8 Photographs That Will Make You Wonder If Bashar Al-Assad is Living in a Fantasy World

Mortars are reducing Damascus to rubble. But as far as Bashar al-Assad's Instagram can tell, Syria is not at war. Assad created his account this week and already has 73 posts, most of which feature his beautiful wife, smiling Syrian children, or grateful citizens. There is no indication that outside the palace wall are motionless bodies, crusted over with blood and swollen from death. 

We cannot dispute Assad's depictions of Syrian life, as some people may be maintaining their sense of normalcy. And there is no doubt that many Syrians support the Assad regime. But those who don't, experience the war through a grimmer light. This week, Juliette Eisner from VICE sent PolicyMic exclusive photographs of the Syrian conflict. VICE's photographs show a much more grungy Syria, one more rebellious, unsatisfied, and bloody.  

Neither collection of photographs below is more true than the other. Assad's may be more fantasy than fact, yet in a eerie way, the absence of conflict in his Instagram feed makes Assad just as hopeful for a new Syria as the children in VICE's photographs.

So here are four pictures showing what the Syrian dictator wishes his country looked like, and four more that tear Assad's fantasy to shreds.

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1. No "V" For Victory

2. Syria Gets a Thumbs-Up

3. Raising a New Flag

4. The Old Hand Held High

5. A Stone From the Minaret of the Noor Al-Shuhada Mosque

6. Assad Making Friends

7. A March Toward Peace

8. Syria, the Sunshine State