Assad regime TV host stops translation of Western propagandist’s comments after he unintentionally exposes Assad during interview

Sep 11, 2022

A Western propagandist for Assad’s regime, hosted on a regime TV talk show in a bid to boost the regime's image, instead unintentionally exposed Assad's media, putting the host in an embarrassing situation, and showing up the program, which is based on using foreign guests to polish Bashar al-Assad's image and put a positive spin on the real situation in the areas controlled by his militias.

The faux pas came during an appearance by Belgian writer and Assad propagandist Patrick Desart (pictured) on Al Nizam TV on Saturday, when he was hosted along with a delegation from the pro-regime Venice Association for Italian-Arab Friendship on the channel’s ‘After the War’ program.

During the program, loyalist broadcaster Elissar Maalla asked Desart about the reason for his coming to Syria. The writer responded in French, with an answer which lasted for two minutes and was enough to get Assad’s media into trouble, prompting the host to hurriedly demand that the translator refrain from translating Desart’s words into Arabic.

When Desart finished speaking, Maalla, who speaks French, felt embarrassment, and took the initiative to prevent the translator from translating his words, stopping her immediately and said: "No, don’t bother with translation… I’ll translate his words, don’t you bother," so that what the guest had actually said remained unknown to the viewers, most of whom don’t speak French.

The reason behind this behavior is due to the content of Desart’s reply, in which he said that he had received an invitation from a Belgian organization to visit Syria despite being advised by many, including his family members, that he might not return because they felt he was “going to a country ruled by a ruthless dictator,” in his words.

Desart said that he justified this risk by visiting only areas controlled by Assad’s forces, saying that he’s engaged in a project to write a book about Syria, and had discussed this project with a number of people during the visit.

Any claim or acknowledgement that Assad is a ruthless dictator responsible for killing journalists (amongst others), that journalists only visit regime areas, or that these areas are heavily controlled by regime forces is strictly forbidden on regime media, even when the individual is mocking this claim, as Desart was.

This was not the only slip embarrassing the host, with one of the Italian guests going further and providing more blatantly false information flagrant even by regime standards about the health sectors in Syria and Italy in front of the announcer.

During his attempts to defend the criminality of Assad’s militias, Italian regime supporter and engineer Paolo Casillo, the head of the Venice Association for Italian-Arab Friendship and head of the delegation, claimed that there were more than 100 hospitals for children in Syria before 2011.

Casillo added that to date in Italy there are only three hospitals for children, according to the translation provided by Assad's media, with the blatant nature of these lies shocking many even among the loyalists themselves.

At the beginning of this year, the regime's ‘Syrian News’ channel published a video report on a visit by a delegation that included a number of foreign tourists to the Palmyra area in the eastern countryside of Homs. During the visit, the report's presenter conducted interviews with a number of tourists, but the channel replaced all the tourists’ words with very different audio translations by Syrians speaking colloquial Arabic, claiming falsely that this was is the translation of what the tourists were saying.

It is noteworthy that Assad's media routinely falsifies facts and provides false information to promote his narrative about all aspects of life in Syria and events in the country, turning phrases such as "Syrian media are liars" and " Syrian media even lie about the temperature" into axioms among the Arab peoples.

Report (edited by Radio Free Syria) and screenshot of Patrick Desart from regime TV footage from Orient News

Original report from Orient News in Arabic: