November 22, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10975

Assad Advisor Criticizes Israel For Attacking Hospitals, Civilians in Gaza; Outraged Syrian Oppositionists Retort: You've Clearly Forgotten How Many Civilian Buildings The Assad Regime Bombed In Syria

November 22, 2023
Syria, Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 10975

An article about the Israel-Hamas war by Dr. Bouthaina Sha'aban, political and media advisor to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, drew anger and criticism for its statement that "[t]his is the first time that I have seen a war turn hospitals, wounded people, refugee shelters, and journalists into central targets, without the world lifting a finger…"[1] Her article appeared November 13, 2023 in the Syrian regime-affiliated Al-Watan daily.

Many opposition figures expressed their outrage at Sha'aban's statements on their social media accounts, pointing out her hypocrisy in light of the fact that the Assad regime itself had repeatedly targeted hospitals, schools, marketplaces, and many other civilian locations during the Syrian civil war. Furthermore, as the war rages in Gaza, the Syrian regime, with Russian assistance, is aggressively targeting civilian locations in areas controlled by other elements in northwestern Syria – possibly because international attention is currently focused on Gaza.[2]

The Syrian regime has also been accused of hypocrisy for its condemnations of Israel and of alleged Israeli aggression against Palestinians, since the Syrian regime has murdered thousands of Palestinian Syrians, including women and children.[3]

Senior Assad advisor Bouthaina Shaaban. Source:, September 25, 2022.

This report will present some Syrian oppositionists' responses on X (formerly Twitter) to Sha'aban's article in Al-Watan.

Syrian Opposition Figures: There Is No Syrian Hospital That The Assad Regime Did Not Bomb

Many Syrian opposition figures criticized Dr. Shaaban for her blatant disregard of the many attacks carried out by the Assad regime against Syrian civilian targets. For instance, Syrian opposition-affiliated researcher Khalil Al-Muqdad wrote on his X account: "There is no field hospital, above or below the ground, that [the Syrian regime] has not destroyed, or a mosque or bakery that it has not attacked. Even its own hospitals became slaughterhouses where any wounded opposition members or army deserters who arrived there were tortured and eliminated."[4]

Syrian journalist Bahaa Al-Halabi, who works for the Syrian opposition website, wrote on his X account: "This is what Bouthaina Shaaban, Bashar [Al-Assad's] advisor and Hafez [Al-Assad's] translator, wrote. Of course, their gang bombed dozens of hospitals and shelters in Aleppo, Damascus, Idlib, and more. They killed dozens of journalists. A simple [online] search and their atrocities appear!"[5]

Bahaa Al-Halabi's post on X

Likewise, Syrian political analyst Alia Mansour wrote on her X account: "They are learning from you. How many hospitals have you bombed in Syria, and how many schools and encampments? What nerve!"[6]

Alia Mansour's post on X.

Syrian opposition activist "Noura" also wrote about the Syrian regime's many crimes against its people: "The advisor of Chemical Bashar[7] says that this is the first time she's seen a war turn hospitals, the wounded, refugee shelters, and journalists into central targets. She pretends to have forgotten that her brutal president destroyed an entire country, killed over half a million Syrians, and expelled over 15 million. The crimes of Bashar the terrorist were not limited to just hospitals."[8]

Syrian writer and poet Maher Sharafeddine wrote: "She [Sha'aban] is lying, she knows she lying, and she knows that the people know that she is lying."[9]

Syrian Opposition Activists: It Seems That Sha'aban Has Developed Dementia

Several of the responses mocked Shaaban, suggesting that she must have developed dementia if she does not recall the crimes of the Syrian regime. For instance, Siba Madwar, a Syrian TV host working for Al-Araby TV (Qatar), wrote on her X account: "Simply put, this is called 'Alzheimer's disease' or dementia. You must immediately [look at] the photos by [military photographer] Caesar[10] and follow [the situation in] Idlib. You will see the bombing of hospitals, schools, bakeries, tent camps, houses, barns, marketplaces, mosques, and churches. This will ease your shock...[11]

Siba Madwar's post on X.

The Syrian Crime Investigation Center wrote on its X account: "And what has Assad's criminal gang done to the hospitals, schools, and mosques, and to children, women, and the disabled, you old hag – or have you developed dementia? Your prisons remain filled with the innocent, even children. You [i.e. this regime] are the greatest tragedy to befall Syria."[12]


[1] Al-Watan (Syria), November 13, 2023.

[2] Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed (London), October 25, 2023.

[4], November 13, 2023.

[5], November 13, 2023.

[6], November 13, 2023.

[7] A reference to Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people.

[8], November 13, 2023.

[9], November 13, 2023.

[10] "Caesar" is the nickname of a former Syrian military photographer who leaked several thousands of photos showing the torture and execution of prisoners in Syrian jails.

[11], November 13, 2023.

[12], November 13, 2023.

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