British Channel 4 News reporter Alex Thomson is reporting that Syrian rebels inside the contested city of Qusair, near the Lebanese border, set him up in hopes of getting him shot by Syrian government troops for a propaganda gain.
“I’m quite clear that the rebels deliberately set us up,” Thomson said of the incident, in which the rebels “escorted” he and two other journalists who were trying to leave rebel-held territory for the government held side of town.
The escort directed them to a dead-end in the “free-fire zone” and left them there. Thomson says the hope was that “dead journos are bad for Damascus,” but they managed to escape without being shot and eventually returned to the government side safely.
Qusair has been contested by the two sides for months, with the rebels holding the area near the Lebanese border. The regime forces have been on the outskirts of the town, while much of the population has fled to avoid being caught in the middle of the battles.