saying; "Our army will throw ten barrels on every Syrian city in celebration of the start of the ceasefire truce". The cartoon on the top of the page is a reference to this dark humour.

A few people however have not lost all hope . "Hopefully the truce continues because both sides are now tired, only people are losing" says one on Facebook. "I hope the situation remains like this", says another.

Blog by: Nooshin Soluch

Reporting by BBC Monitoring Middle East team

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